The original House of Lords was composed of persons there by hereditary right. This had the disadvantage that the peers were seen by the public as having a privilege to which, in a democratic society, they had no proper right.
The one good aspect (apart from the fact that most peers were of longstanding British origins) of the original system was that the selection (i.e. by birth) was random and could include the most unusual and eccentric views.
The introduction of life peers in the 1950's was a step forward but led to peerages not only for those with specialized or erudite general knowledge, but also for political party placemen and timeservers.
The attempted reform by Tony Blair's government after 1997 has been unsuccessful and has been a method of continuing the political party timeserver peerages while eliminating most others. It has also been a method by which Conservative and Labour parties have introduced persons from the ethnic minorities into the legislature, persons who have not been and probably would not have been elected to the Commons.
The result today is that there are ministers and Secretaries of State who have never been elected and never would be, such as "Baroness" Warsi, a Cabinet member "without portfolio", i.e. window dressing.
The same is true of people appointed for other public relations purposes, such as the latest peer, "Baroness" Newlove, who has been appointed because it looks good to appoint an "ordinary citizen" who has suffered a violent crime and wishes apparently to stop people drinking and fighting. Very commendable, but is that what we wish for in a member of the upper house?
The only solution is to abolish the now-damaged Lords. There can be committees to examine legislation and send it back to the Commons after revision. The Lords is now not fit for any purpose.