Friday Thought: Next Gen Democracy Part 1, replacing the House of Lords
I’ve been thinking a lot about the way our democracy functions recently, how out of date it is and how undemocratic. Four of the five elements that make up our government are not directly elected by the public. The House of Commons is but the House of Lords, the Head of State, the Executive and the Judiciary are not.
I’d never argue for the Judiciary to be elected or otherwise politically interfered with; we just have to look at the United States to see the carnage that unleashes. I’m a Republican, but I’m not in a hurry to get rid of the monarchy. What I want to focus on first is the House of Lords.
There have been numerous scandals when it comes to appointments to the second house in Parliament over the years, recently they re-emerged with rumours Boris Johnson would mass-appoint party loyalists to force legislation through Parliament. In just three years, Johnson made appointments to the House of Lords equivalent to 10% of its current size.
The Lords has one core benefit, if you ignore the cronyism of appointing loyalists and political donors. It consists of members who have achieved success in specific fields. The core problems, the system is open to abuse and there is no public accountability.
Personally, I think that the Lords should be replaced with a second elected chamber — but not in the sense most people would think. I appreciate the idea of there being a second house full of people with a wide range of expertise from across society.
I think I may have found a solution that both makes the second chamber democratic but also consists of some of the best brains in their field. Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m just a 21-year-old rambling on the internet and have no idea how viable this solution is, but here I go.
We should replace the House of Lords with a House of Representatives. This House would consist of representatives from across sectors and industries in society. Rather than being elected by the general public directly, they would be elected by their peers in the professional and trade associations of their industry.
This could provide, if viable, so many benefits. It would lessen the chasm between Parliament and the rest of society by imbedding the democratic process into every sector in society. It would provide valuable professional and trade experience from people that know what things are like on the ground. It would be democratic and accountable.
Our democratic systems are archaic. We need to adapt to the modern world, and we need to always be looking for better than we have now. Whether this or something else is the solution, the House of Lords needs to go if we want to say with a straight face that we are a democracy.
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