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azadi

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Reply with quote  #1 
I dislike the existence of life peers in Great Britain, because it deflates nobility. Ennobling a retired politician in order to make him or her a member of the House of Lords makes a mockery of nobility. Ennoblement of commoners is a bad idea, unless somebody has made outstanding services to the nation.
Having a directly elected upper house is a bad idea, because it will be too similar to the lower house, and re-establishing the old House of Lords is a bad idea, because hereditary peers forming the majority of the membership of the upper house is a bad idea in an egalitarian era. But a few hereditary peers ought to be allowed to remain in the House of Lords for the sake of preserving the traditions of the old House of Lords.
Great Britain isn't a federation, because no devolved governments exist in England, but the British union has acquired quasi-federal traits due to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolution. In many federations, the upper house is elected by the state legislatures. The Bundesrat of Germany, the Federation Council of Russia and the Senate of Belgium are elected by the state legislatures.
Here is my proposal for the composition of the new House of Lords of Great Britain:
- The Scottish Parliament, the Welsh National Assembly and the Stormont must elect 20 members of the House of Lords each. Those members of the House of Lords will not acquire a peerage.
- The London Assembly must elect 5 members of the House of Lords each. Those members of the House of Lords will not acquire a peerage.
- Each region of England must elect 5 members of the House of Lords. Those members of the House of Lords will not acquire a peerage. They must be elected by an electoral college composed of the members of the local government councils of the region. 
- The number of hereditary peers in the House of Lords must be reduced in order to ensure, that democratically elected members form the majority of the membership of the House of Lords. The 15 hereditary peers, who are elected by the entire House of Lords will remain in the House of Lords, while the rest of the hereditary peers will be removed from the House of Lords, except the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain.
- The number of bishops in the House of Lords will be reduced from 26 to 12. Reducing the number of bishops in the House of Lords has previously been proposed.
The new membership of the House of Lords: 
20 representatives of the Scottish Parliament.
20 representatives of the Welsh National Assembly.
20 representatives of the Stormont.
5 representatives of the London Assembly
40 representatives of the regions of England.
15 hereditary peers.
12 bishops.
The Earl Marshal.
The Lord Great Chamberlain.

Peter

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Reply with quote  #2 
I would hail the end of life peerages with glee. Unfortunately, there are too many politicians counting on a peerage to supplement their pensions for this ever to happen. An aspect of your proposals I would not support is that it would encourage the regionalisation (= breakup in all but name) of England. Although I don't understand your apparent compulsion to rearrange the affairs and territories of every country in the world, with a special focus on Britain, what you suggest would with the regionalisation aspect removed probably work better than the present Upper House. Then again, it would struggle to work less well. But no transformation such as this is at all likely.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #3 
Perhaps county representatives would be a better idea than regional ones?
Peter

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Reply with quote  #4 
Maybe. I haven't given it any serious consideration, and since nothing like it will ever happen there seems no reason to spend time thinking about it. With the general mess we're in, and the Supreme Court poised to make it worse with their highly politicised decided-in-advance-of-the-case ruling that the perfectly legal prorogation was in fact illegal, there are plenty of more urgent things to worry about.
azadi

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Reply with quote  #5 
Here is a revised proposal for a reformed House of Lords:

- The Scottish Parliament must elect 24 members of the House of Lords
- The Welsh National Assembly and the Stormont must elect 12 members of the House of Lords each.
- Each ceremonial county of England must elect 1 member of the House of Lords. They must be elected by an electoral college composed of the members of the local government councils of the ceremonial county.
- 15 hereditary peers will be elected to the House of Lords by all hereditary peers of Great Britain. In addition, the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain will remain members of the House of Lords.
- 12 bishops of the Church of England will be members of the House of Lords.

The new membership of the House of Lords:
24 representatives of the Scottish Parliament.
12 representatives of the Welsh National Assembly.
12 representatives of the Stormont.
48 representatives of the ceremonial counties of England.
15 hereditary peers.
12 bishops.
The Earl Marshal.
The Lord Great Chamberlain.
azadi

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Reply with quote  #6 
I prefer democratically elected unicameral parliaments, but the present House of Lords is the least bad option, if Great Britain has to have an upper house, because an elected upper house will be able to challenge the supremacy of the House of Commons. An elected upper house in Great Britain might lead to US-style gridlock. Any reform of the House of Lords will likely lead to a directly elected upper house, which will be a disaster for Great Britain.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #7 
A unicameral parliament is a bad idea. Two chambers can provide appropriate balance, scrutiny, and moderation. Gridlock is another name for such functions. In general, the fewer laws passed, the better.
Queenslander

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Reply with quote  #8 
Living in a state that has one, a unicameral parliament is a real menu for endemic and systematic corruption and a never ending cycle of the same.
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azadi

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queenslander
Living in a state that has one, a unicameral parliament is a real menu for endemic and systematic corruption and a never ending cycle of the same.

An upper house is unnecessary, unless your country is a federation. A unicameral parliament is more democratic than a bicameral parliament, unless the upper house is directly elected. Having a directly elected upper house is a bad idea, because it can challenge the supremacy of the lower house. In a federation, having an upper house elected by the state legislatures, as in Germany and in Russia, makes sense. Kurdistan has a unicameral parliament, and 6 of the 10 current hereditary monarchies of Europe have unicameral parliaments (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Monaco). In those countries, unicameral parliaments work well. I like the unicameral parliament of Kurdistan.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #10 
An upper house is not strictly necessary, but it's a good way of acting as a restraint and balance on the lower house. Direct election doesn't make a lot of sense, unless it is somehow done quite differently to the lower house - for example, longer terms.
azadi

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wessexman
An upper house is not strictly necessary, but it's a good way of acting as a restraint and balance on the lower house. Direct election doesn't make a lot of sense, unless it is somehow done quite differently to the lower house - for example, longer terms.

As a democratic monarchist, I support power being divided between the monarch and the people. The legislative assembly, which represents the people, must be fully democratic. Unicameralism is more democratic than bicameralism. I support the monarch being able to veto legislation, but it will likely only happen in exceptional circumstances. The courts must be able to strike down laws, which violates constitutional civil rights.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #12 
Have you ever thought about not just regurgiting your own preferences? Your personal tastes, absent argument, don't really sway me.

Unicameral means that the fleeting majority can do what it wants, at basically a whim. This seems unwise, especially from a conservative and traditionalist perspective. A fleeting majority need not be wise nor care for the long term nor consider anything but the interests and views of 50%+1 of the citizens on the issue. It would be far better to have means of restraint and balance to hold in check a temporary majority.

I think representation is a good thing, but I wouldn't say I was a democrat in the sense I think the will of the people the sole or overriding standard for good government. But if I were, I would still find majoritarianism somewhat strange as an expression of democracy. I can see some practical benefit in it sometimes, but the 49% are still a part of the people, so I don't see why democracy means they should be just swept aside at a whim. I think John C. Calhoun's (yes, I'm aware of his support for black slavery, but this concept can be separated from that context) idea of concurrent majorities makes a lot of sense (and this is an idea with good conservative genealogy - see, for example, Disraeli's views on representation).
azadi

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wessexman
Have you ever thought about not just regurgiting your own preferences? Your personal tastes, absent argument, don't really sway me.

Unicameral means that the fleeting majority can do what it wants, at basically a whim. This seems unwise, especially from a conservative and traditionalist perspective. A fleeting majority is need not be wise nor care for the long nor consider anything but the interests and views of 50%+1 of the citizens on the issue. It would be far better to have means of restraint and balance to hold in check a temporary majority.

I think representation, I wouldn't say I was a democrat in the sense I think the will of the people the sole or overriding standard for good government. But if I were, I would still find majoritarianism somewhat as an expression of democracy. I can see some practical benefit in it sometimes, but the 49% are still a part of the people, so I don't see why democracy means they should be just swept aside at a whim. I think John C. Calhoun's (yes, I'm aware of his support for black slavery, but this concept can be separated from that context) idea of concurrent majorities makes a lot of sense (and this is an idea with good conservative genealogy - see, for example, Disraeli's views on representation.

It's true, that unicameralism allows a narrow majority to do what it wants. That's why I support the courts being able to strike down legislation, which violates civil rights, such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech. In addition, the monarch ought to be able to veto legislation, when a bill approved by the legislative assembly is opposed by the vast majority of the people.
Queenslander

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by azadi

An upper house is unnecessary, unless your country is a federation. A unicameral parliament is more democratic than a bicameral parliament, unless the upper house is directly elected. Having a directly elected upper house is a bad idea, because it can challenge the supremacy of the lower house. In a federation, having an upper house elected by the state legislatures, as in Germany and in Russia, makes sense. Kurdistan has a unicameral parliament, and 6 of the 10 current hereditary monarchies of Europe have unicameral parliaments (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Monaco). In those countries, unicameral parliaments work well. I like the unicameral parliament of Kurdistan.


I have LIVED in one for all of my 40 plus years and seen witness of the excesses of the system in use and abuse (mostly the latter) my whole life. I yearn for the checks and balances the use of a proper house of review can bring!

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azadi

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queenslander


I have LIVED in one for all of my 40 plus years and seen witness of the excesses of the system in use and abuse (mostly the latter) my whole life. I yearn for the checks and balances the use of a proper house of review can bring!

I live in a country, which has a unicameral parliament too, and I like the unicameral parliament of Kurdistan. You appear to be an Australian. Australia actually has a bicameral parliament with an elected Senate. The Kurdish parliament works far better than the US Congress and the British Parliament, because the Kurdish political parties are far more willing to make compromises and coalitions than American and British parties are. Our two largest parties, the conservative Kurdistan Democratic Party and the social democratic Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, agreed on holding the independence referendum of 2017, while the Tories and Labour have been unable to agree on Brexit. The Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan usually forms a grand coalition, similar to the German grand coalition.
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