Some people sit in the House of Lords because of who their parents were, some because of their religion (though only via one church) and some because they have been appointed by politicians.
Yet somehow they still have a degree of respect for the office and personal privacy that most politicians would envy. It’s a rum one.
And it has to be admitted, there have been huge improvements to the way the House of Lords works. It wasn’t that long ago that the Conservatives just had to whistle and turf out hundreds of Tory backwoodsman to pause from their huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ for a couple of days in the second chamber voting down Labour legislation: the last gasp of the aristocracy against the will of the people.
When the Labour government finally found time for Lords Reform, they abolished the idea of birthright, kicked out 90% of the hereditaries (there was an allocation of seats voted on by all members, which is a kind of democracy though a pretty weird kind) and set up an appointments commission so all newly created Lords had to be vetted by an independent panel.
It was a start. Whatever the affection for old institutions, it does seem about time to move on and get the old buggers elected though.
Yet, what have we here? Lords Reform coalition style. A fifth of Lords still to be appointed plus 12 bishops sitting ex-officio (presumably all male given that the CofE is still tearing itself apart over whether people without willies can be bishops and only from the Church of England despite the many other religions in the country. Where is the Scientologist or the Jedi?).
It is proposed that elections will be by a baffling form of proportional representation understood only by a few pointy heads and for a once only fifteen year term, thereby blowing any accountability and encouraging politicians who say anything to get elected and then do the exact opposite afterwards, safe in the knowledge they can’t get kicked out.
Now, how did that idea enter my head?