I agree absolutelyTo my mind lords should not be lords for life, their numbers should be limited and membership should not be at the whim of a sitting government. Bishops should not be considered to be lords and the last of the hereditary peers with the right to vote should lose that right.
A "people's assembly" is an excellent idea, but the job of the House of Lords is to act as a second chamber, to scrutinise and amend the detail of particular bills.I agree largely with everything you say there.
The deadlock you forsee is I think an inevitable result of our FPTP system which resolves down to a two party system. In a fairer electoral system, a PR based system where parties were more varied and more evenly represented it should not be an issue as it would be rare for a single party to command an overall majority in either house.
But I do like the idea of replacing the lords with a "people's assembly" drawn along similar lines to jury duty with something like an MPs standard salary (maybe even tax free). a £70,000 chunk of cash would make a lot more people willing to take part. You could exclude anyone who has had any kind of political career or been a significant donor to a political party. Such an assembly could be required to mirror the population in certain key areas (ages/educational background/gender/minorities etc.) to make it mirror as closely as possible the actual make up of people in the country. As opposed to the house of commons which is skewed in a very different direction to the population. You could structure it differently avoid political party affiliations within the assembly, structure it to make the commons present not just a bill for a vote but a justification for it and the opposition could present their reasons for opposing. Try to make it focus on what is being legislated and not on party loyalties.
I'm not sure if you're thinking of people's assemblies or citizens' assemblies or something different again, but those are deliberative bodies who try to come up with a consensual set of proposals to deal with particular political concerns.ok, why not?
That's exactly how it is in the USA of course.I want a genuinely independent second chamber, which immediately causes problems if it's to be an elected chamber, since having one would seem to involve creating a system for choosing its members that isn't dominated by the existing political parties.
Otherwise, it seems to me, you end up with a system whereby the main political parties are going to dominate the elections for the second chamber and it'll end up dominated primarily by loyal members of the main political parties, since they're the people with the resources and the organisation to promote their candidates, and they will naturally tend to select candidates who can be trusted, by and large, to remain loyal to their party.
It's not what I want, it's what the UK currently has.That's exactly how it is in the USA of course.
But why do you want a bicameral parliament at all? There are fewer and fewer of them in the world and it's not as if they tend to be more democratic or have better checks and balances than the nations with unicameral parliaments.
OK Fine if a citizens assembly has a single rigid meaning in your world I'll call it something else, instead of a citizens assembly, I'll call it.... a 2nd house made up of ordinary people.I'm not sure if you're thinking of people's assemblies or citizens' assemblies or something different again, but those are deliberative bodies who try to come up with a consensual set of proposals to deal with particular political concerns.
That's the first stage in the process, though.
The proposals then have to be taken up by government and put into legislation, and the House of Lords provide a forum for scrutiny, debate, and amendment of the details of the legislation.
A citizen's or people's assembly has one kind of job to do, and the second chamber of a parliamentary legislature has another, completely different, job.
How will your design prevent that chambers' being dominated by people from backgrounds shared by those of the majority of British residents, and thus primarily comprising British citizens resident in England who are primarily white, and primarily people born in the UK rather than overseas?I want a 2nd chamber that, by design, can never be dominated by wealth, class or ancestry.
I think a term of one year would be appropriate, ideally accompanied by a decent, MP salary scale payment. A free to enter lottery that grants you the chance of membership of the house for 1 year and 100k tax free should get plenty of applicants and that way at least you know all the applicants are willing. Other option is to approach it in the same manner as jury duty, it shouldn't be forced it should be easy to opt out either permanently or because of temporary issues that make service at a given time difficult. I would expect that giving people an opportunity to very directly participate in the governance of the country combined with a generous payment should keep interest high.How will your design prevent that chambers' being dominated by people from backgrounds shared by those of the majority of British residents, and thus primarily comprising British citizens resident in England who are primarily white, and primarily people born in the UK rather than overseas?
Also, how long do people serve as members of this second chamber, and what if they don't want to?
ETA: I'm not necessarily attacking the idea, but I am rather concerned about the practicability of designing an assembly that meets your requirements, which I fear may be impossible.
In the US, a grand jury is made up of ordinary citizens, who serve for a limited term, investigating if there is enough evidence to indict someone for a crime. People can be excused from jury duty for a good cause. For example, when I was taking care of my mom, and couldn't leave her alone, a doctor's note got me excused. Parents with children at home were regularly excused.Also, how long do people serve as members of this second chamber, and what if they don't want to?