Lords reform

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Bill Jamieson (Perspective, 30 July) provided some interesting comments on the question of reform of the House of Lords.

Instead of proposing the abolition of “The Lords” altogether, as many would prefer, he suggested that David Cameron “could lower the retirement age to 70, encourage early retirement, tighten rules for member expulsion, and bring numbers down to a more manageable level – 600 might be a useful starting target”.

This suggestion certainly has merit but may do little to redress the democratically unrepresentative membership.

If there was truly any democratic principle guiding the Prime Minister’s apparent plans to appoint around 200 new members, the “party numbers” would roughly be brought into line with the percentages of votes cast in the last general election, with if necessary the SNP and those opposed to an unelected second chamber represented by “independent professionals” not aligned with any political party.

Admittedly such an “interim arrangement”, achieved through reforms accommodating ideas such as those suggested by Bill Jamieson, would still fall well short of the level of democracy most concerned with progressing governmental legitimacy would consider appropriate, but at least in the meantime the 
UK would have the semblance of a “representative revising chamber”.

However, given David Cameron’s apparent disdain since the general election for advancing genuine democracy those more sincere in supporting this 
cause can perhaps be comforted by the fact that further 
contempt for the electorate will bring about the “inevitable” second referendum on Scotland’s independence sooner rather than later.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry

East Lothian