I am democrat and I instinctively support elections for the House of Lords, on the basic principle that those who legislate for us ought to be directly accountable to us, the voters. However, the speech of Baroness Betty Boothroyd has awoken a deep fear in me about these reforms.
Currently the big criticism is that appointments to the House of Lords is down to patronage of the Prime Minister and Party Leaders. That has to be wrong. But under the new system, Baroness Boothroyd warns agains the only winners being 300 of the party favourites as dictated by the political parties. She is right; switching patronage from Leaders to Parties is no improvement at all.
There are things I like about the Lords - its independence of mind, ability to be calmer and more rational than the Commons and the way its members do not fear the whips (something I think Mark Pritchard MP would also appreciate). If the new House of Lords (or Senate) dismantles those things then it may be a reform too far as far as I am concerned.
It isn't that I fear elections - I want more elections - but a revising chamber run by the party machiens and whips won't be much of a revising chamber at all.
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