If a second chamber is to scrutinise proposed legislation from another point of view than ideology or party advantage, this requires a membership based not on party affiliation but on worldly experience in the occupations that make the nation a going concern, interests which would otherwise have to resort to lobbying, covert bribery or the purchase of rotten boroughs to get their point of view across, and which in practice are more important to most of us politically than where we live.
When Parliament was first set up, these were almost exclusively landed interests - the noblemen and princes of the Church who made up the House of Lords; but now they include both sides of industry, the professions, the universities, major charities, the City, what remains of the truly landed gentry, etc, with an electorate based on occupation rather than domicile.
It could be chosen from amongst applications by representative bodies such the CBI, TUC and medical colleges, by an independent body such as the Privy Council with the right to appeal to the "Lords" itself. The Established Church should retain its representation, as well as ex prime ministers and those who have held high offices of state, with retired civil servants, High Court judges, very senior officers in the services and so on. That is, those with experience of public service at the highest level.
Such an Upper House would complement the Lower, not rival it.
Professor JOHN A DAVIS
Great Shelford, CambridgeshireReuse content