Letter: Lords lottery

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your comments (leading article, 2 November) on the leaked draft report of the Royal Commission on the reform of the House of Lords are shallow.

To have an elected second chamber would be a pointless duplication of the first. It could not be achieved without political party machinery and all that involves. There is now an opportunity for a real democratic reform, and it should not be squandered.

In ancient Athens, the cradle of democracy, the council was constituted by lottery. That is the only truly democratic system. In applying it to the composition of the second chamber of Parliament, every stakeholder would have the right, though not the obligation, to participate in a draw, held every four years, for membership of the second House for a term of 12 or 16 years. Members would be remunerated and pensioned.

The main political parties would have some, but limited, representation in the second chamber, which should also be enhanced by the appointment of persons of significant experience to be nominated by a commission.