LETTER : Your jackpot prize - a peerage

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your criticism of Lord Cranborne ("Why Labour should send the lords a'leaping", 10 December) rests upon a confusion. Every lottery produces results which, according to some other principle, seem biased. What the hereditary system does for the legislature is to bring in people who are not retired politicians, not those who have reached the top of some other ladder, not invariably in the second half of their lives.

If it is an objection that hereditary peers tend to be landowning males with upper-class accents, the remedy is not to abolish them but to introduce peers with some other sorts of ordinariness. The ancient Athenians used to choose members of the Boule by lot from suitably selected constituencies: in modern Britain the National Lottery is suitably biased away from the upper classes. Why not add to the jackpot a seat in the House of Lords?

J R LUCAS

East Lambrook, Somerset

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