Randomly Selected Upper Chamber

An elected upper chamber, even if it was elected through proportional representation, would still be full of the same politicos that we're used to seeing. Instead what I propose is a second house of governments, the participants of which are chosen at random from any citizens of the UK above 25 years of age (to make sure they have some experience of life as an adult, at least). It would be a smaller chamber (200 people), half of which are selected every two years (for a four year term). People would have an option to refuse, in which case another person would be chosen. Once initially accepted, you would undergo testing to make sure you meet minimum literacy and critical reasoning levels, and then (if you are successful) undergo a period of training to prepare you for your new role. The expenses currently used to fund the attendance of Lords at the House (especially once the numbers have been cut down) would be used to provide the money both for the testing/training and very generous wages during your time as a member of government (including expenses for moving yourself and family, etc). You would also be provided with help and assistance/retraining to return to your old employment or find a new job commensurate with your new skills. This system would have the following benefits:

1) A decrease in political apathy - knowing that you might be called upon to actually serve your country would encourage many more people to be much more aware (and critical of) the actions of government. This would make people more likely to be involved in other political actions (elections, local government, etc).

2) A truly representative government - not drawn from randomly selected (or more often, jury-rigged) boundaries, but rather from the people themselves.

3) We wouldn't be watching a fair chunk of money and power being given to a collection of hereditary peers/bishops/favourites of the current political parties. Instead, it would go to everyday people (and for some of them the additional money received while engaged in these duties would make a real difference).

One problem people raise with this idea is that the people wouldn't be prepared for their new duties. That is why they would have specific training... and think about it for a moment - how many MPs actually have specific training for their jobs? How many of them are actually tested to ensure they can do it properly? Their only test is convincing us to vote for them (and very often, we're not even voting for the candidate, but rather the colour of their tie). Yeah, this system might have its own flaws, but it would also be a true step forwards in terms of direct democracy.

edited on Feb 17, 2015 by Adam Daniell
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