Zamfir wrote:Can you be more specific about the populism that you worry about, and that peers of one kind of another would prevent?
For my part, let's take the recent 'immigrant' issues to mind as a quick-and-dirty demonstration of the concept. Trying to keeping away from my own opinions on the subject (and not calling for that old chestnut to be discussed - it's only here as an illustration!)
One week, there were 'swarms' of them, and conceivably the public voice might have persuaded a legislature fully populated by voted-in officials to make knee-jerk laws to 'deal with this', by doing something quick to heavily discourage such people.
The next week, there was that young child's body seen washed up on the shores of Greece, and it is quite possible that the public voice would have sent the same legislature off in a knee-jerk reaction to 'deal with that', by doing something equally quick to heavily encourage such people.
(Several countries have flip-flopped, causing practical and expectational problems along the ways. I'm not sure the UK has done it 'right', yet, but that's something well beyond my pay-grade.)
Obviously, IRL, laws take longer to happen than a single week and, under most circumstances, currently also needs to pass through the second house to add further delay - but that's just a handy demonstration scenario for a hypothetical streamlined 'all elected' system. We could just as easily talk about the death penalty (calls to reinstate, after a particularly horrendous murder; calls to ban again, as a grievous miscarriage of justice comes to light), or anything else; and on whatever time-scale you wish up to and above the five-year parliamentary term. As bad as they sometimes are at it, elected MPs always seem to have at least half an eye on their popularity (or, in a pinch, at how to be least unpopular), such that they could easily be reinventing (and banning) wheels with seemingly no thoughts to the future or precedence so long as they're representing the current flavour-of-the-month.
Peers who are not (traditionally!) in danger of deselection or unelection can afford to not be so purely reactive to such transient popular trends in opinion. A dampener upon the wilder possible oscillations and twitches that come from the vote-led representatives. (Alternately, have positions with much longer tenures and no possibility of repetition which, like layers in a laminate or strands in a rope, is suitably disjointed over the timelines of the other long-tenures so that there's always a good proportion of experienced-but-not-reckless individuals creating a strong join unweakened by the the gaps caused by the periodic replacements.)
There needs to be appropriate measures to prevent the more idle "bench-sitters". I'd accept we'd need to have "proof of work", for all people involved, to prevent the idle and unworthy from gumming up the works, but it should not rely on which type of work that is (blocking or facilitating changes), and should not be discouraging to anyone who might at any time have to consider using their own 'sane' opinion to support/oppose any sort of change in the face of some dog-whistle political issue that has been somehow conjured up out of nowhere and yet really needs to be given careful consideration after more analysis. This is also why I would suggest an 'apprenticeship' stage be added to a tenure, non-voting participation as an active assistant to an individual who is perhaps half the way through their vote-using term.
But the optimally tuned system (between reaction and consideration) is not something that I'd proclaim knowledge of how to achieve. I'm sitting here in my armchair, never aspired to power or studied PPE to the extent that all the current crop of politicians seem to have done. I just don't think that the way some of the reforms are going (especially the token (indeed, 'popularist'!) removal of some of the remaining (and arguably proven to be useful) Peers, whilst seemingly adding far more worse-than-useless party-allied Peers to an ever expanding Second House) and can't stand the hypocrisy of such a hidden agenda. You know my ideas of how to reform the system, by now. Not that I expect they'll occur this side of my ascension to the position of Supreme Tyrant. At which point I might no longer feel so kindly over any non-Tyrant system of legislature, although I might still perhaps look for a basic system I can set up to work in the background whilst I go on eternal vacation...