On the tenth day of Christmas...


lordMy true love sent to me: ten lords a-leaping. This probably refers to the Ten Commandments, but lords today aren't exactly leaping to do anything, particularly to reform the House of Lords. At present it's just an enormous quango, appointed by the party leaders. It should be elected – but definitely not along the same lines as the House of Commons (look what that brings us). We want a system that will elect people of stature, and not career politicians. Perhaps party labels should be banned. Perhaps it should be a one-term-only arrangement of, say, seven years. Perhaps peers should be elected by age groups rather than constituencies. Perhaps they should be chosen at random, like jurors, or in a national referendum.

What we certainly don't want is party lists. Still, I'm beginning to think that there might still be some room for appointed peers too – but only people of indisputable national status, with a ban on former MPs being appointed (though they could be elected). Let's have a Lords that actually represents the people, rather than the political parties.

Today is also a bank holiday; since Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year all fall at a weekend this year, extra holidays have been added during the week. In Scotland, tomorrow will be a bank holiday too, since it takes the Scots a little extra time to recover. Call me a killjoy, but I think bank holidays should be banned. Why should politicians tell us when to take our breaks – which means that we are all stuck in the same getaway traffic jams? Aren't we mature enough to negotiate our own holidays with our employers?