"Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?"
Some hold that Britain has already declined, although I would aver that we still have a little way to go before Standard & Poors finally pulls the plug - providing our political elite don't do the job for them before then.
As far back as 2008 the Daily Telegraph was reporting that an elected senate could replace the House of Lords - and this claim was repeated two and a half years later by the Mail. The latest, one could say, frank suggestion comes from the left field with this article in today's Sunday Telegraph, this time linking reform to the Big Society. Frank Field, who I seem to recall being appointed by David Cameron as his 'poverty czar', is one of the more acceptable faces of the Labour Party - although what with Camerons drift leftwards and Fields known aversion to full-blown socialism, it is perhaps surprising they are still in different parties.
Field's article is actually a 'back to the drawing board' plan involving the obvious political ploy utilised by our politicians when they don't really know what to do - the creation of a commission to look at the entire matter. Of the groups Field believes might be represented, the only one of equal unimportance that he appears to have omitted is those representing candlestick makers. Just how much public money this new commission will use is of course not mentioned, nor is any estimate provided. As an aside, for Field to maintain his plan would ensure that power remained with the electorate is laughable, were it not so sad. It is an equally sad fact that until parliamentary democracy is replaced by representative democracy, encapsulating small government and a liberal dose of referenda, power will never, ever, be in the hands of the electorate.
It seems to me that the matter of the House of Lords could well be solved quite cheaply - and at the same time bring some sense of respectability back to politics - by sacking all the political appointees and returning hereditary peers to the role they carried out quite satisfactorily with a gravitas the present incumbents sorely lack.