Jeremy Clarkson calls for sortition in the House of Lords

And Your Premium Bond Prize is . . . A Seat in the Lords

In his column in the current issue of the Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson argues the case for appointing members of the Lords by sortition. Although the piece is written in Clarkson’s customary jocular style, it’s a serious response to Nick Clegg’s proposal for an elected house. Clarkson argues that this will attract ‘the sort of people who you’ll find in any large organisation, the sort who go to a lot of meetings and when there they eat all the biscuits . . . they go on marches but half the time they have no idea what they’re marching for.’ Clarkson refers to these political types as ‘Colins’:

Suffice to say, I have a better idea. It goes like this. Instead of filling a House of Colins with a bunch of biscuit-eating nonentities, who left to their own devices would struggle to wire a plug, we use the computer that’s used to pick premium bond winners to select eight people at random each week from the electoral list. Of course, it would be a nuisance for them to take a week off work . . . but all that will be asked of them is that they have a quick look over the bills being discussed in the House of Commons . . .

Seriously. Who would you rather have doing the job: [hereditary peers] or your mate Jim from the builder’s yard? Quite. We trust randomly selected juries on the important business of a person’s liberty, so why wouldn’t we trust a similar system to apply the checks and balances in government? . . . Certainly I’d rather have a government’s ideas checked by a small, cheap group of ordinary people than by 450 expensive Colins.

Unfortunately the article itself is pay to view.