Mr Spog's reply
Mr. Spog said...
If a senate consisting of members with life tenure were considered too undemocratic (as seems likely), one possibility would be to qualify its veto power, much as the U.S. President's veto power is already qualified. For example, the lower house might be given the right to override a Senate veto by a 2/3 vote. (Presumably the lower house would then need, e.g., a 3/4 supermajority to override combined vetoes by the Senate and President...)
This approach to limiting the formal powers of the upper house was proposed by the 19th-century British political thinker and historian W.E.H. Lecky, who saw that the legitimacy of the Lords was eroding, and hoped to arrest this decay by drawing clearer boundaries around the upper house's powers. Without some formal rule of this type, any move by the Lords to contradict the will of the Commons would be viewed as a threat to democratic supremacy. With such a rule, everyone would be assured that the Commons remained ultimately in charge (if it was sufficiently united on an issue), even if the Lords started to throw around its veto power quite often.