There are moments when your interests are contradictory. "I'm hungry," one might muse, "but I'm on a diet.", for example. In my case, it is, "I believe in reform of the House of Lords, but my wife is a baroness.".
That in itself is bad enough. However, I am a member of the Management Board of 'Unlock Democracy', an organisation which leads the campaign for Lords reform. And I have a secret - I'm not entirely convinced by the draft Bill. Set aside my personal interest for a moment though, as I take you through three of my concerns.
One fifteen year term
In reality, combined with a disqualification period in which a former member of a revised House of Lords cannot run for a seat in the House of Commons, one fifteen year term rules out the elderly (would you vote to select someone unlikely to see out their term?), and anyone in their thirties (would you effectively put your career on hold to do it?). For the young, there is still time to go on and do something else, and for those in their late-forties onwards, a fifteen year term would see you pretty much through to your pension.
The Lords Spiritual
Why keep them? Their voting record is generally poor (the Bishop of Leicester, for example, who has been a Lord Spiritual since December 2003, has voted in just 0.67% of all divisions). They are less and less representative of the country's faith communities (what, no Roman Catholic?), and their continued membership distorts the stated aim of improving the balance between men and women in Parliament.
Timing of Elections
The intention of holding elections to the House of Lords at the same time as for the House of Commons means that the elections for the former, intended to be more reflective and analytical, will be overshadowed by the one with the power. Why not hold them at different times, perhaps elected new Lords two years after a General Election?
But why not read the draft Bill yourself, and see what you think?...