There seems to be a consensus of opinion across the spectrum that the Lords isn't working. For every dedicated peer giving time and effort to scrutinising and revising the minutae of legislation there are ten getting pissed on subsidised public booze in the UK's most expensive private club. Spivs, crooks, dags, dead-beats and losers; life peers, of course. Drawing a per diem allowance every time they turn up to lunch. So what are the options?
If we need a second chamber - and we do - it must be rather smaller, of no more than 200. Making it an elected chamber creates huge problems of democratic rivalry with the Commons - which is the more legitimate? So it really needs to be an unelected chamber.
However, leaving membership appointments up to serving politicians means they will stuff it full of the drongos, dags and failures with whom it's currently stuffed; we need a way of getting 200 random, non-partisan peers dedicated to good legislating and not afraid of standing up to the government when necessary; men and women of honour, virtue and valour.
Life peers are a poor-doing lot. You'd need to mince a good score of 'em to get an ounce of virtue. So how about restricting membership of the Lords to, erm, hereditary peers? They owe the government nothing, usually have a real diversity of life experience before they change their name (forget the Woodhouse stereotypes - think Keith Rous, a successful Australian sheep farmer who became the earl of Stradbroke, telling villagers at his local pub to 'call me Keith' ) and are generally both independent and bloody minded.
Add to this a revival of the practice of elevating truly exceptional individuals sans reproche to hereditary viscountcies or earldoms (perhaps not even one each year, and Willie Whitelaw wouldn't really make the grade) and our most outstanding contributors to national life would be recognised and augment and refresh the peer-pool.