I har whispers that Gordon Brown is intending to create another 20 Labour Peers in the not too distant future. Apparently it is the subject of much discussion among existing Labour Peers who feel they are being put upon. I haven't got any names of likely candidates for peerages - how does Lord Goodwin of Scotland sound?
If Brown does indeed create 20 new Peers there will be uproar among Conservative and LibDem ranks who feel that they both urgently need some new blood. The Tories, in particular, suffer from having an "ageing workforce", whose voting records are somewhat weaker than their younger counterparts in other parts of the House. There are only 197 Tory Peers compared to 216 Labour, 205 Crossbenchers, 72 LibDems and 41 others.
All this highlights the fact that the current House of Lords is not sustainable. Its membership is increasingly subject to the behest of the Prime Minister of the day. It was always thus, in many ways, but can anyone really defend this system of appointment and patronage in this day and age? I recognise that it isn't going to change in the short to medium term, and that it functions very well as a revising chamber. But that doesn't stop me from believing it to be fundamentally undemocratic.