Britain is unique among democracies. Britain is one of the oldest democracies but half of Parliament, indeed most of the Parliament, isn’t elected at all. The House of Lords, the UK’s upper house, isn’t elected. Those with hereditary peerages can apply to be in the House of Lords and others can be appointed for a lifetime peerage. For the privilege, you get to sit in a separate building from the Commons and you get a neat title like Viscount, Baron, or Earl. The Lords do have to pass the legislation that comes from the Commons before it reaches the Queen for the Royal Assent. The Lords work on all sorts of interesting things and watching their proceedings is just as interesting (if more behaved) than the House of Commons.

The US government had a similar if more interesting system that mirrored the Lords. Before the 17th amendment to the US Constitution, the Senate was elected by the state legislators, instead of the people of that state. State legislature elections began to be more about national policy than local policy and the original rule was changed. However, it doesn’t look like the House of Lords will be at the ballot box anytime soon.

Meet the House of Lords: