I am sharing a flat with a Dutch Senator, Joris Paul Backer. Like me, he’s a jogger, so we’ve been getting up at six to jog along the river. Also like me, he’s something of a political anorak and we have a number of common acquaintances so the early morning conversations have been good fun. Through my research work into the antecedents of the European Economic and Social Committee I am becoming interested in Senates, or second chambers. In particular, the composition of appointed or indirectly-elected senates can, it seems to me, be very similar to the composition of advisory economic and social councils. Of course, in the Netherlands there is also a Social and Economic Council. What these bodies frequently have in common is the representation of organised interests rather than (or in addition to) political parties.