I was chatting to John Bolch, Family Lore, earlier in the day as he embarks on his new career as a podcaster in matters of Family Law – and he told me that one of the reasons why he voted Labour all those years ago, when Tony Blair descended from heaven to lead us, was because Labour promised to reform The Lords. They didn’t, so he didn’t vote for them again. They still haven’t and their lordships (or a growing number of them) are running amok and rioting at taxpayer expense.
Lord Jailbird Archer and Lord Jailhouse Rock Conrad Black are both experienced in matters of prison. We have ex-copper and FBI graduate Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate attracting the attention of the News of The World today (See Postcard 1) and we have a whole raft of non-elected Peers rushing around consulting for vast amounts of money and suggesting – allegedly and apparently – *adjustments* to legislation. This is well reported in The Sunday Times.
The rot has got to stop. It is no use having ex-Archbishops wringing their hands. We need positive and direct action and we need it now. Lord Oakeshott, Liberal Democrat peer, summed it up with a wonderful quote, reported in the press this morning:
” Tax-dodgers, bung-takers, fraudsters and perjurers must be cleared out of parliament now.”
The Sunday Times reported this morning: “PEERS who avoid tax or have criminal convictions – such as Lord Archer and Lord Black – are to be expelled from the House of Lords in the wake of the lords for hire scandal. The reforms are being drawn up by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, in an attempt to restore the Lords’ battered reputation after last weekend’s revelations in The Sunday Times.”
Frankly, I would go further and get rid of The House of Lords altogether. This isn’t going to happen and, in any event, I am just a blogger and have no desire to go into politics, even if I was competent enough to do so. We need a *Senate*, an elected upper house of experienced people prepared to work in the interests of our country- as, it has to be said, many peers do currently without dipping snouts into the trough.
On a slightly different note, because I am a laid back republican… perhaps we should go the whole hog and get rid of titles – these absurd “Geegaws and baubles” (A Glaswegian phrase of which I am fond)? How can any sensible man or woman in the 21st Century want to be called Lord this or Lady that, Sir ‘X” or Dame ‘Y”? It is absurd and merely serves to pander to pretension and social division. It is, I suppose, harmless enough when holders of these titles do not use them for personal gain – and I am not advocating that we should all go around calling ourselves “Citizen”. I shall, however, choose to call myself Citizen for today… and on that note I am ‘orf’ to have a spot of Rioja, despite the early hour. The early bird catches the worm… and, it would appear, there may be a fair few worms sitting in our Upper House to catch.
Adieu… until we meet again… on the field of the cloth of Gold…
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