A mail plopped into the inbox about three of weeks ago. It was an invitation to a reception at the House of Lords. Preening myself I was about to compose an elegant reply of acceptance grateful at last that I had been recognised when native caution made me scroll down to the fine print.
There was a charge, no less than £55 a head. As I need company in my travels that meant two. Adding on rail fares, car parking and incidentals the figures were rising over £150 for the occasion.
There was also mention of those who the invitation had been directed to and this was not encouraging. Essentially, it would be a pack of “has beens” meeting up with a few ennobled “yesterdays persons” for what appeared to be a last and spurious gasp of networking.
The chances on that if lucky there would be two or three more or less five minutes gabbing about current obsessions in which to deliver my message that forcing the nation back to a 1940’s diet of cabbage, potatoes and denial of personal transport would end the obesity crisis might have a hearing by persons of influence.
The rest of the session probably would mean trying to join a huddle of other “has beens” in which some sentient life might be found to exchange anecdotes that had become honed for delivery over many years.
The refreshments on offer were all too likely to be second rate nibbles, third rate wine, or if driving inorganic orange juice. We would then stagger out into the night hoping only that by dropping the line “We were at the House of Lords talking to Lord Bunfight, you know he was…..” we might impress either neighbours or tradesmen.
Her Majesty was at the House of Lords last week promising to reform them again. When this appears in the draft of her speech she must wonder if the Cabinet computer “paste” function in the word processor has become stuck because here it is again.
As many have observed at the moment there are better things to be spending our government’s and Parliament’s time on. There is a great deal to do. Especially, as in the proposals for reform it is far from clear what the House of Lords is supposed to be doing or why.
It is usual in a nation’s constitution pay some attention to this kind of thing but that is not the way we do things in the
any more. But in many ways it is all a
little sad when we look at history and the grandeur and state of the past. UK
The House of Lords began when the military equestrian elite were nobility, almost all of them descended from, related to or closely connected to the King. Down the years it began to accommodate the wealthy land owners and a few others adding the bishops and top lawyers.
Through the 18th and 19th Centuries, inflation set in as political parties contended for control of this body that could veto most legislation proposed by the Commons, until more radical changes occurred during the 29th Century.
Now there is this numerically bloated body of place persons, hanger’s on, government appointees of expediency and redundant ministers swanning around looking for things to do.
One of them is being wheeled out to talk to hapless members of the public about this or that who are obliged to pay for the privilege and who can be “conned” into coming. At least they come a lot cheaper than the current cost of contact facilities for members of the government and opposition front bench.
However, the market may be drying up, because a couple a days ago a mail arrived to tell me tickets are still available, perhaps if I hang on there may be a two for one offer.
If this is the British Constitution today then it is all very sad.