House of Lords

The conversation alighted on the House of Lords. We were a mixed bag with allegiances across the political spectrum but with a Conservative bias. There was unanimity on the Lib Dem proposal for an elected upper house – it was dismissed out of hand as opening up a constitutional battleground with the Commons and making it another place restricted solely to career politicians. Appointment of the great and the good was seen as the Lord’s key strength allowing into the process of government recondite skills on wide range of subjects. The hereditary principle didn’t get a look in despite everyone there knowing some hard working and able hereditary peers.

What became interesting was the almost unanimous resentment of nobility and what that implied. Why should a second rate politician be called Lord Flatulence and his wife Lady Flatulence; and their children be called ‘the Hon’? For life? It appeared to be all in the name. What if they were called Senator? The word has a noble ring but somehow doesn’t raise hackles. It has dignity and sense of something earned rather than entitled and a lineage that goes back to ancient times with no connotations of feudalism. Try it for size. Replace Lord and Lady Flatulence with Senator and Mrs Flatulence. It works doesn’t it? You think about the whole issue differently.

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