Sit and Vote in the House of Lords because a PM likes you?

Whatever views we hold we should not have the right to express them as a member of the upper House of our Parliament just because a Prime Minister likes us (or one once did). And not just express them but vote as well. We were once governed by the divine right of Kings and by men in Ermine who got into the House of Lords when their noble Dads died. We still have an unelected Head of State but at least she is a constitutional Monarch and her role is largely ceremonial. But our upper House is now based not on hereditary but on patronage. Not much of an advance that is it ?

Major and Cowdrey, Johnson and Botham

The late Colin Cowdrey, a cricketer, became a Lord because the then Prime Minister John Major enjoyed his company over a late night whisky. One of Cowdrey’s successors as England’s captain, Ian Botham, became a Lord because Boris Johnson liked the fact that the otherwise apolitical (but Blimpish) ex-cricketer supported Brexit. Both Cowdrey and Botham had previously been knighted for services to cricket (and charity) – just reward you might think, certainly sufficient reward by any logical measures.

Red Rum

Emperor Caligula made his horse Insitatus a Consul. If John Major had preferred horse racing to cricket perhaps Red Rum rather than Colin Cowdrey would have been ennobled. The point, of course, is that to have patronage rather than election the method of choosing a member of our Parliament is profoundly undemocratic. If your mother was as dysfunctional as our “Mother of Parliaments” you’d be booking her a place at Dignitas.

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