Cold Call: Sally Chatterton rings the Marquess of Bath
Saturday 05 December 1998
Do you consider yourself to be a redundant figure in the House?
Hereditary peers have to go. There isn't justice in it. There isn't social justice in someone inheriting a right to power, to government, to sit in the House and pass laws over your fellow men. I just cannot condone it.
Why did you take up the seat in the first place, if it represents something against which you are vehemently opposed?
I took up my seat because I don't believe in unilateral disarmament. If the other hereditaries are giving up their power, I am very happy to do so, too. I wouldn't be happy to say that I won't stay and then leave them all there.
Will your not making appearances in the Lords make any difference to your routine?
I go perhaps once a fortnight? Once a week? Once a fortnight. So, well, not much difference. I have given speeches, though, and I do obey the three-line whip.
What do you do when you're not being a peer?
I am a writer and a painter. I also run a tourist industry at Longleat. There is masses for me to do here. I've actually got a very full timetable and I don't think for a moment that I will be unoccupied when we go.
You are often referred to as an eccentric. Do you consider yourself to be one?
No, I never have. I preach individualism. If you have to give a name to what I preach.
Can you reconcile individualism with the collectivist nature of your polygamy?
Polygyny, I prefer to call it. I believe in a collective world. I believe in a collective universe. But the only way you can get that collectivism to work is by giving respect to the individual.
I'm curious as to the logistics of the "polygyny". How does it work?
I think I should keep out of my personal life. I should practice what I preach.
You reject the "system" with your bohemian, unusual lifestyle, and yet you are firmly rooted in the establishment through your peership. How do you reconcile the two positions?
There has to be a starting point in all evolution. I was born into a stately home with quasi-feudal powers. I am trying to find a way into the democratic society which is already in existence.
What if by some strange quirk, you were democratically re-appointed to the House. Would you take it up?
Well, I'd certainly consider it. It would depend how much time I'd have to take off my writing and painting. I'm not an idle person. If you were down here you would be amazed by the quantity of work that I've put in my life. But you'll just have to take that on trust.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 2 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 4 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
Madonna might be a stand-up comedy virgin - but she wasn't terrible
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling