Letter: Peers and pageantry
Thursday 26 November 1998
In the Queen's speech, we see major reforms to transport policy and food standards postponed, in order to abolish hereditary peers. Moreover, the P G Wodehouse lot are to be replaced with assorted recycled Strathclyde regional councillors, backroom apparatchiks and, no doubt in the fullness of Tory time, PR sleazes and fat cats.
Some years ago, I was invited to dinner in the Canadian Senate (which is entirely made up of such political retreads). They bewailed their lack of legitimacy and pointed to the example of the much more popular Lords (then taking on Mrs Thatcher).
Lords are not in the habit of submitting to party discipline; and if "the Care of the Pig" comes up for debate, there will be a peer who knows, though party hacks think pork is born in plastic wraps in Tesco's. And the Lords' scientific knowledge far outweighs that of the Commons. Transport and food policy are both science issues. The choice of two science-based reforms as sacrificial victims of the move to abolish hereditary peers is symbolic. We already have a Commons full of party faithful: by all means get rid of ancient hereditary Lords, but not to replace them with party-line yes-people.
EUAN G NISBET
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 4 Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Orange Is The New Black season 3: Pornstache isn't coming back
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains