Village People: 13/02/2010
Saturday 13 February 2010
An aristocratic take on the oldest profession
*One effect of the Constitutional Reform Bill being debated this week is that there will be no more hereditary peers in the Lords. Some people have lamented the special expertise that will be lost. Debates about grouse shooting, forestry, land management and similar issues are so much better informed in the Lords than in the Commons.
An example of the very special take on life that a true aristocrat can contribute is Lord Lucas's speech last year on legislation that makes it a criminal offence for a man to pay for sex with a prostitute who has been a victim of human trafficking. He said: "It surprises me that a Labour Government should go down this route. It will be a law that will bite the poor, not the rich. It attacks the forms of prostitution used by ordinary working men, not those used by rich men. That is unjustifiable social discrimination."
He added: "I note that there are a couple of dozen of us here and it is said that one in eight men uses prostitutes. There is, therefore, a less than 5 per cent chance, on average, that none of us has an interest to declare..."
Lucas is an Old Etonian who inherited a title awarded to his family for remaining loyal to the Stuart kings through the Cromwell years. He was a minister in the last Tory government. A little of our national heritage will disappear when the last of these specimens leaves Parliament.
Mystery of the moth infestation
*Moth update. The Labour MP Graham Allen, who has an office on the corridor plagued by fluttering insects, has been pointing the finger for the infestation at the shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove, pictured left, who had bought a second-hand Moroccan carpet about the time the first critter appeared. But other theories abound about the provenance of the moths. "It it not true," insists Allen, "that the first moth arrived when I opened my wallet. Nor when I had to examine my 1987 expenses claims."
MPs to debate the seagull menace
*Another person with strange infestations on his mind is the MP for Gloucester, Parmjit Dhanda, who called a formal Commons debate on the seagulls plaguing the city. But why would seagulls congregate in Gloucester, which is about as far from the seas as you can get on these islands? "I can only imagine that the old-fashioned stone-clad buildings resemble seagulls' natural habitat of cliffs," Mr Dhanda conjects. You might think this a ridiculous subject for the Commons to debate, but remember the looming election. Gloucester is a marginal seat, and perhaps there's a critical mass of swing voters out there who will back a candidate trying to save them from squawking dive-bombers.
Bananaman backs convert Brown
*The Foreign Secretary David Miliband, or "Milibanana" as he has been known since that photocall, seems pleased Gordon Brown is eating nine bananas a day. At a dinner on Wednesday, Bananaman joked: "I was way ahead of the curve when it came to bananas. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so Gordon's commitment to the banana revolution is very well merited." Revolution? Surely he means banana republic?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
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