Village People: Regency remnant passes

The death of the Earl of Onslow this week has robbed the upper house of one of the last of its shameless eccentrics.

Everything about the Earl was an argument for constitutional reform. He was reactionary, absurd and upper class and, yet, there was something oddly appealing about him, because he was so shamelessly himself.

Though he was not himself mad, he owed his seat in the Lords to madness. The Earldom was conferred on the family in 1801, during one of King George III's bouts of insanity, by the King's useless oldest son. Hence Onslow's self description as "a hereditary peer who sees the illogicality of having any power over his fellow citizens just because his forebear got tight with the Prince Regent".

In addition to two appearances on Have I Got News for You, he took part in a programme on social class with John Prescott, and claimed afterwards to have given him this advice: "You don't have a chip on your shoulder, you have the Alps. You became the Queen's Second Minister, so why are you worrying about failing the 11-Plus so long ago?'"

My favourite Onslow aphorism was his grossly reactionary but witty put down of the modern Church of England. The Church, he claimed, "entered the 20th century opposed to buggery and in favour of foxhunting. By the start of the 21st century it had reversed its position".

Pryce tries to avoid the traffic

Vicky Pryce, the estranged ex-wife of Chris Huhne, has been struggling to carry on normally through the maelstrom of publicity around that speeding fine. On Wednesday, her children tried to throw journalists off her scent by giving the impression that she had at least left London, if not the country, but hours later she was spotted at a conference at the Chatham House think-tank. That evening, she put in an appearance at a 13th birthday party for the pro-EU Centre for European Reform. She took care not to speak in the hearing of journalists.

Staying calm amid a perfect storm

Wednesday was reckoned to be one of the worst days the Coalition has endured so far, as Ken Clarke did a car crash of an interview on 5Live, Ed Miliband scored his most palpable victory yet over David Cameron in Prime Minister's Questions, the Chris Huhne story sped on, and Theresa May was heard in funereal silence as she addressed the Police Federation. And where was the Tory MP Michael Fabricant as all this was going on? At a "buskathon" in his Lichfield constituency, where he gave a solo rendition of Lou Reed's Perfect Day.

An inexpensive weekend away

The disgrace of Elliot Morley, which culminated with the prison sentence imposed yesterday, caused such shock in Westminster because it seemed so unlikely that such a man would commit fraud on a major scale. He was a workaholic who once issued one of the most quaintly boring press releases ever penned by an MP, in which he announced that he was going to spend a weekend bird watching in Scunthorpe.

A Wikipedia whitewash

"Political Twitter is a sewer in which the left crawl, fester and cook up their nastier campaigns," the priceless Tory MP Nadine Dorries claims. So I should say that it is from Twitter that I picked up an interesting tidbit. There is a sentence in Wikipedia, backed by a reference note, which says she has claimed child sex abuse could be reduced "if children were taught to say no". It disappeared briefly, when someone with an IP address assigned to the House of Commons altered her Wiki entry. Who on earth would waste time, in the Commons, doctoring what Wikipedia says about Nadine Dorries?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms