Sorry Susan, lords stay lords – thanks to Nick Clegg

Our diarist wonders if the Lib Dem leader could bear to meet one of his predecessors, and what Nick Robinson could (not) learn from David Dimbleby

Share

Susan Elan Jones, a Labour MP for Clwyd South, made an idiot of herself during yesterday’s Commons debate on the North Wales child abuse scandal when she demanded that “any member of the House of Lords” found to be implicated should be “stripped of their peerage and taken out of the House of Lords for life”.

Apart from this cutting across the Home Secretary’s plea to MPs not to make remarks that might jeopardise any trial, Ms Jones ought to know that – thanks to the obstinacy of Nick Clegg – it is constitutionally impossible to strip a peer of his peerage.

The former Liberal leader David Steel proposed a sensible measure that would have sailed through Parliament that would make that possible, but Clegg would not hear of it. Ostensibly this was because he feared that a minor reform would weaken the case for abolishing the unelected upper house. Another possible reason is that he could not bear to see Lord Steel succeed when his own attempt at Lords reform had failed. Almost any day that the Lords is in session, Lord Hanningfield, who went to prison for fiddling his expenses, is back in the building and claiming attendance allowances.

Silly betting – and even sillier names

Nadine Dorries’s (above) decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity… produced the inevitable outbreak of silly betting yesterday, with Ladbrokes offering 10-1 on her taking a shower in a blue bikini. Meanwhile, the spectacle of the former Liberal Democrat MP and I’m a Celebrity… alumnus, Lembit Opik, coming to her defence, on independentvoices.com and elsewhere, prompted an unkind retweet from the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael. He re-tweeted one @adahal, who wrote: “I was at university same time as Lembit Opik. He had second-silliest name there. No 1 was Rory Borealis.” Which prompts the irrelevant observation that there is a Rory Borealis working for Walsall Borough Council, whose job title is as exotic as his name: he is “Executive Director (Resources) and Working Smarter Delivery Lead”. Is there such an animal as a Non-Working Smarter Delivery Lead, I wonder?

The bald truth from Nick Robinson

I see from his new literary endeavour, Live From Downing Street, that in his early days at the BBC, Nick Robinson received this pearl of wisdom from David Dimbleby: “Television reporting was, he told me, a career you could carry on doing happily after your hair turned grey.” Assuming that you have any hair.

’Allo ’Allo! Heath’s Fronch cod be butter

Edward Heath, the former Tory Prime Minister whom most Tories now revile because he led the UK into what was then called the Common Market, used to think he was a great Europhile. He would sometimes speak French in public, but with excruciating effect, because he pronounced French words in the way he believed that they should be pronounced, which bore no resemblance to the way the French pronounce them.

Very like Officer Crabtree in the long running TV comedy ’Allo ’Allo!. It now transpires that this resemblance was not coincidental. Interviewed by the writer Richard Webber for his book 30 Years of ’Allo ’Allo, the actor Arthur Bostrom, who played Crabtree, pictured left, says he consciously based the character on Heath because “hearing him talk used to crack me up – the words were correct but there was no attempt at a French accent”. How typically British is that?”

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Harman has said her gender affected her employment  

Gordon Brown could have had a woman as deputy PM. He bottled it

Joan Smith
Barclays are reducing the number of staff in their branches - and giving those remain ipads  

A bag? In the bagging area? Whatever next?

Andrew Martin
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?