Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Lord Sudeley

Dear Lord Sudeley shines like a good deed in a naughty world.  Here he is in a letter today to "The Daily Telegraph". 

"SIR – Before the debate in the House of Lords on the Deputy Prime Minister’s proposal to evict all existing peers except for 16 bishops and abolish a House of Lords which has served the nation since Saxon times, here is a tip for the peers: use the Parliament Acts and hold up all legislation for a year – a year’s unpaid holiday is what parliamentarians need to study the implications of their Pandora’s box of ill-thought-out plans for reform." 

They should have tried this before they evicted most hereditary peers. Now we need an elected second house, with peers elected for 15 year terms, one tranche each year. Indeed the Conservatives first proposed an elected upper chamber in 1910. 

Bagehot said the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it. Maybe in his day. When I worked there I was full of admiration for the Upper House, which in the 1980s had infinitely more intelligent and informed debates than the lower House.

A friend of mine who is related to the heiress to Sudeley Castle told me she was surprised to receive a letter from Lord Sudeley, whom she had not met, proposing marriage on the ground that it would be a good thing to reunite the title and the castle after many centuries. He has said that he can tell by a peer's face whether his title was created before or after 1800 and he lists in Who's Who among his recreations 'ancestor worship' and  'cultivating my sensibility'. Unlike some Tories of his class, he is no wet but was President of the Monday Club and now is President the right-wing Traditional Britain Group. He sadly lost his seat in Parliament along with most of  the hereditary peers in 1999.

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