We may well caricature the Lords as the Westminster Chapter of God’s Waiting Room, populated by trembling, Zimmer-pushing geriatrics who spend their days farting and dozing on red leather whilst listening to each others’ arteries hardening, with only the occasional trip to nursey’s office to have the colostomy bag emptied………… It’s nothing like that.
The very first thing that strikes you is its very “ordinariness”, its informality and its total lack of pomp.
It is certainly NOT full of self-important, puffed-up, swaggering aristos clipping jug-carrying flunkeys around the earhole, screaming “Another tankard of Port, my man !!”
It is a quiet place. It a a place underpinned by mutual respect and the ability to listen.
None of the raucousness and noisome dissonance of the “other place”. None of the name-calling and playground punchups or “Leave him – he’s not worth it” attitude of the Lower House.
These are the “self-actualised”. Those who “have done it”, “seen it” and who know better.
In general, the House of Commons is anti too much reorganisation of the House of Lords. Ever wondered why?
Is it a rabid dislike of the “hereditaries”? Is it an over-developed sense of “democracy” ? Is it the “They should be elected NOT appointed…” group?
It is none of the above.
Most Honourable and Right Honourable Members of Parliament see the Lords as a reward, something to aspire to, a recognition of their years of selfless sacrifice and a final gift from the Establishment. They covet the ultimate status achievable within the United Kingdom. “Yes, My Lord!” ……It is their Gold Watch.
And why not?
They say that age is a price worth paying for wisdom. The average age within in the House of Lords is 65.
The average age in David Cameron’s Commons sand-pit is about 50.
Mind you, it is David Cameron who has done more to lower the “currency” of a Title than any previous Prime Minister. He ennobled 117 individuals within 12 months of coming to office. That told us a lot about his comparative youth, impetuosity plus his demand to impress. No point in complaining that “there are too many of them” (there are 818 voting Lords) after you have just added over 100 to the fire!
He was also aware that one of the major items on the Libdem shopping list was a reform of the House of Lords and that Nick Clegg needed a bone to play with. That is exactly what he was given. No more.
Currently, the Lords is a patchwork of hereditaries, politicians, lawyers, Anglican bishops and various “sundries” from public and commercial life. That is how it should be.
The alternative is an elected bunch of those bred-nurtured-and-educated purely for politics (it’s already happening in the Commons). Soulless and charisma-free Party wonks to whom commerce and normal life are a matter of wonderment and mystery.
On this occasion, let’s once again do what politicians do best. Leave it alone and wait.