Peer Review

Peter Wilson | 12/08/2014 | 0 Comments

So, you haven’t made it to the House of Lords yet? It can only be a matter of time, given that you’ve made a handsome contribution to one of Westminster’s three main political parties. Oh, your donation was to the Liberal Democrats in support of their plans to reform the upper House of Parliament? Sadly, that idea – just like their stated intention to get rid of student fees in England & Wales - didn’t pan out too well and instead of reducing the numbers of ermine clad ‘working peers’, the total has just shot up to nearly 800 unelected but undoubtedly worthy and thoroughly democratic souls.


Still your chance will come - Nick Clegg has already made it clear that those doughty, long-serving and staunchly anti-independence MPs Menzies Campbell and Malcolm Bruce will move to the upper House when the current Parliamentary term comes to an end. Well done to both of them I say – all that hard work to maintain the status quo of privilege will have its just reward and they’ll be able live out their days contentedly on their gold plated Parliamentary lump sums and pensions plus those 300 smackers a day they’re entitled to just for turning up to the upper House. Mind you, there are no available places to sit down in that overstuffed hall, but they can probably find a spot in one of the Westminster staff canteens, subsided by the taxpayer to the tune of £6m a year. Well you wouldn’t expect them to pay for their own tea out of that measly £300 per diem, would you?


But what of you, Danny Alexander (or Beaker, as you’re affectionately known by your best chum, George) and you Alistair Carmichael – how could your respective Parliamentary majorities of 8765 and 9928 disappear like snow off a dyke when you’ve done so much to love bomb Scotland with Westminster largesse? Danny, only seven years in the Mother of Parliaments, that’s not much in pension terms, not when compared to Ming and Malky; and you Alistair, with 14 years of diligent service as a Whip and as Secretary of State for Scotland by the time the current term comes to an end - why has the Scottish public shown itself to be so ungrateful to you both?


You’ll be fine Danny – George will find you a safe Conservative seat south of the border on which you can continue to build your pension pot as well as a bundle of non-exec directorships, but life might prove a bit tougher for you Alistair as you’ll be 50 by the time of the next election, not the best age at which to find new employment, especially as you’ve no particularly obvious talents to bring to the table.


Yes, I know you qualified in 1993 and spent a few years as a Procurator Fiscal Depute for Edinburgh and Aberdeen and a few years as a solicitor with Aberdeen and Macduff, but – if you’ll forgive me saying – your 15 years on bumpy flights up and down from Orkney to the Big Smoke makes you a bit surplus now to the Scottish legal system and, with your ponderous delivery, not much of a match for the Essex wide boys you’d have to stand against to secure a seat in England. But then, as a member of the current Cabinet, you might be able to convince (I’m sorry, so sorry) Nick to have you measured up for an ermine cape too, a clear motivation for you to get in a huddle with Ming and Malky to beef up your rabidly anti-independence stance.


It’s been said before and will no doubt be said again - we live in times of constant change and the mantra is adapt or go the way of the dodo. It’s unfortunate that your party, in choosing to follow the neo-liberal path and drop any previous pretensions to the democratic bit, couldn’t seriously expect to avoid being culled by unhappy voters. But thankfully for you Ming, Malky, Beaker and big Al, you’ll all continue to survive in the certain knowledge that some men are more equal than others within the rUKs wholly egalitarian political system. That, I suppose, is what allows all of you to look in the mirror each day and enjoy the reflection of yet another hubristic Scot who made his name and fortune in the Mother of Parliaments.


As for you, our original and selfless donor – with the party gone, all current bets on your peerage are sadly off. There are two other parties left to donate to though and, as is ever the case, if you give you get. Don't offer either of them your money for a specific political cause or manifesto pledge though – that’s a bit too obvious. Just make sure that one or other of them commits to announcing that your award has been made in recognition of your peerless work for charity. Yes, that definitely has a comforting ring to it.


12 August 2014 (the Glorious 12th)

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