Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be paid £300 per day to sleep at work? I know I have. Sleeping during the day is something I am particularly good at so you would think that I would be a shoo-in when a vacancy in the House of Lords arose. Yet I have never been interviewed despite actively demonstrating my skills on a regular basis, often with a special-effect soundtrack.
I’m told that I have not been recruited because I am not a Peer of the Realm; another oversight in my opinion. I have my own hair, most of my own teeth and am reasonably sentient which, it appears, are all the qualifications needed to get a fitting for the ermine shawl.
Competition for this lucrative little sideline must be intense given the number of peers who can be found demonstrating their fitness for the role by sleeping on the job. The House of Lords even employs a bloke who glories in the name of Black Rod (and who wouldn’t?) whose job I assume is to go around the Upper House Chamber poking sleeping Lords to make sure they are not actually dead.
We know that most of them are not dead, despite appearances, because they all make damn sure they claim their pay. If you ever want to see Lords a’leaping then hang around the cashiers office when it’s time to put the chitty in.
It doesn’t matter if they have never spoken one word during their time in the House because talking, debating and speechifying or doing anything useful are not prerequisites for getting paid. All they have to do is show up. One Lord was even seen leaving a taxi running outside as he popped in, announced his presence and then popped out again to go to his club or probation officer or whatever.
But I am being unfair. Some Peers work very hard and take their duties seriously, having oversight of the decisions of the noisy rabble in the House of Commons. The Lords are made up from ennobled folk who are either hereditary peers, bishops, people who have been shunted up from House of Commons or have donated fortunes to political parties.
No specialist ability is necessary except perhaps, ALLEGEDLY, the ability to be creative with expenses to the point of having actual form for it. Still there though aren’t you milords?
Recently, the House of Lords woke up briefly to throw some nails under the tyres of the Brexitmobile. In short, they did their job, whether you agree with their verdict or not; but evidence of sleeping on the job has once again raised the call for the abolition of this very expensive anachronism.
But what replaces it? Someone has to keep an eye on the greater excesses of the cold, steely-eyed Tories, the doe-eyed Liberals, the wild-eyed Nationalists and the swivel-eyed Left. How about a House of the People? Elected representatives chosen from the huddled masses who have truly done something voluntarily for the community? It’s a thought.
Whatever your views on the House of Lords, for now they are still there, so I just want it known that I am still available. Being a motoring writer is very tiring. Geoff Maxted
PS: This article had nothing to do with Lord Heseltine’s sacking today. I want to make that absolutely clear.