I'm not entirely sure how much the House of Lords costs us taxpayers every year. Many figures are bandied about (and we are told how much cheaper it is than the Commons), but no one seems to know exactly what the figures represent:
Expenses of peers (or attendance allowance as it should properly be called) is surely only a small part. There is an historic building to be run, with priceless artwork to be hung and maintained; there are restaurants, tearooms, shops and bars to subsidise, staff to pay to open doors, type letters, run errands, polish coronets, oversee robing rooms, clean toilets, offices, corridors, etc. There are windows to wash, drains to unblock, doors to paint. And then there's security. There are government ministers to be paid and transported. And it all has to be heated and lit. (A lot of them are elderly and need lots of warmth...)
I dunno...£ 1/2 billion...£ 3/4 billion? More?
So... whatever it costs, if, as Mr Clegg tells us, it is necessary for the smooth running of our democracy, why is it that when the government suffers defeats, such as it has over the last few days because various sections of the Welfare Reform Bill have been voted out by their noblenesses, the aforementioned government can simply overturn aforementioned defeats the next day in the Commons, as if nothing had happened.
You see, I reckon that we don't need the Lords. Well, that goes without saying. Ermine collars, red gowns, coronets, together with titles like Duke, Viscount, Marquis, Earl, Baron, and styles like "your grace" and "my lord" seem to me to be completely out of touch with the reality of today. (I'm not, of course, saying that the reality of today has a great deal to recommend it, however, at least our parliamentarians should be living in it the same as we are forced to.)
But I don't think we even need a Senate. Surely one chamber, with good committees, real debates (without the disruptions of the wearing of top hats and cries of "I spy strangers"), and with sensible a good chairmanship (not pompous overblown little pip squeaks), should suffice to get the job done.
It's not as if having a second house has saved the UK, and England in particular, from some incredibly inept legislation, which can be, and is, challenged in courts, usually in London, but sometimes in Europe.
Every time I hear the government of the day saying that it will overturn the votes of the second chamber, I ask myself if the half or three-quarters of a billion pounds or more per annum, wouldn't be better spent on something useful.
I see that Fred Goodwin is just that, Fred Goodwin...now that they have taken away his 'Sirness'.
Against titles as I am, it's a matter of complete indifference to me whether he has (or had) one or not. Like the titles in the Lords it all belongs to another day, another society, even more class ridden and riven than the one we live in. But that aside doesn't the whole "removal" thing have the smell of an exercise in futile populism by Cameron? That's how it seems to me, anyway.
Fred was, probably still is, a greedy bounder, who is as clever as clever can be at making money, and behind whom all these MPs were standing cheering when he was making that obscene money for the RBS Group, and of course for the UK. But he, like every other gambler, was bound to back the wrong horse sometime.
And he did. Big time. But he wasn't the only one. Goodwin didn't bring down the UK economy single handed. Oh no. There were many others. The City of London is teaming with them. Goodwin was just the best known. And Cameron wants to look tough with the bankers.
Fail...again. It all just looks as silly as giving him the daft title in the first place.