There is to be an election on Tuesday. Yes, Tuesday, not Thursday.
Now there's a break with tradition. Never let it be said that the UK is so steeped in the past that it won't try something new.
There is, it appears, due to the sad death of Lord Reay (pronounced Ray) the Caithness peer and head of the Clan Mackay, a vacancy in that most august of chambers, the House of Lords. Reay was a Conservative peer, elected to be one of the 92 proper aristocrats allowed to stay in the House after Tony Blair's half arsed, unfinished reforms of 1999.
According to the law, upon the death of one of their number, the remaining 91 vote to elect a successor from the hereditaries who are now unrepresented in the House, having been replaced by political placemen.
Unfortunately then, neither you nor I can take part in this election for someone who will take a seat in our parliament....
Often these peers are little known nonentities and their deaths and the subsequent election of a replacement recipient of the taxpayers' largess that accompanies these posts, goes pretty much unnoticed by the public at large.
The only reason this particular election came to my attention was that one of the frontrunners for the £300 a day tax free perk, is the Noble Viscount Hailsham, appropriately otherwise named Douglas Hogg. I say appropriately named, because when our Douglas was a mere MP he had his snout well and truly in the trough.
He was the fellow who thought it reasonable for us to clean his castle moat...the cleanliness of the aforementioned waterway being essential, apparently, to his carrying out his parliamentary duties as per the rules. (Well, I mean, a chap can hardly be expected to keep his mind on affairs of state if his moat is clamming like a council estate drain, can he?)
There is a tradition (how quickly the Brits establish "tradition") that only peers belonging to the same party as the deceased nobleman should stand for election. However, in a daring break with this tradition of at least 13 years, Liberal Democrat peers in need to £300 a day are standing too. They are joined by a crossbencher or two and a Ukipper who goes by the name of John David
Clotworthy Whyte-Melville Foster Skeffington, 14th Viscount Massereene and 7th
Viscount Ferrard. Yes, Clotworthy...you couldn't make it up, could you? Full list of hopefuls here just for a laugh.
It is thought, however, that these upstarts will be ignored by their peers and either Lord Hail(No)Shame or another Tory, this time a mere baron (and a man who made his money in custard...trade), Lord Borwick, will be elected.
The Hogg had his snout removed from the trough after the scandal of his expenses, and paid back over £2,000 to the taxpayer. He decided (or was advised) not to stand with an electorate of ordinary people who don't have moats and wouldn't understand how important, nay essential, it is to keep them clean.
He is reckoned to have more of a chance among people of his own kind, who doubtless have a better understanding of the expenses involved in being a toff, although this will be his third attempt to get into the
old boys' retirement home.
He was nominated as a life peer by the airbrushed Eton Boy/Lizard (above) who had persuaded him not to stand for election to the Commons, because of the baggage he carried, in what I guess was a quid pro quo. (After all, if a chap went to the same school and up to the same university, he can't be too bad, no matter how he gets his waterworks cleaned. What!)
Strangely this appointment was not approved. (Maybe the Queen doesn't like him, or maybe the sneaky Cameron went back on his word.) He also stood in an election following the death of Earl Ferres and was unsuccessful. Wasn't that a shame.
Still, Buggins turn, don't ya know!
I wonder how many days he will have to attend before he can get the peasant from the village with his fishing nets to come and get rid of the slime.