The Other House: The House Of Lords Before Reformation

Are the Lords of England quickly becoming irrelevant now that their lineages are being stripped of their right to rule?

Lord Clifford is utterly incensed that Tony Blair wants to sack him, and the other two thirds of the Lords that earned their right to rule by dint of birth. “It’s the history of the family’s contribution not only to the nation’s heritage, but also to the world,” says Lord Clifford in justification. But not all the Lords feel so blessed. Lord Bath spends his time painting erotic pictures of his 68 mistresses. This ageing hippie will happily vote away the burden of his ‘right to rule’. At the other end of the spectrum, Lord Colwyn represents what is best about the Lords. The practising dentist likes to feel he represents ‘Mr Average’ and takes his role in the Lords seriously. Yet he also will be voting away the family right to rule. “With my hand on my heart, I can’t justify the fact that you can hand on political power.” The English aristocracy’s great talent for survival may finally have run its course in British politics.

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