Friday, July 14, 2006

Off with their heads!

There has been a lot of focus in the media about the 'cash for peerages' scandal following the arrest of Lord Levy.

But two questions have been bothering me.

(1) Why is a Labour government embroiled in this discredited social system at all?

The more cynical among us might note dryly that peerages are a corrupt system, so it's only logical that they be further corrupted.

In fact, shouldn't we have swept the aristocracy away by now - liberté, fraternité, égalité-style?

Now, some might argue that the modern peerage is just a glorified Noddy badge for services to the country - a nod and a nice new woggle for your cub's uniform.

But that leads me to my second question.

(2) Why, if it is just a bit of recognition for a job well done, are people willing to pay up for a peerage?

The answer seems obvious to me. There must be social and financial rewards (in whatever round-about way) that accompany the 'honour' that are well worth paying up for - if you can afford it, of course. It's an investment - in the narrowest financial sense too. It's also an opportunity to lord over us all from a seat in the undemocratic and unelected House of Lords.

A Labour government should be moving to dismantle the aristocracy, not touting for new recruits.

That a Labour government could see peerages as a state asset to be eBayed off to boost the party coffers, is - needless to say - an even bigger scandal. A new peer gets social status and a permanent say in the political affairs of the country, but the party - rather than the society to which the new peer is responsible - acrues all the reciprocal benefits from the transaction. It's despicable. It makes me think that like vehicle registrations and TV licenses, peerages (while we're stuck with them) should be subject to an annual renewal fee!

Of course, it can't be long before government spin doctors claim that this was a move to aid class mobility (you've gotta start somewhere, right?) and also a means to boost the left-leaning contingent in the HoL so that in future noble moves like banning fox hunting and repealing of Section 28 will go more smoothly.

This government promised Lords reform. Is this their best effort?


At 5:10 am, Blogger ModernityBlog said...


any chance that you could do a piece on Gays in Lebanon, including maybe a bit of Hezbolahh's attitude etc

I haven't seen much about it at all

At 10:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me save Brett the trouble, gays are universally despised, so it's no different in Lebanon. Since both Lebanon and Hezbollah believe in Sharia Law and follow its tenets, gays are punished if caught.

At 12:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


any chance of doing a piece on racism in the gay scene?

At 2:38 pm, Blogger Brett Lock said...

"any chance of doing a piece on racism in the gay scene?"

Any particular incident you'd like to draw my attention to?

I'm not aware of any gay groups campaigning to take peoples' rights away on the basis of their race, or of any gay groups, clubs, organisations or venues that exclude people on the basis of their race.

At 4:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was thinking about the accepted racist language used on the gay scene to describe minorities. i think it would help people from minorities if they have a more balanced view of the gay scene.

At 5:32 pm, Anonymous richard farnos said...

I thought that this might be of interest. I found the following on Helem's website (Helem is a non-profit organization based in Lebanon, peaceful struggling for LGBTIQ equality in Lebanon.)


"We, the people of Lebanon, call upon the local and international community to join a campaign of civil resistance to Israel’s war against our country and our people. We declare Lebanon an open country for civil resistance. In the face of Israel’s systematic killing of our people, the indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages, and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say NO! In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress and add the urgent need TO ACT!"

All the best

At 10:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kill all gay, kill all isreali gay, kill all infidel gay

At 12:27 pm, Blogger Brett Lock said...

Ah, "anonymous" finally reveals his true colours.

At 8:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey that wasn't me

At 12:24 pm, Anonymous ThxRehab said...

Lord Levy, the former accountant ennobled by Tony Blair in 1997 in recognition of his work in raising money for the party, consolidated his fortune in the late 1980s when he sold his recording business, Magnet Records, for an estimated £10m. He then founded a second recording company, M&G Records, which sold in 1997 for an undisclosed sum.

At 9:37 am, Anonymous janine said...

Brett, I see you are a signatory to the Euston Manifesto. Surely that's not because you want to promote views like this.


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