The post itself was blogging at its most classic. That is, a rant banged into an iphone on my knee on the train to London at 7am with the most cursory glance at any basis of “facts”.
So I am grateful for those two responses for reminding me that it is always a good idea to spend a few minutes actually looking for both sides to the story.
First of all, thanks to my good friend and neighbourhood attack sea otter, Mark Valladares, for gracing this site with its first comment since Bruce Forsyth still had his own hair:
On the other hand, the people who drink the champagne may rather want to drink champagne rather than cava. That is their choice, if they wish to pay for it. And, given that catering for outside groups in the Lords generates a profit of about £1 million a year – and they drink quite a lot of that champagne – it strikes me as rather a false economy.”
Thanks also to Baroness Hussein-Ece for putting me right on Twitter:
So, thank you very much, Meral and Mark, for adding greatly to my education today. Not only are peers paid to put in the hard yards on our legislation for life, but I now know that they have enterprisingly taken it upon themselves to provide an excellent service for the nation as an off-licence for over-priced and over-rated French produce without having to interrupt the proceedings of this hothouse of business activity for elections.
What efficiency! We can all be proud of them!
I particularly like the way they earn money for the hard-pressed tax payer by cashing in on the old world snob value of the “House of Lords” label attached to the bottles. Meanwhile, other sparkling wines (and indeed many and varied delicacies) are available, even from the United Kingdom.
And of course, quite rightly the crazy idea of doing anything as sordid as merging the Lords catering operation with the Commons catering operation to save money has been rejected because, in the words of Sir Malcolm Jack, former clerk of the Commons on December 2nd:
The lords feared that the quality of champagne would not be as good if they chose a joint service