BBC2 started a new series last night called “Meet the Lords”. In the style of last year’s documentary series about the House of Commons, the film crew wondered around the corridors of the House of Lords, and produced some interesting sights.
In fact, it centred on three peers:
Baroness King – This is the previous Oona King, the inspirational MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. In her office she has a photo of a black Margaret Thatcher – which is interesting. We see her putting through an amendment to the Housing Bill – a process involving many hours of lobbying, and we see her children and a bit of her home life. She tells us that she has been through eleven unsuccessful IVF attempts – which qualifies her as an alumni of the school of hard knocks, I would suggest.
Baron Bird – This is John Bird, former homeless youth who founded “The Big Issue”. We see his entrance into the Lords as a “People’s Peer”. He is quite a card and deserves every inch of the red leather on which he perches his experienced bottom. He also can be truly said to have gone through the school of hard knocks.
Lord Palmer has not been through the school of hard knocks, I think it is fair to say. He was born with a chocolate digestive biscuit in his mouth. As the Housing Bill threatened to push the impoverished out onto the streets, we saw him walking around his huge house (see above). We saw him getting quite exercised that the House of Lords TV room had been turned into an office. This prevented him from watching the cricket and the racing in the afternoon – and he was quite upset about that.
We also had a few salty remarks from our own Paul Tyler, wearing a superb selection of colourful ties.
Black Rod was featured quite a lot. We saw him putting on his tights. (I had to look away). He said that he is an expert in the various deniers of the said hosiery.
So that probably sums up the programme. Great entertainment. I marked off about a dozen Lib Dem peers on my bingo card. I saw Lord Purvis twice. We saw the Housing Bill going through its paces. And yes, of course, the House of Lords does a great job and they are all lovely people.
It would be equally lovely, though, to be able to vote for and against them.