With posh people on the radio and television discussing the pros and cons of it’s existence, you may find yourself asking what the House of Lords is, where it is, and what has Alan Sugar got to do with anything. But fear not, in just a couple of minutes you will have the knowledge needed to watch tonight’s six o’clock news and know what they are talking about, taking away the urge to lick the screen, with this Idiot’s Guide To…The House Of Lords.
The House of Lords is the 2nd house in the Houses of Parliament. It is a semi-detached property on the right and is easily identifiable by the hand rails and stair lifts going in to the entrance. It has a lovely garden with a view of the River Thames at the rear, and has a downstairs toilet making it perfect for those of an elderly disposition.
In the main debating chamber the seats are coloured red. There are many theories as to why this is, however the generally accepted idea is that if members were to wake up to an all white décor, they may fear they had died in their sleep and gone to ‘the other, other place’
Talking of ‘the other place’, this is the term that MPs in the House of Commons use to refer to the House of Lords. There is a rivalry between the two houses which goes back over 400 years. This comes from an incident during the tenure of Oliver Cromwell when the Commons were defeated in a five-a-side football game by members of the Lords. Mr Cromwell was a little upset by the referees decision not to give him a penalty, so decided to abolish the Lords.
To become a member of the House of Lords you need to fulfil a couple of qualifying criteria. First, you ideally need to be over the age of 93. This is to ensure when the government of the day put legislation before you, you may sleep during the controversial bits. You also will ideally have been either the leader or a minister in a political party. This rule can be sidestepped with a sizable donation to the party of your choice. If you don’t qualify with any of these then there is still hope as like some forms of dementia, membership can also be hereditary.
The House of Lords has seen many changes over the years, including the name change of 1984. Before this time it was noticed those in the House of Lords always appeared happier than those in the commons. For this reason it was officially known as the House of Gay Lords.
The main responsibility of the House of Lords is pass laws put forward by the government of the day, and they have shown that they are not afraid of rejecting some of these. Although this provides a safety net for the country and stops legislation going through that might be harmful, there have been incidents there have been negative affects of rejected laws. The most noticeable error came in 1687 when the whole country famously found themselves floating after the Lords refused to approve Newton’s Law of Gravity.
Calls have come in recent years for the House of Lords to be reformed. Many people wonder what a ‘reformed Lords’ would look like. History shows us that a reformed Lords is just like reformed ham. It starts out with lots of bits nobody really wants, pushed together under extreme pressure, leaving something that is just about acceptable, but will go out of date quite quickly.
That about sums it up, but there is one last fact to leave you with. In the time it has taken for you to read this guide, up to three members of the House of Lords would have died.