There are many ways to get a peerage these days. You could conduct a white-wash inquiry into the Labour party’s problem with emboldened anti-semites; you could bounce from quango to quango until a seat on the red benches is the next logical step; you could donate to a political party; or you could have the good fortune to inherit a family title. Such routes, after all, account for a large number of our Lords and Baronesses.
I think the Lords is in desperate need of reform, starting with a dramatic cull of its swollen membership, but assuming we must work with the system as it currently is then Nigel Farage has surely done more to earn a seat than many of the upper chamber’s ermine-clad pontificators. Leaving aside the matter of whether one agrees with the politics of Farage and Ukip, it must be recognised that he has done more to shape the course of British history than almost any other politician of his generation. Some Brexiteers are of the view that he was more of a hindrance than a help during the actual referendum campaign, but it cannot be denied that without him there wouldn’t have been a vote at all. He also oversaw Ukip’s impressive haul of four million votes at the last election. The LibDems bagged just over half that amount and currently count over 100 peers with just a clutch of MPs.
So while you may loathe the idea of Lord Farage, you ought to recognise that the strength of his party’s support combined with the seismic policy change he helped bring about warrants recognition. He may have made a career out of attacking ‘unelected elites’ but he wouldn’t be the first person to circumvent hostility to the principle when a title was dangled in front of him. Picture him there, alongside Lords Prescott and Kinnock.
Theresa May refused to rule out the idea when challenged at PMQs on Wednesday. If she does end up sending Farage to the Lords, we should all raise a pint to him – however begrudgingly.
Here’s a solution to your Christmas shopping
City A.M. is committed to raising £1m for Maggie’s, the cancer support charity. So this Christmas, we’re backing its fundraising auction and it could be the answer to your Christmas shopping. Golf with Sam Torrance, whisky tasting at Boisdales, art and hotel stays are all up for grabs. I should warn you, though, that our co-founder, Lawson Muncaster, will gatecrash the golf with Sam Torrance. And probably the whisky tasting, too. Visit givergy.com/charity/maggies
Where the bbc leads, could No 10 follow?
On Tuesday I chaired a debate for top City law firm Eversheds at the Museum of London. Despite the historical flavour of our venue, the event was about the future of the capital. Newsnight presenter Evan Davis opened the evening with a speech in which he floated the idea of making Manchester the capital city. Such a move would follow the BBC’s partial relocation to Salford, and would certainly make those of Evan’s colleagues who made the leap up north feel more at home.
The most famous nobody in wales
Congratulations to Elwyn Davies MEP, the second most widely recognised Welsh member of the European Parliament. Davies is clearly doing something right as he comes well ahead of Jill Evans MEP, who has served her Welsh constituents for 17 years. The problem is, he doesn’t exist. Pollsters added the made-up name to a list of Welsh MEPs to see who the public recognised. Wales will be losing its MEPs once the UK leaves the EU, but it seems the Welsh are unlikely to notice.
Triggering a laugh at the Guildhall banquet
To the Guildhall on Monday night for the Lord Mayor’s Banquet which featured, in his words, “more sparkle than Strictly”. True, it’s hard to imagine an event featuring more gold. It was also Theresa May’s first speech to the City and it got off to a jovial start when Rev Canon Roger Royle began the grace prayer by saying “we give thanks that we do not have to trigger any Article before enjoying tonight’s meal”. I think I even saw the PM crack a smile at that one.