If just to avoid that special place in hell that is often said to be reserved for women who do not help other women, it is good to do something positive about Charlotte Owen, the luckiest millennial in the world, who is impressed so much to Boris Johnson that he made him, at 29, the youngest life peer in history.
Since the investigation has not yet discovered credentials beyond his 2:1 in politics and international relations, some internships, then acting as a political assistant in one of the dirtiest administrations on record, the speculation about Owen’s qualifications naturally turned to other qualities that could impress his sponsors. Is the new lawmaker a junior Mensa member? Can he touch the tip of his nose with his tongue, or wiggle his ears? Was he, it was asked, of a physical type that the Johnson administration had discovered to be more capable? Although she could have been important as Carrie’s body double in any security incident, this did not prevent a different young woman with long blond hair, Cleo Watson, from being released because she was reminded Johnson of Dominic Cummings. He said to him: “I can’t look at you anymore.”
If Owen had in fact done no more than 90% of the adult population, or indeed much of the adult preschool population, to guarantee the status, influence and income of a peerage, the fury it generated would still be which will make a way to justify the benefits. including – not a small benefit – access to the only building in the country guaranteed free of charge to its patron. Anger is even enough to rouse Labor from its lethargy where the Lord’s reform is concerned; and if not, you wonder, what does it take? A horse? Maybe.
From Michael Foot through David Miliband to now, disappointingly, Keir Starmer, it has become traditional for Labor politicians, to (1) make democratic noises about abolishing the Lords, then (2) decide that the priority and other complications are unfortunately too easy to test. change in an institution that is less than 30% female and includes 92 hereditary peers. In 2012, Miliband actually opposed a timetable for reform, thus ensuring, along with an unlimited reserve of duds and chancers, the legislature would allocate, thanks to male primogeniture and what else religion, about 100 places for men. In what is more of the same, it seems that Starmer’s scandalous comments on Johnson’s list have returned to the usual reluctance to act. His charge, that Labour’s program should be rushed through the Tory-heavy Lords, leaves the party in a less favorable position than the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, which recently launched a query.
On the contrary, it is reported, Starmer, in spite of things, will add more peers to what is already, with almost 800 members, the second largest legislative chamber in the world. Those who are promoted, as always, will be announced as fully committed to the elimination, before it drains them of all strength, in their new club. After this the reason for inaction tends to return to the one reliable reason for the progressive enthusiasm of the time: how do you stop a changed upper room that endangers the balance of power?
If it is too optimistic to see Lady Charlotte as a significant threat to the lords, its critics can still celebrate an influx of unwanted opponents, at least, following Johnson’s elevation of Peter Cruddas, against official advice. Supporters of Owen’s preference, assuming that there is anything, can further point out that the disagreement about his qualifications is not the same if you remember the peers, to name only two Johnsonian ornaments , his brother and Evgeny Lebedev, son of a KGB agent. Lebedev, even if he wants to use his title, fans are still waiting for the second speech.
Owen’s acceptance of the honor, as it was open to other unobtrusive young Tories to ingratiate themselves, was again less than seeking peers, based solely on their birth, of the older inheritances. Recently arrived, the 5th Baron Ashcombe, aged 59, told the house how the DNA finally united him and it: “I inherited not from my father but from to his first cousin.”
Owen, however, was not placed there by a subgroup of millennials, but after being nominated by Johnson or one of his creations, vetted by the apparently inadequate House of Lords Appointments Commission, then approved, you gather, by in the non-selective pattern: Sunak’s fear of Johnson.
Given the depth of Johnson’s latest list (also featuring bully, Priti Patel) and the impossibility of another leader similarly perverting the system, there could hardly be a more perfect time for Labor to pursue the incremental improvements that , as requested by Meg Russell for the Institute for Government, may be the most effective way to reform the second rooms. “In practice,” he said, “small reforms sometimes succeed, but major reforms often fail, largely because of disagreements with government banks.”
Now, thanks to Johnson, who has not forgotten the donors, grafters and aristocrats who never tire of proving their unworthiness, Starmer can certainly expect widespread support for a commitment to quickly clean up the legacies ( thereby losing points to the Tories immediately), along with a pledge to reduce the size of the house using, as Russell suggested, “a formula of proportionality”.
This, he said, means that “the party groups themselves can expel their least effective members, which may include some of the most controversial – such as party donors who make little practical contribution at work in the chamber.” Such a reduction would also, from the point of view of peers, postpone the assessment of what “attendance” means for the attendance allowance of £342 a day.
If the current outrage leads Starmer to be a little reformed as he should be, then Lady Charlotte, no less than Michelle Mone, Jeffrey Archer, Tom Watson and James “VIP lane” Bethell, will take her place in the history book.