Sep. 2, 2016



Now, he was passing through the elaborate security into the Palace of Westminster on the way to meet Jamie, Lord Coupar Angus, for lunch. Despite being there many times for receptions, meetings with committees and luncheons with ministers, he was always impressed. Any foreigner would instantly recognise the mainly 19th century Big Ben and Parliament buildings overlooking the Thames. Insiders enjoyed the statues of great men and the arts and crafts style tiles and decorations of the octagonal central lobby.....

As they entered the House of Lords dining room, Alex was once again bemused by the gaudy yellow and rather gauche wall coverings. The dark wooden panelled ceiling, red leather chairs and white clothed tables were the same as always. He remembered the food was mediocre. Still he was not there for that.

They moved to their table. He noted the usual mix of lords and guests. He saw former ministers and prime ministers, booted upstairs from The Commons. There were millionaire businessmen who had donated generously to their chosen parties and wanted the prestige.

When feeling extremely bored he sometimes watched the BBC Parliament Channel. He remembered the usually sleepy Lords sittings. ‘One aged person droned on to those who remembered to attend. Some slept in their red leather benches. Others chatted amongst themselves, or wandered in and out. It’s rather like being in a geriatric home, where all the patients feel they are somehow relevant. Unfortunately, these unelected timeservers play a role in lawmaking.’ He remembered the quotation from Karl Georg Büchner “The breath of an aristocrat is the death rattle of freedom.” As they sat down, he turned to his friend Jaime and gave him a wholly insincere grin.

“Well thanks for the invite, I hope your conversation is a whole lot better than the debates.”

“Och c’mmon. It’s the best club in London.”