Simon Cowell for Minister of Culture?
That said, I wasn't at all clear that we had got to the bottom of the adult movie row. Ever since someone sowed this shadow of doubt in my mind (sorry I cant remember who it was . . .), I have wondered if it really was Mr Jacqui Smith who watched them. Could it not have been the Smith children? I accept that there is not a jot of direct evidence for this -- but if it HAD been the kids who had ordered the smut, what would the Smiths have done? Obviously, they would have got Dad to take the blame, rather than have the media decide to take pot shots at the adolescents. Maybe Mr Smith is a self-sacrificing hero, not a late night porn watcher.
But whatever the rights and wrongs, Jacqui Smith was at least an elected member of parliament.
Now, as it happens, I am hugely in favour of a non-elected House of Lords. There is clearly a need for reform in the process of appointing their Lordships (less of the government reward system, please). But the system of having a chamber of scrutiny whose member do not owe their place to long service in the political party machine is surely (especially in our current political travails) wholly good.In fact most of the sensible, considered reactions to recent legislation -- from anti-terrorist legislation to university funding -- have come from the un-elected House of Lords.
But supporting an un-elected House of Lords for legislative scrutiny doesnt mean thinking that you should parachute unelected members of the Lords into the government when the going gets rough (or more accuratelythat you should CREATE a handful of peers to parachute in). That is what gives the House of Lords a bad name.
According to some papers today, there are now more unelected members of the Lords entitled to attend Cabinet meetings than at any time since the 1950s.
Glenys Kinnock was bad enough (brought in partly on the 'we need a woman or two' ticket). But the idea that (Lord) Alan Sugar should become the Enterprise Tsar seemed an insult to the parliamentary system. A celebrity bully, whose only claim to entrepreneurial fame is a failed computer company.
You might just as well make (Lord) Simon Cowell Minister of Culture.