Elizabeth Berridge was Director of the Conservative Christian Fellowship from 2005-11.
Whilst I was reflecting recently at a reception that the guest speaker, Sir John Major was more charming, less ‘grey’ and more humorous than I had expected (I was a teenager when he left Downing Street), some of my colleagues were bemoaning the fact that since Margaret Thatcher, no former Prime Minister has accepted a life peerage and joined the Lords. (Yes of course I am assuming they were all offered one…)
So I was just thinking, couldn’t the ill wind of Lords Reform blow someone some good? Isn’t Tony Blair on the job market and seeking a role in public life in the UK. What about it, Senator Blair? Think about it carefully, my Parliamentary colleagues at the green end of the corridor: a former Prime Minister, but with an electoral mandate behind him and untouchable for 15 years.
Some of his comrades might well choose to stay on and help him like Lord (Peter) Mandleson, and Lord (John) Prescott: the country is in a time of crisis, you know, and they are the super Lords that are needed. This is what I am assured the BBC would call an “intelligent repeat.” A ‘New Labour’ Cabal which MPs should trust not to try and challenge the sacred democratic supremacy of the Commons – they would respect their former chamber too much, of course. “Calling themselves a Senators’ Cabinet will never catch on. The public will never buy it”, is the muttering in the Members’ Tea Room.
I am afraid I would not be so trusting. Just think of the menace, the drama, the intrigue that they could create. Cameron and Clegg vs Milliband and Blair or would it be Milliband vs Blair arguing over the soul of the Labour Party or perhaps even Cameron vs Clegg vs Blair. Oh, the possibilities are endless. Parliament TV would beat Eastenders in the ratings war and the advertising revenue would be so great that the public purse would no longer need to fund parliament.
Hallelujah – at last the public is falling back in love with its politicians. Well, at least the Senators, according to the opinion polls – in fact, this month's You Gov polls reveal that 42% of the public think Tony Blair is in fact the Prime Minister and that Lord Prescott is beating Dame Judi Dench in the “National Treasure” stakes. “ A temporary blip” says Dame Judy, “due to the two million hits on the YouTubefootage of him headbutting Clegg in Central Lobby when the Commons and Lords fell out”. Well at least politics would no longer be accused of being dull. Perhaps I am getting a bit carried away…but this Reform Bill is so bad that I may wake up tomorrow to discover that this wee ditty is filed in the ConHome archives not as fiction but as fact.