A little known Parliamentary by-election has been called. And the constituency which has the delight of going to the polls is? Well, there ain't one. Instead, this is one of the bizarre results of the miserable failure of Lords reform and the absurd compromise of 1999 leaving 92 hereditary peers in the Lords.
The by-election is for the vacancy left by the late hereditary Tory peer Lord Mowbray. There are 42 candidates, a figure that comes close to matching the 47 electors. Ladies need not apply. All the candidates are men, as indeed are all the electors, who happen also to be all Tories. Staggering to believe that this ancien regime style of democracy is alive and kicking in the Mother of Parliaments. Had this been the story line for a Black Adder plot, it would have been rejected on the grounds of being too absurd!
Picture the 42 different campaign HQs. Blue ink letters could each be written individually. Indeed, the leaflets could be written individually! One'e butler could deliver them for one. One could even host a campaign meeting in the stately pile. Of course it will mean stopping fee paying tourists from having guided tours through the old building but sacrifices have to be made for the democratic process!
Just how is it that the country can be in this position?
(This blog entry was written with apologies to the various hereditary peers I know!)