Nigel Chapman, Lord of Misconception, recounts to LitAuthor his slim but fascinating account of life in the House of Lords. Arguably the most peculiar body of anybody who has ever held that office, the pliant chamber performed erratically and often dithered over important decisions, said Chapman.
Be sure to read the book! Lord Beecham gives advice as counsel to the survivors.
I posed a few questions to the distinguished peer, some of which were expanded upon in an article in the Daily Telegraph.
Q: There were reports some time ago that a sample of samples of smallpox had been found. Were those wrong?
A: No. They just seemed to be accurate to a large extent and the division of labour was basically accurate.
Q: What happened then?
A: Well, that is the part about the problem with confidentiality that is very much at odds with the tradition of our time. I have had to change the rules for the use of smallpox, which is different to any other treatment at all, in that it is a very dangerous drug which ought to be used only as a desperate last resort, which has the most complete and complete sterilising effect upon the body.
Q: Why do you think the House is being more cautious than the States?
A: It would not be my call. It is probably the game that the American House chose to play. A lot of people look with envy at what it is, to be honest, and it is a game that was probably quite invented by the American House.
Q: Yet it is a game that is played round the world and by the Americans.
A: In a matter of a few minutes, at most, people would realise that they were already talking about smallpox. Then everyone would look the other way and say, what, are you on drugs? All that stuff about decimal time. It is no fun.
Q: Of course not. It is a game to deflect attention from talking about how the result of the debate is going to depend upon the participation of a few more of the main parties.
A: In a way. And I was amazed that we dealt with only three or four of the main parties in one day. You can carry a House of Lords like that and you can get a decision – by which I mean a bill that is extremely significant to this country – if you only get the majority of the major parties together. They know the importance of it, and they recognise the potential danger that it represents to their political future.