Thursday 16 December 2004

Let's hear it for the Mullwarchar!

Radio 4's 'Today' programme has been asking for nominations for a 'listeners peer', and I've been listening with half an ear to the suggestions. And what I've been hearing is more of the same old same old; the soi disant great and good, and, more particularly, the metropolitan great and good. So I thought I'd make a nomination completely outside the London box.

The Mullwarchar, admittedly, doesn't say a lot. The Mullwarchar is notoriously neither clubbable nor friendly; not a particularly sociable being. But the Mullwarchar has made a great contribution to our public life, taking a leading role in the campaign against the dumping of nuclear materials and a number of other environmental campaigns. The Mullwarchar has also made a significant contribution to leisure activities and to appreciation of wilderness, and thus to the spiritual life of the nation.

But the most important reason for nominating the Mullwarchar is this: this mountain will not come to Mahomet. The House of Lords is comprised entirely of urban people, of people not merely prepared but happy to spend their working lives in the most crowded, the most polluted, the most unpleasant place on the island of Britain. Such people are by definition abnormal and unrepresentative.
It would do our parliamentarians good once a year to go to the mountain: to lift up their collective eyes to the hills, to be in a place where man and all his works are utterly insignificant. To get some sense of scale.

And perhaps, on their way into the wilderness and on their way out again, they would have the opportunity to pass through places where the people of Britin - the people they make the laws for - actually live.

So let's hear it for the Mullwarchar: certainly the most noble, unquestionably the most ancient, without doubt the most puissant lord ever nominated to the House. And very probably the wisest.

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