There are certain events in the British calendar occur on a regular basis.
You know, like the England team getting knocked out on penalties, or Katie Price bringing out a new autobiography.
Such moments allow hacks to produce thousands of words of speculation which are read by us, the punters, with a certain sense of déjà vu.
In my third year at college I ended up having to write essays on similar subjects to those on which I had opined in my first year.
Given that when I first arrived I was bright-eyed, diligent, and pretty much a stranger to both the booze and boys, I momentarily considered running a particularly interminable first year piece on social contract theory through Babelfish – from English to Latin and then back again – so it was rendered slightly different in translation, and resubmitting the bugger as new.
I didn’t, but I’ve often felt since that this is what our friends in the media do on such subjects as constitutional reform in general and Lords reform in particular.
“Oi, Bert! The Lib Dems are trying to crow-bar reform of the Lords onto the Statute Book again. Have you got that standard article you wrote in 1997? Take out the references to Blair, update the Paddy Ashdown quote, add something suitably sombre from Betty Boothroyd about how this will end democracy in Britain as we know it, and stick it in the editorials. Last one to the pub buys the gins.”
And all is quiet until the next time.
I am pretty ambivalent on issues such as Lords reform or the abolition of the monarchy.
I mean, if asked whether I wanted either of these things to come to pass I would probably, in all conscience, have to agree. The problem is, that I just can’t be arsed.
Working on the 'Would They Wear it in Walthamstow Principle': of all the problems that beset British society, very few people seem to reckon that the answer is spending ages designing a new Upper House filled with professional politicians with expense accounts.
The public aren’t exactly enamoured with the political class at the best of times, and proposing to extend it at taxpayers’ expense in the middle of a recession and the Eurozone crisis is a decision that Sir Humphrey, were he still with us, would describe as “courageous”.
In the event, it looks like the Lords Reform Bill will be scuppered at the first hurdle via a rebellion by the Tories on the Programme Motion.
With the ostensibly noble aim of ensuring that any constitutional change is subject to proper scrutiny, a group of Conservatives have pledged to vote against the Motion which timetables the Bill, meaning that there is a very real danger that it will be talked out.
Today in Parliament is set to get very tedious, folks, as the prospect of endless repeats of those well-worn arguments both for and against reform take place over the next weeks and months.
It will be like a sitting Friday debating private members' bills with Christopher Chope MP (AKA The Legislative Terminator) in all his loquacious glory.
As that great philosophical work, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, teaches us: it’s not the answer that’s important, it’s the question.
And if the answer is Lords reform, then I suggest that we are most certainly asking the wrong question.
But, bag-carriers, if your boss is set on getting in on the action, don’t sweat it. Dig out that old speech and fire up Babelfish.
Last one to the Sports buys the gins.