This story has everything a Mail reader could ever want... a Muslim gay millionaire Labour peer, works in TV production, friends with Peter Mandelson, who has decided he doesn't want to wear fur and has therefore ordered some new robes. I don't believe for a moment that means he's forced to go for 'hideous knitted nylon' - it's quite easy to get decent fake fur. It's not as if he's buying it from a market stall in Albert Square.
What most intrigued me about this story however was the revelation that Lord's robes reveal their rank, by the number of pelts they wear - four for a duke, three-and-a-half for a marquess, three for an earl, two-and-a-half for a viscount, and two for a lowly baron. I can't believe we're still doing this, in this day and age.
Which I guess leads me on to the recent Lords lobbying stuff. The moment has passed really for me to blog about it but it's obviously further evidence that the sooner we get a wholly-elected, professional, paid House of Lords the better. I do still have some reservations about what I call the Robert Winston factor - how do we ensure we get Lords of his quality, and experience, if they're all elected full-timers? That's what holds me back too from insisting that none of them should be allowed second jobs. I think it's great that Lord Darzi still works as a surgeon one day a week, as well as being a health minister. Maybe we could have some elected on a regional basis, and some on a top-up list, with the understanding that those on the top-up list would be 'the experts' and wouldn't be expected to fulfil the same role as the rest.
Going to blog on the whole issue of Parliament and lobbying and MPs having second jobs at some point... but not here.