Lord Drayson is one of the few ungulates who hasn’t proved to be more of an ungrate and gone a-leaping off to a life time’s sinecure on the back benches of the House of Lord’s leaving the goatherd, Gordon Brown, wondering what he had done wrong.
The Goats, so named after their correct terminology as insurgents into the ‘Government of all the Talents‘ were never elected politicians, have no mandate from any constituency; they were elevated into the House of Lords to allow first Tony Blair, then Gordon Brown, to parachute their chosen donors and cronies into government without messing with any of that democracy business.
MPs are neither able to confirm the appointment of goats nor hold them to normal scrutiny. It is a concern of the Commons Public Administration Select Committee which has launched an inquiry focusing on unelected ministers, tsars – Lord Alan Sugar being a highly controversial new recruit – and special representatives. It will make recommendations on whether goats are accountable and have something to offer.
That the Goats never had any political ‘nous’ was adequately proved by Lord Digby Jones who unwisely opined that ‘you could sack half the civil service’ – probably true, but no government minister can expect to push through his agenda without the civil service firmly behind him – and insulting them was a recipe for disaster. He duly slipped his collar and joined the Lords Darzi, Maloch-Brown and Carter peacefully grazing on the tax payers funds from the back benches.
Lord Drayson was made of sterner stuff, and, polishing up his cloven hooves, scrambled up to the pinnacle of the Nanny State’s ideology – he was to tackle alcohol abuse. A glittering future of baubles and Mansion House banquets beckoned. Not when the Union boyos get word of his latest stunt, I say.
Time was when every gentleman kept his own pewter pint tankard behind the bar of his local hostelry. Lesser mortals contented themselves with the classic dimpled pint mug in the snug. The working man retained his allegiance to the straight sided glass in the tap room. What they all had in common was the ability to hold a foaming pint of perfectly warmed English Ale.
There is a world of English culture and history of status symbols in those few sentences. One that an increasingly belligerent electorate is belatedly waking up to the need to protect.
Enter Lord Drayson, with the benefit of his superb knowledge of the core principles of scientific investigation, to announce this morning that having asked Publicans ‘whether they would like to be allowed more flexibility in serving measures’ – he has used their affirmative answer to that question to deduce that the right thing to do is to introduce a new ‘two thirds of a pint measure’ into pubs and working men’s clubs.
When the unemployed steel workers of Sheffield and Glasgow North find themselves propping up the bar nursing a fancy-nancy little glass of beer that their wives would have turned up their noses at, do you suppose that they will finally wake up and drop their allegiance to Nu-Labour – or will they wait until the only bar snack available is Quiche?