The Guardian tells us all that many members of the House of Lords have other jobs. Which seems fair enough really, as they’re not in fact paid to be members of the House of Lords. Expenses only is the system there. They then go on to point out that some of them, or for some of them the job is, are advisers to foreign governments. And, you know, chunter chunter, having our legislators paid by foreign governments is…chunter chunter.
One in five members of the House of Lords are working as consultants or advisers to private businesses at the same time as serving in parliament, the Guardian can reveal.
Terrors, eh, unpaid working elsewhere. But this is the interesting part:
An analysis of the Register of Lords’ Interests shows 169 peers reported working as advisers earlier this year, with more than a dozen registering that they were also paid by foreign governments on top of the expenses they are entitled to as peers.
Rather more than that are being paid by foreign governments actually. Because there are all those with European Union pensions floating around. The EU is indeed a foreign government – it’s not the British one, is it? – and the receipt of that pension is, according to the EU’s own rules, dependent upon continuing to uphold the interests of the EU.
So, why isn’t all of this listed? Mandelson, the two Kinnocks, they’re only the start of such a list.
One answer is that being in receipt of money from the EU isn’t a declarable interest in the House of Lords. Therefore it isn’t listed in the documents The Guardian has been perusing – which is the list of declarable interests. But that just moves the point a step back. Why isn’t being in receipt of money from the EU a declarable interest?
Because the establishment has decided that it isn’t and shouldn’t be. There was actually a fight about this, Matt Ridley on the right side of it. Sadly the disinfectant of sunshine lost out.
But there it is. The Guardian chunters about how some peers are paid by foreign governments. Entirely missing the list of those who are paid by the EU, a foreign government. Because, you know, that’s different, reasons.
What will be interesting is what happens when we Leave. Presumably the EU really, really, will be a foreign government and those interests will have to be declared. Or will it be reasons?