Liz Truss has sent Matthew Elliott to the House of Lords in her resignation honours list. There are some obvious and predictable reactions to this.
First, the sheer effrontery of our least successful PM in exercising her traditional right to an honours list. She lasted less time than that lettuce. She was awful. How dare she? Etc etc.
To which I can only say this: Yes, it’s appalling, but don’t be surprised. Truss is incapable of self-doubt or reflection. She can’t imagine that she did anything wrong so why shouldn’t she have a list, just like any other former PM? Don’t waste pixels on indignation.
Second, sending the sinister dark money Brexit boss to the Lords is surely the latest sign of corruption on high. It can’t be long before the Good Law Project launches yet another funding drive for yet another doomed legal case in outrage against the arrival of Lord Elliot of Tufton Street.
To this fury I have a slightly longer answer that boils down to this: don’t be daft, the whole business of awarding peerages is flawed and always has been. And actually, Elliott should be in the Lords.
To expand on these points, I should remind readers that the Lords has always had its share of members who got there because they were someone’s chum, fixer or founder. Lloyd George had a written price list for honours (£50k for a peerage, thanks) for goodness sake, so the idea that former PMs sending ideological fellow travellers to the upper house is some sign of unprecedented venality is for the birds. This has always been a mucky area of politics and for as long as our legislature includes people appointed for life by politicians, the allocation of peerages will always be an unedifying spectacle.
In that context, singling out any one political peerage is to engage in the narcissism of small differences: they’re all, ultimately, indefensible.