The House of Lords was debating its favourite subject today – itself. The occasion was the private members Bill being introduced for at least the third time by Lord Steel of Aikwood which would (if enacted) bring about some modest interim reforms of the House of Lords (including provisions for ending the process of by-elections held to fill vacancies when one of the 92 Hereditary Peers who still have a seat in the House die, putting the House of Lords Appointments Commission on to a statutory footing, and enabling members of the House to retire).
The retirement provision prompted Lord Taverne (aged 82) to offer some proposals to help colleagues know when it is time to retire. Helpfully he offered five suggestions of the signs that Peers should heed to accept that the time has come to retire:
“first, when candid friends tell you that each of your speeches is getting better than the next; secondly, when what your speeches lack in depth they more than make up in length, although, of course, that is not peculiar to elderly Peers; thirdly, when you stop to think and forget to start again; fourthly, when your doctor advises you to buy day returns rather than season tickets; and, fifthly, when you get out of breath playing chess.”
I pass this on in case it has a more general application.