A Step Up The Career Ladder

It is an absolute corker of a job. Where else in the world would they let you wear fancy dress to the office, a cloak, a great big wig if you want to, knee-length breeches, and eighteenth century court shoes with ornate gold buckles?

Every day you will lead a procession through a famous Palace and people will bow low and raise their hats. Inside the splendid Chamber of London's House of Lords, YOU get to decide who opens his mouth and for how long. You rule the roost over some of the greatest names in British life -- Margaret Thatcher, for instance, will have to sit down and shut up if you say so.

You can boss the Bishops of the Church of England – all at once. You can insult Government Ministers and get away with it. You can even greet The Queen (God Bless Her) on almost-equal terms. And the job comes with a very special throne of your own - a vast crimson sack about the size of Hugh Hefner's bed - although yours is stuffed with wool rather than bunnies.

The pay is pretty good -- 190,000 dollars a year plus expenses: that's 63,000 extra. Not forgetting the apartment, and when I say apartment I mean real luxury apartment with huge galleries for entertaining and a bedroom as big as a soccer pitch. There's a chauffeur on hand if you need wheels, but everything's designed to be handy for the day job right inside the Royal Palace of Westminster.

It's the step up the career-ladder you've always been waiting for. Presiding and keeping order over Britain's upper legislative House - the House of Lords -- full of Barons and belted Earls. The oldest member of the House is 98 you know, I SAID 98. And the average age is almost 70.

But they're clever, accomplished and somewhat rebellious people – Tony Blair gets defeated by them around three times a month. He's tried very hard to tame the House of Lords. He's appointed new members. Got rid of most of the aristocrats, and now carved up the ancient job of Lord Chancellor. His own appointee remains in charge of legal affairs, but there's now a vacancy for this brand new super ceremonial role. They call it Lord Speaker.

Their Noble Lordships will vote to pick the winner and the job starts on July 4th.
by Ed Boyle