§ 2.55 p.m.
§ Lord RAGLAN rose to move, That an Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty that she will be graciously pleased to place her prerogative and interest so far as they may be concerned at the disposal of the House of Lords for the purpose of the consideration of alterations in the ceremony of Introduction by a Select Committee. The noble Lord said: My Lords, there have been two other attempts in the past 11 years to alter our present Introduction ceremony. In response to 497 pressures, the Procedure Committee considered the matter in 1964, and again in 1971. Although on both occasions they decided not to recommend any change, the fact that they considered the matter at all shows that disaffection within the House with the ceremony, or at any rate with parts of it, especially since the Life Peerages Act 1958, is by no means new, although this is the first time the House as a whole has discussed it.
§ My Lords, I make no secret of the fact that when I set down this Motion, I was an abolitionist. I think I should still prefer our ceremony to be replaced by a simpler one, with sponsors but without robes, such as takes place in another place when a new Member enters after a by-election. But I have had so many representations from noble Lords of all shades of political opinion against such a radical change, and for retaining what pageantry we have, that I have come to the view that the best course I can suggest to your Lordships is that we should endeavour to obtain general agreement on a change in the present ceremony such as would make it more or less acceptable to everyone. That is a situation which—so far as my inquiries have revealed—is very far from being the case at the present time.
§ I should say straightaway that the part of the ceremony to which I take most objection—and which originally prompted me to take action—is when the new Peer with his supporters ascends the steps to the rear-most Bench and then, marshalled by the Herald they three times sit, rise and doff their hats towards the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. That scene strikes me as appearing very comic and, indeed, absurd. The whole ceremony has an ancient ancestry, but, before I go briefly into such details of its history as I think most relevant to the debate, I should describe the ceremony as it takes place at the moment, both for the Record and for the benefit of those noble Lords who, like myself before I looked it up, may not be quite sure of the significance of what we are witnessing.
§ My Lords, for my description of the ceremony and of its history, I am very greatly indebted to a treatise of limited offprint, written by Mr. John Sainty, at present our Reading Clerk, and Sir Anthony Wagner, Garter King of Arms. Discovering how little was known about the ceremony at the time of the delibe- 498 rations in 1964 of the Procedure Committee, they set themselves to discover what they could about the ceremony. For those of your Lordships interested in learning about the origins of the ceremony, there is a bound copy of the treatise in the Library. If I may say so, it is a model of antiquarian research. I ask leave to quote their description verbatim, but before doing so, I should say that the ceremony applies only to Peers on creation, and not to those on succession, so strictly speaking the ceremony is a recognition of a Peerage and not of a Peer. Not for about 600 years has a Peer by succession gone through the Introduction ceremony. Perhaps that is one thing your Lordships might consider changing.
However, I will now, with your Lordships' leave, read a description of the Introduction ceremony. What happens is this :
A procession in single file forms up outside the Chamber, led by two Officers of the Order of the Garter, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, with his Black Rod in his right hand, and Garter King of Arms wearing his tabard with his silver gilt rod or sceptre of office, with its enamelled armorial head or banner in his right hand and the new peer's patent of creation in his left. Next, if they care to be present, come two hereditary Great Officers of State, the Earl Marshal with his Baton and the Lord Great Chamberlain with his White Staff. They are followed by the new peer with two existing peers of his rank as supporters or sponsors, the junior in front and the senior behind him. All carry cocked hats in their left hands and wear their parliamentary robes. The new peer carries his writ of summons in his right hand.
On reaching the Bar of the House, each in succession bows to the Cloth of Estate—that is, to the position which the sovereign, if present, would occupy. The procession then passes up the temporal side of the House, the bows being repeated as each reaches the Table and again at the Judges' Woolsacks. At the Woolsack the new peer kneels and presents his writ to the Lord Chancellor, while Garter presents his Patent. All then return to the Table where the Reading Clerk reads the Patent and Writ and the new peer takes the Oath of Allegiance and signs the Roll. The procession then moves on, each, as he crosses the Chamber on the way, stopping and bowing to the Cloth of Estate.
Garter now conducts the peer and his supporters to the bench appropriate to their degree, where at Garter's direction they sit, put on their hats, rise and bow to the Chancellor three times, remaining uncovered after the last bow, while the Chancellor, seated on the Woolsack, returns their salutations. The procession then once more passes up the
temporal side of the House, bowing at the appointed places as before. The Lord Chancellor shakes hands with the new peer from the Woolsack and all pass out of the Chamber.
§ My Lords, this ceremony is a concoction, or to put it more elegantly a conflation, which incorporates elements from two older ceremonies, which are the investiture of Peers by the Sovereign on first creation and the placing of a Peer, whether on creation or succession, by Garter King of Arms. It is worth remarking that at one time the Clerk of the Parliaments used to collect a fee for the issuing of the Writ, and Garter's perks for his part at one time were the robes or habiliments worn by the new Peer which were changed for the Parliamentary robes before investiture. All fees were finally abolished in 1904.
§ In the early Middle Ages only Barons—who of course represent the only kind of Peerage which is being created at the moment—had Writs of Summons; they were considered quite different kinds of animals from Earls, and later Marquesses and Dukes, who were created by a Patent and went through a girding and investiture procedure. In time, however, Barons acquired the right to Patent and investiture. The first creation of a barony by Patent was apparently in 1387, though this did not become a regular custom until 100 years later, and the earliest surviving description of a Baron's investiture dates from 1524.
§ It seems clear that up to the time of the death of King Henry V in 1422—that is, about 40 years after the first creation of a Barony by Patent—the investiture and even the placing of a Peer was done by the Sovereign, sometimes in person in front of Parliament. In other words, the creating of Peers was seen as being closely connected with, if not inseparable from, the working of Parliament. But after that date, from the beginning of the reign of King Henry VI, right up to the time of James I Peerages were seen much more as being personal honours dispensed by the Sovereign, and investitures took place whenever the Sovereign had a fancy and wherever he thought it might be they could all have a pleasant party. Henry VI liked using Windsor, Richard III liked the Tower of London, and Henry VIII liked Greenwich or Hampton Court. In 500 any case, our present Introduction ceremony contains some elements of court procedure developed in those days, and that is why on advice it was considered proper to couch today's Motion in the terms in which it is before your Lordships, because, anyway theoretically, the Sovereign still retains an interest in it.
§ I am bound to say that reading the description of these old Introduction ceremonies I have been struck not only by the many variations but by the apparent ingenuity with which the persons concerned applied themselves to inventing variations which seemed appropriate to the Peer and to the occasion. It is since the year 1621 that we have had the present repetitively identical procedure. What seems to have happened then, in the time of James I, was this. He was not fond of Parliament. He was short of money and he was stuck for means of raising some. As your Lordships know, he invented baronetcies and sold them, and Peerages came a little dearer. It is probable, being a sensitive man, that he could not stand the Writs and Patents of these Peerages being read out in front of him, so he sent them along to be read out in front of Parliament.
§ Sir Francis Bacon, it is recorded, proposed in 1617 that the ceremony should be changed, describing himself as unceremonious in nature, though that did not prevent him from organising the whole panoply of works for himself when he was himself made the Earl of Verulam in 1624. As I said, the new procedure, which abolished the investiture, dates almost entirely consistently as it is from 1620–21. It was, as the authors of this little treatise I have mentioned point out, devised to meet a new situation.
§ What I am submitting to your Lord- ships this afternoon is that after an inter- val of 350 years or so we have also encountered a new situation. Since 1958 and the Life Peerages Act, there have been 439 creations, an average of about 24 a year, which is a considerable increase on what went before. The ceremony takes 10 or 12 minutes, and that means that the House has spent in the last 18 years at least 73 hours over introductions. One can say that that is not much considering what we spend on other things, and that anyway the House should not and must not grudge the time spent in welcoming 501 new Member. Nevertheless, I think that the ceremony should not be of such a nature that the House becomes restive during it. A shorter ceremony need not at all be less solemn to participants and spectators, and in fact it might encourage more people to watch.
§ The fact that Peers are necessarily created in batches, and that at certain times of the year there are many Introductions and at other times none, also aggravates the situation. But what is surely vital in any ceremony is that it should be seen to be relevant and appropriate to the times and circumstances, and should meet the approbation of everyone. I take the point that the receiving of a Peerage is frequently the crowning point in a person's career; that he or she looks forward to the ceremony and to having friends to luncheon beforehand in the Dining Room, and to watch the ceremony from the galleries. If one agrees all that and endorses it, it nevertheless remains a fact that the ceremony should not be, or appear to be, over-long and that by no means should any part of it be open to ridicule.
§ I return to the question of that part where a visit is paid to the Back Bench. In the first place, I suggest that it is no longer relevant. The Peer and his supporters go there because once it was the Barons' Bench and thereby we are maintaining a distinction between ranks, which is no longer made in any other of your Lordships' activities. Indeed, it is axiomatic that all Peers are equal. Secondly, for a very practical reason, it is an awkward business climbing steps in unaccustomed robes. Thirdly, no one knows why a bow is taken three times, but the authors I have already quoted hazard what seems to be the most likely guess, that "three" has the greatest antiquity, being a magic number, and they give several examples, including a Roman formula against gout which was repeated 27 times; that is, three times three times three, to make it the most efficacious. Fourthly, in my submission, the ceremony at that point looks utterly ridiculous. It seems to me that it would be advantageous to remove that part of the ceremony. Instead of that place in the ceremony, we could have, say, one concerted elegant bow and doffing from the Floor of the House. There is no lack of talent and ingenuity, I am sure, in inventing 502 pageantry and I should be delighted to offer my services as a designer.
§ I make one more short point before I end, and I have been a long time. I suggest that the fact that both the Writ and Patent are read out detracts somewhat from the impact of both. Both are couched in quaint language, but the language of the Patent is nevertheless beautiful, and, in its way, to my ears, musical. So perhaps the Committee will consider that point of not reading the Writ which again, I suggest, would both shorten and improve the ceremony. When I set down the Motion for debate, I had the idea of asking the House to send the matter to a Select Committee. However, I am assured that there is no need of a special Committee and that the House already has machinery very adequately capable of coping. So in the past week I have amended the Motion accordingly. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Denham, will therefore not press his Amendment this afternoon, so that the Committee may be given the opportunity of considering all the aspects of the Introduction ceremony and reporting to the House after taking note of all that your Lordships have to say about it this afternoon. I hope that the eventual outcome of the debate will be that we shall have a ceremony that is both shorter and more dignified. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That an humble address be presented to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty that she will be graciously pleased to place her prerogative and interest so far as they may be concerned at the disposal of the House of Lords for the purpose of the consideration of alterations in the ceremony of Introduction by a Select Committee.—(Lord Raglan.)
§ 3.14 p.m.
Lord DENHAM rose to move, As an Amendment to the above Motion, to leave out all the words after ("That") in line 1, and insert ("this House has no desire to change the ceremony of Introduction."). The noble Lord said: My Lords, we like to think that it is one of our national characteristics to feel that, if there is a job to be done, it should be done well and with the least possible distraction and fuss. And it is this, no doubt, that prompted the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, to move his Motion this afternoon. But it is also a national characteristic of ours that on occasion we like
to relax a little over some traditional ceremony for which slightly out-of-the-ordinary clothes, appropriate to the occasion, may be worn. We all love dressing up. You have only to see the crowds at a Cup-tie football match to realise that. If we cannot dress up ourselves, the next best thing is to watch other people doing it; and who will say that the relaxation we get from this does not give us a little more interest, a little more zest, and thereby a little more efficiency when we get down to the job in hand? Yet after three and a half centuries the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, and others, would have us scrap our Introduction ceremony in its traditional form. Would they also do away with the Changing of the Guard, Trooping the Colour, the Ceremony of the Keys, all in the hope of achieving a greater sense of urgency, a puritanical atmosphere of austerity in this relentless modern world? Is there to be no colour left in life?
Dost think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale"?
§ This is an emotional argument, I freely admit it, but a touch of emotion here and there is no bad thing, and there are two practical reasons for keeping the Introduction ceremony unchanged. The first is that there is not the glamour attaching to the proceedings of your Lordships' House that they have in another place. Great issues that will affect the lives of every man, woman and child in the country for years to come are not decided here. We have no sensational clashes between political personalities whose names are household words. The work we do is more reasoned, more detailed, and, on the face of it, more dull. But for all that, it is none the less important that it should be done and that it should be seen to be done. We have not got the ear of the Press, but we have got a public gallery and it is vital that it should be used, and used to the full.
§ What attractions have we to offer to achieve this end? We are nothing much to look at! Most of us are not very young any more. We are not very exciting to listen to, and many of us are no great orators. But we do have ceremony —colourful, dignified and valid through generations of unbroken tradition; and any public relations man in the Kingdom 504 who is worth his salt would say we were mad even to consider giving up any part of it.
The second reason is every bit as important. Your Lordships' House is unique among the Parliamentary Chambers of the world, in two ways: first, for the elasticity of our Rules of Order and the fact that having no Speaker we have to enforce what Rules there are ourselves; and, secondly, for the fact that there are no standards laid down as to how often, or for how long, we should attend. All this must seem strange to newly-created Peers, a large proportion of whom have lived for years under the discipline of the Speaker and the Party Whips in another place. The Introduction ceremony is more than a meaningless pageant. For a new Peer it is an initiation, under the guidance of his supporters, into the essential mysteries of your Lordships' House. Bowing to the Cloth of Estate signifies his allegiance; taking his hat off, three times, to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and the Lord Chancellor, with equal deference, removing his hat three times in return, illustrates the somewhat nebulous function of that Office, as the symbol, but not the enforcer, of order. The reading out loud of the Letters Patent, followed by the Writ of Summons, makes it clear to him that the giving and receiving of a Peerage is a two-way contract. From the Letters Patent he receives,
… all the rights, privileges, pre-eminences, immunities, and advantages, to the degree of a Baron, duly and of right belonging, which Barons of our United Kingdom have heretofore used and enjoyed, or as they do at present use and enjoy ".
Whereas the Writ of Summons tells him what is expected from him in return; namely, in view of
the difficulty of the said affairs and dangers impending (waiving all excuses) you be personally present at Our aforesaid Parliament to treat and give your counsel.
§ And, my Lords, the bargain is sealed by the Oath or affirmation of allegiance. Above all, taking part in the ritual ceremony on his first appearance in your Lordships' Chamber is of itself an act of conformity to the traditions of the House.
§ All of this the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, would have us put at risk to save time. To save how much time? The present ceremony takes about ten minutes. 505 The modified version, something along the lines suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, streamlined or emasculated, depending on whether you look at it from his view point or from mine, would take at least five. A saving of five minutes, perhaps ten if there are two Introductions on one day. To save time for what? If the day's business were to take ten minutes less would more Peers who have taken part in the debate sit through the bulk of the speeches, as they are enjoined to do by the Companion to Standing Orders? If the House were to rise ten minutes earlier would more Peers remain until the end, as they are similarly enjoined? How much time would it in fact save? It has been my experience that the earlier the hour the longer are the speeches. It is by no means safe to assume that if a particular debate were to start ten minutes earlier it would also finish ten minutes earlier.
§ My Lords, I am all for saving Parliamentary time in your Lordships' House. Over the past 14 years I have probably remained in the Palace of Westminster after the rising of the House as often as have most of your Lordships, so I have a vested interest. But if your Lordships really want to save an appreciable amount of time, and in doing so to enhance and not detract from the character of the House, the remedy is in your own hands and needs no humble Address. Purely for my own interest I have compiled a list, which I have here, of the occasions in this Parliament and the last on which those of your Lordships who have signified your intention of taking part in the debate have made speeches lasting for longer than 15 minutes. My Lords, can any noble Lord put his hand on his heart and say that he has ever made a speech in this House lasting for longer than 15 minutes which would not have been vastly improved by being at least five minutes shorter? Your Lordships are being asked to tackle the mote and to ignore the beam.
§ My Lords, I cannot accept that the Introduction ceremony is comic and absurd or open to ridicule. I cannot accept that because it dates only from 1621 it is a modern innovation, hardly worth preserving. I cannot accept that it is a waste of time. Furthermore, I do not believe that it is possible to make 506 any cuts in the ceremony without removing much of its point and therefore leading inevitably to its eventual abolition; and if any noble Lord in any part of this House agrees with me I would ask for his support in the Division Lobby this afternoon. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, As an Amendment to the above Motion, to leave out all the words after ("That") in line 1, and insert ("this House has no desire to change the ceremony of Introduction.")—(Lord Denham.)
§ 3.25 p.m.
§ Lord PLATT
My Lords, I would go quite a long way with the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, but I wish to dispute the premises on which I think his argument is based. If we are—as I think a good many of us are from time to time— somewhat disenchanted with this ancient ceremony it is, in my view, not because of the ceremony but because of its frequency. This is the point which I particularly wish to make in what I hope will be only a short speech. If we had to listen willy-nilly to the Beethoven Violin Concerto twice a week played always by the same people, we might get a little bored even with the music of that standard. But I suggest that we should not therefore say that Beethoven must be brought up to date and the Violin Concerto pruned to a large extent to fit in with modem society. We would say, "Why are we having the same music so frequently?"
What are the facts? Averages are always misleading. I think the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, said—though I must confess that I lost the thread at that moment—that on average 24 new Peers had been created since the Life Peerages Act of, I think, 1958. It is not a matter of averaging.
§ Several Noble Lords: Twenty-four every year.
§ Lord PLATT
Yes, every year. The real figures—though they may not be absolutely accurate—are these. In 1974 there were 118 Sittings of this House and according to Vacher 58 new Peerages were created. A little calculation shows that there was one Introduction ceremony about every other Sitting day, or roughly two every week. In addition, of course, we accumulated a few Peers by succession which would add to the numbers 507 and there may have been one or two deaths, but roughly speaking we were introducing two new Peers a week. I think it is correct to say that in 1973 eight new Peers were created, though some may have died. In 1972 11 new Peers were created, so that the average taken over those three years would not give us much idea of the state we are in at present.
I hope your Lordships will forgive my enlarging on this a little further, but it is not irrelevant to my vote because whether or not we are disenchanted it is important to know whether it is with the ceremony itself or merely with its frequency. If this undesirable practice of creating so many Peers in one year continued I would vote strongly on the side of the noble Lord, Lord Raglan. I must explain the word "undesirable". This does not in any way refer to any single one of these 58 new Peers who, individually, I am sure—and as many already know very well—are men of distinction, culture and erudition with many varied interests and worthy members of our society. Ours is a unique society; it has its own manners and customs. Most new Peers quickly become assimilated and rapidly appreciate the warmth of feeling and the various interests of this House.
But whereas we are a society of a few hundred—because, in a way, that is all we are (last year or the year before we sat down at Question Time with an average of 262 people in the House and there are perhaps 300 or 400 regular attenders)—and could readily assimilate 10 or perhaps 20 new Members a year, 60 becomes just about impossible without being in real danger of destroying some of the atmosphere of this place. There are so many new faces, the place tends to be crowded and one cannot find a place in the car park if one arrives after about 12 o'clock. While there are many new Peers who find no difficulty in acclimatising themselves to a new society, when they arrive in bundles of 12, especially if they all come from the same prep school, they tend to club together. This is only natural— they say, "Here are people I have known for many years; the others are strangers to me "— but there is a danger of the formation of cliques which, again, is against the traditions of this House.
508 I wish to make it clear that I am not referring to any individual in any way. My real plea is that, through either the usual channels or, possibly, the unusual channels, the information should be passed to the present Prime Minister— and any future Prime Minister—that, with a society like ours, it is unwise to bring in too many Members within a limited period of time. That is my thesis, but which side I shall vote for I have not yet decided.
§ 3.31 p.m.
§ Lord CUDLIPP
My Lords, I trust Chat your Lordships will bear with me, almost the newest of the new boys, while I make some modest observations on this interesting debate. All my life, like many others in this House, I have advocated change and reform, but curiously enough not on this occasion; I cannot conceive that any noble Lord or noble Baroness will consider a maiden speech in favour of the traditions of this House unduly provocative.
A tradition is no longer a tradition if it is curtailed, embellished or mutilated in any way to flatter or appease the passing fads or fancies of a hurrying, impatient age. If we tamper with our national ceremonials to the chagrin of our greatest growth industry, the tourist trade, the dilemma which arises is precisely where to draw the line. It is, I feel, a choice of all, authentically all, or nothing— of keeping the Parliamentary traditions as they are, and as they have been for centuries, or sweeping them away entirely in favour of some totally new concept. Bow once to the Lord Chancellor, or twice instead of thrice? Or not to bow at all. I am sure that no noble Lord would approve of sending the Lord Chancellor to Coventry. The bows are symbolic, and I am sure that it is not simply a matter of bowing once to the Labour Party, once to the Tories and once to the Liberals. I might mention in passing that my studies of the little red book, the Companion, indicate that a new Lord Chancellor on Introduction bows five times to the Cloth of Estate and salutes the Cloth of Estate six times, a total of 11. A new Peer bows six times to the Cloth of Estate and four times to the Lord Chancellor, a total of 10. I have heard of no complaints from the present 509 Lord Chancellor or any of his predecessors of their even more exacting obligations. Once we tamper with the ceremonial we surely disturb a whole host of ghosts. We bow to the Mace in procession as a symbol of the authority of the Sovereign. Should we, when we have truncated the introduction ceremony, save even further time by bowing only once or twice a week to the Mace? Should the House adjourn or should it go on for ever on a three-shift basis? If the House never closed, like that renowned wartime theatre, it need never be opened, and then the traditional Opening of a new Session by Her Majesty the Queen could also be dispensed with. The time-honoured phrase at the conclusion of debate, " As many are as of that opinion will say Content. To the contrary Not-Content ", could be reduced a time-saving "Yep" or "Nope".
Once we start, where do we stop? There are other spheres of national pageantry which would then rekindle our reforming zeal. Similar notions arise, of course, in the courts. There are those who wish to dispense with the majesty and panoply of the law and turn the Courts of Justice of England into some kind of Perry Mason TV tribunal, in which the law is not only an ass but appears to be so. I submit that there is no in-between course.
As a young reporter in Wales, I was always impressed by the arrival of the judges of Assize in Cardiff. They were driven to the law courts in the Lord Mayor's coach and then they walked up the steps of the law courts in stately pro-cession heralded by a fanfare of trumpets. This to me at that young age was seeing justice being done. Would I have been so impressed if the judges had arrived in a mini-car and dashed up the steps two at a time smoking cigarettes? We either have our judges wearing the traditional wig or no wig at all. We cannot give them all a military-style short back and sides or, worse still, trim or lengthen the horsehair to the fashion of the day set by the ageing Mick Jagger or the even more ageing Beatles.
Would we then be invited to revise some of our other ceremonials, like Trooping the Colour? Is the time even right for some jaunty changes in the Changing of the Guard? Should the massed bands be seditiously persuaded, 510 after a certain amount of practice at over-time rates, to Beat Retreat at the double? It would certainly save time. With respect to my noble friend Lord Raglan, I favour leaving well alone so far as the traditional ceremonial of Parliament is concerned, including the tradition of new Peers. Otherwise there is a danger that maiden speeches might be abolished at a stroke or that new Peers might be baptised en masse once a year.
§ 3.38 p.m.
§ Lord BALFOUR of TNCHRYE
My Lords, the privilege falls to me of congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Cudlipp, on a most admirable, humourous and forceful maiden speech. It gives me particular pleasure, because he is an old friend of mine, to be able to say in this House that we look forward immensely to further contributions from him.
I rise to support wholeheartedly the Amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Denham, but so much has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Cudlipp, and other noble Lords that there is little need for anyone to counter by argument the Motion proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, who was somewhat optimistic when he said that he was dissatisfied with the ceremony and wanted a change which would please all. No change will please all, because even if I were a minority of one I would be against any change from the present ceremony. I have had the privilege of being a Member of your Lordships' House for just on 30 years, from the time when I came from another place, and I have seen many introductions and many changes. Probably the biggest change I have seen is the admirable Life Peerages Act which has reinvigorated your Lordships' House, which has given us debates when contention is introduced and which has, I believe, improved the standing and respect in the country of this assembly. But I am glad to say that during those 30 years I have seen no change in the Introduction ceremony which, as the noble Lord, Lord Cudlipp, said, is closely linked with history.
It seems to me that the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, wishes to ignore the value of tradition and history. The noble Lord who has just spoken and the noble Lord, Lord Denham, stressed the value of pageantry and the beauty— and I say that 511 advisedly—of the present ceremony. My Lords, what does a new Peer feel? He, his family, his relations and friends must either feel that he is at the pinnacle of a distinguished career in some different walk of life or, if he has come from an-other place, must feel that it is the hall-mark of respect for success there, and that it is giving him an opportunity still further to continue in public service. Do not let us disparage history nor slip into a state of affairs in which all people will lead equal lives, and lives which are dreary and without colour or glamour.
There was a suggestion in another place some time ago that Mr. Speaker should no longer wear a wig and gown and that the Clerks at the Table in another place should no longer wear the appropriate dress for their office. It seems to me that, in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, there was a symptom of that wish that nobody should be any different from anybody else, and that if everybody cannot have something, no-body should have it. To me, that is a dreadful and dreary philosophy. Thank goodness!, we in this House do not sub-scribe to that philosophy and, as long as this House continues—which I hope will for many years—I pray that we shall keep this beautiful ceremony as it is.