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18 November 2006updated 27 Sep 2015 2:33am

Roll up, roll up! Peerages for a £1

Ever wanted to be a Lord or a Lady? Well why not put your name to this novel idea for changing the h

By Mark Thomas

Amidst the Labour Party grandees in line for questioning by the police it looks like Tony Blair himself could be officially probed under caution.

It is hardly the Hague International Criminal Court but it is a start and at least we establish the principle that he should be questioned by the authorities.

The surprise of the scandal is not the idea a government would sell titles but that anyone would want to buy one. Surely to God any self respecting billionaire would regard paying for a title of this kind as a tacit admission that they can’t afford a football club. Were Amazon to sell titles, there would be a link page with “People who bought peerages also bought personalised number plates and had their hair cut by Nicky Clarke.”

Pundits and politicians might wring their hands about the corruption of the political process and the cops ponder legal action.

To me, the question seems to be how much does one cost and how would you like the money? As this is the case I propose a radical solution to the problem. Let’s legalise the sale of peerages, knighthoods and other associated baubles of grandeur.

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Labour have sold air traffic control and the tube, why not peerages? Sell them openly and use the money to compliment the national lottery’s “good causes”. This way we can do away with the nasty allegations of “favours” and “corruption” and the like.

However, in order to make sure that the price of a peerage is not beyond the reach of everyone in our society we should sell them cheaply.

I propose a quid a go. A pound a peerage should do it. And to make the purchase as simple and accessible as possible they should be sold at news agents, from a dispenser next to the lottery scratch cards. That way anyone could walk up to the counter and ask for “Twenty B&H, a lighter and a Companion of the Order of the Bath please.”

In fact we could run a novelty peerage scratch card for those who fancy leaving their peerage to fate. Pay a pound, scratch the metal foil covering off with a coin or key and bingo you’re a Knight of the Garter.

The only exception to the flat rate of a pound should be OBE’s.

OBE’s should be flogged off at 50p a go, as Phil Collins has one and this has devalued the market somewhat. In fact on reflection, given that a whole host of show business types and Richard Branson have them it might be a better idea if the OBE’s were chucked in for free as promotional honours: buy three Dukedom’s and get an OBE absolutely FREE!

This means kids could collect and swap peerages like Pokemon cards.

Playgrounds across the nation would ring out with the shouts of: “I’ll swap you an Order of St Michael and St George for services to local government for a Commander of the British Empire.”

This process would become much more viable if the government and the Queen worked out a Top Trumps type rating for each honour.

So kids would challenge each other, triumphantly declaring- “MBE for services to arms dealing, Brown Nose Skills 28! Beat that!”

In order to encourage our leaders to take this scheme seriously we have started an e-petition on the Downing Street website. Initially it was rejected on the grounds I mentioned the Labour Party so we adjusted, resubmitted it and now they’ve put it up.

Click here to go to our petition

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