Thursday, 10 June 2010

Baroness Warsi vs Baroness Ashton

Daniel Hannan has previously, and quite rightly, heaped scorn on Labour peer Baroness Ashton: "a lifelong quangocrat who has never once been elected to anything".

Today, though, he has written a glowing appraisal of Baroness Warsi, whose peerage appears to me to be equally inexplicable. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about her:
Baroness Warsi was the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Dewsbury at the 2005 General Election, becoming the first Muslim woman to be selected by the Conservatives. She lost that election by nearly 5000 votes. She has served as a special adviser to Michael Howard on Community Relations and was appointed by David Cameron as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with specific responsibility for cities.

On 2 July 2007 Baroness Warsi was appointed Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and a working peer. Her peerage was conferred as Baroness Warsi, of Dewsbury in the County of West Yorkshire on 11 October 2007 and gazetted on 26 October 2007. She is, by October 2007, the youngest member of the House of Lords.

I've only seen Sayeeda Warsi once, on Question Time, and I wasn't especially impressed. Perhaps the 39 year old northerner really is a "brilliant individual", as Hannan claims. Personally, I suspect her peerage has less to do with her individual talents, and more to do with her status as a politically-engaged moderate female Muslim who's prepared to associate herself with the Conservative brand.

What a tragedy that Baroness Thatcher, who achieved so much, must share her title with the likes of Warsi and Ashton, who have achieved so little.

The sooner we dispose of these discredited titles, and dispense with the corrupt system of appointments, the better.


  1. I notice that both Thatcher and Churchill made FRS, but not Attlee, Eden, Macmillan, Douglas-Home, Wilson, Callaghan and Heath, nor yet Major, Blair or Brown.

    With the Order of the Garter, we have: Churchill, Attlee, Eden, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher and Major, but not Macmillan, Douglas-Home (but, as a Scottish Earl and prior to being Prime Minister, he got the Order of the Thistle), nor yet Blair or Brown.

    With the Order of Merit (OM), we have: Churchill, Attlee, Eden and Thatcher, but not Macmillan, Douglas-Home, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, nor yet Major, Blair or Brown.

    No Ashtons or Warsis in there, and a full set (amongst Prime Ministers) only to Thatcher and Churchill.

    Best regards

  2. Hi Nigel,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I'm not sure that Callaghan, Heath, and Major deserve their place in the Order of the Garter. Callaghan's legacy was the "Winter of Discontent". Heath was the traitor who misled the public into the inchoate EU superstate. Major took us towards the Euro, and we were only saved by Black Wednesday. I know less about Attlee, Eden, Macmillan, and Douglas-Home.

    In any case, you are right that Thatcher and Churchill are in a select club by holding all three honours. Unfortunately, these honours are also obscure, whereas the title of Baroness is instantly recognised and imbued with false nobility.

    To a casual observer, ignorant of history and the honours system, I expect Warsi and Ashton do appear to be of the same rank as Thatcher.