I expect the Australian media will pick the latest story about Monckton up, so for any who might read this blog, here is a little nudge to help you tell the story how it should be told.
First, the sort of people who support Monckton are already trying to spin it this way: “Who cares if he isn’t a member of the House of Lords?” But the point of the criticism is not that he isn’t a member of Parliament. It is that he claims to be a member of Parliament, but is not. He has even represented himself to foreign governments as a member of Parliament. Stop and think about it for a moment. Oh, I understand that Monckton really thinks he SHOULD be a member of Parliament, but how seriously would anyone take Al Gore if he went about saying that he really was the President of the United States because he thinks the Supreme Court didn’t have the right to stop the recounts in 2000? Yes, a few nutjobs would take him seriously, but that’s the point–only nutjobs would take him seriously.
Here’s a recap of the whole sordid affair taken from Lord Monckton’s Rap Sheet:
Monckton represented himself to members of the U.S. Congress as a member of the U.K. House of Lords (the upper house of Parliament.) When people started pointing out that he doesn’t appear on the official list of members, however, he started saying that he is a member “without a seat or vote.” When queried, the House of Lords responded that there is no such thing as a member without a seat or vote, and Lord Monckton had never been a member because he inherited his title (Viscount) in 2006, after all but 92 hereditary peers had been barred from membership in the House of Lords since 1999. When asked to respond about this misrepresentation by members of Congress, Monckton basically acknowledged that the British government doesn’t recognize him as a member of the House of Lords, but claimed that they’re wrong because his “Letters Patent” that granted his title to the family (and presumably mention membership in the House of Lords) had never been revoked by specific legislation. He said that the Lord President of the Council in the House of Lords had admitted that letters patent could only be annulled by specific legislation. However, Tim Lambert actually looked up what the Lord President of the Council said, and it turns out that she used the House of Lords Act 1999 as an example of legislation that altered the effect of Letters Patent. In other words, she said the exact opposite of Monckton’s claim. UPDATE: I should have mentioned that Monckton has also gone about using a logo that it quite similar to that of Parliament. Derek at Friends of Gin and Tonic sent an inquiry to the House of Lords Information Office about Monckton’s claim to be a member and his use of the logo, and they responded that, “The House is currently taking steps with a view to ensuring that Lord Monckton does not in future either claim to be a member of the House or use the parliamentary emblem or any variant thereof.” UPDATED UPDATE: Leo Hickman at The Guardian followed up on this with the House of Lords, and found that it’s just possible Monckton could do prison time. We can only hope, but it appears that Monckton may be quietly backing down! In his latest post on the Watts Up With That? blog, Monckton has changed his logo to a gaudy coronet, rather than the gaudy coronet and pink portcullis. ANOTHER UPDATE: Monckton is still claiming to be a member of the House of Lords, and he has added the portcullis back into his logo (although with wavy chains instead of straight). Now the House has taken the step of publishing a “cease and desist” letter on their website. Full story by Leo Hickman in The Guardian.