As regular readers will know, the peers who propose and second the motion on the loyal address (thanking the Queen for her speech) are expected to inject humour into their speeches. The speakers yesterday – former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton and Labour back-bencher Baroness Ford – did not disappoint.
Baroness Ford recalled the occasion over 20 years ago when she was appointed a member of the Scottish Parole Board:
‘I learnt a lot. My first visit was to Barlinnie prison in Glasgow, and I studied my brief assiduously. One of the first points in the brief—this being the west of Scotland—was the number of Roman Catholics and Protestants in the jail. I soaked up all the information. When we toured the canteen, I noticed a large blackboard high on the wall. It said, “RC 344 and P 227”. Brimming with enthusiasm, I said to the governor, “How odd, for everyone knows that there are more Protestants than Catholics in Barlinnie”. “Don’t be so stupid”, he said, “that stands for rice crispies and porridge”. ‘