I’m taking a ‘sabbatical’ from the Lords for a little while, so this is my arrivederci blog. There’s no such thing as a sabbatical from the House of Lords of course but there doesn’t seem to be any other type of official leave that quite suits my circumstances. Leave of Absence seems reserved for the sick or dying or those translated to grand office abroad like Lady Amos (UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs) or Baroness Ashton of Upholland (EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy). I no longer have a desire for Very Long Titles.
I’ve been a peer now for eight years and contributed to numerous bills and committees and done my best to move causes along behind the scenes when opportunities arose. It is very hard work to achieve small gains and we know from this blog, many folk would prefer we didn’t do it at all! But it’s almost impossible to combine a regular contribution to parliament with any other serious work or writing. After eight years I feel I need to recharge the batteries, get away from politics, forget the loopy arcane inefficiencies of the institution for a while and do something different. Lord Phillips of Sudbury famously announced his retirement after serving 10 years on the Lib Dem front bench but he couldn’t resist returning Frank Sinatra style when House of Lords reform came up. I know I shall want to return some time soon, perhaps for the next health bill (there’s always another on the way) or the long awaited social care reform bill. So I’m not ‘retiring’, and no doubt colleagues will still see me lurking about the library from time to time. And perhaps I’ll come in for the debates of the future of the House of Lords, voting for reform but with no expectation that change will happen. The current arrangements suit the Executive very well indeed.
I have enjoyed being a blogger on this site and grateful for the many hundreds of comments that we have attracted. I shall continue to read the blog avidly and undoubtedly I’ll be tempted to comment under a pseudonym. I expect to be back, probably before any of you notice I’m gone. Ci vediamo presto.