Wednesday, March 22, 2006

AUN! Thoughts: Selling Peerages

The understandable outrage over the Blair government selling titles for loans to the labour party has caused libertarians to over look one possible positive aspect of the scandal.

What if the new conservative government repealed blair’s “reform” of the House of Lords and began selling titles with the proceeds to go to the treasury. Pay a billion pounds become a Duke, 750 million and you’re a Marquess, 500 million and you’re an Earl, 250 million a Viscount, 100 million a Baron, 50 million a life peer.

This would have the advantages of simultaneously giving a legitimate outlet for rich people who wanted to enter politics and raise money for the state without raising taxes. If 50 titles were sold at an average price of 100 million pounds this would be enough to buy one of the Queen Elizabeth class Aircraft Carriers.

If there is no objection to the decline of the Royal Navy, the money thus raised could instead be put in a fund which would pay a certain amount to the state each year and thus allow a long term cut in taxes.

Some will say this plan would devalue the peerage, but the fact is that most peerages were rewards for services of one kind or another to the state. Many of those were political or military, but I am sure some were for financial contributions as well.

This topic also reminds me of a Churchill quote. He was commenting on the large number of former ministers of the crown that were receiving peerages. He said, “They can’t all have peerages, there ought to be at least some disappearages.”

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