YOU reported that I had launched a petition on the 10 Downing Street website calling for Joanna Lumley to be given a peerage (Harrow Observer, May 21).
Alas, this was not entirely true. I did submit such a petition, but the No 10 apparatchiks rejected it. They said I had the right to appeal, but despite writing (on May 14), I have not had the courtesy of a reply.
Their grounds for rejection was that the granting of a peerage was not in the power of the Prime Minister which, while technically true, is being used in this case as an excuse, and not a very convincing one.
In theory, peerages are bestowed by the allegedly independent Lords Appointments Commission, but everybody knows that names put forward by the Prime Minister are fast-tracked into the House of Lords with only cursory consideration, if any.
Such a case was the promotion of Peter Mandelson to the peerage in 2007, when Tony Blair decided he wanted his old croney in the Cabinet without the nuisance, and possible humiliation, of going through a democratic election.
We now have someone holding a powerful, and very lucrative, Government post, with no democratic mandate and who is totally unaccountable to the citizens of the UK, who nevertheless have no option but to pay his salary, expenses and for other perks.
The Mandelson affair is just one example of the corruption and contempt for democracy that are the hallmarks of this rotten Government, and which makes it absolutely vital that people of integrity and idealism, such as Joanna Lumley, are brought into the political system to help balance the cynicism of most of the present incumbents. This is not a party point; the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats play the same game.
I haven't given up, and will let you know if I am successful, in which case I hope fellow Harrovians will support the petition.
CHARLIE HARRIS Woodlands North Harrow