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The House of Lords has 633 life peers, the Italian Senate has just 7 life senators

These being three former presidents who get it automatically, and four eminent Italians:

The Presidents: "Ex-Christian Democrat centrist turned populist Francesco Cossiga (78), ex-Christian Democrat conservative Oscar Luigi Scalfaro (88) and central banker turned politician Carlo Azeglio Ciampi (86)".

The four eminent Italians: "Former Christian Democrat heavyweights Emilio Colombo (86) and seven-time premier Giulio Andreotti (88), auto-styling legend Sergio Pininfarina (80) and Nobel Medicine Prize winner Rita Levi Montalcini (97)".

Assuming Thatcher and Major would be our political equivalents, anyone care to nominate the five most eminent Britons? Serious or facetious approaches are equally welcome.

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Anonymous nick drew said... 11:09 am

The Italian set-up sounds rather like the Knights of the Garter, qualification for which (aside from being of the Blood Royal or a former PM) seems to be "Being a Jolly Good Chap" (e.g. Robin Butler), though admittedly Baron Inge takes a bit of explaining under this principle.

We all know exactly who'd be militating for the facetious nomination: J Archer, and C Monckton (who's currently running one of his hilarious self-publicity campaigns for the Tory vacancy amongst the life-peers).  

Blogger Newmania said... 11:12 am

Norman Tebbit ? I have so admired the way he has coped with his own dificulties folowing the IRA`s attempted murder in addition to his political views.

It would be nice to yank Frank Field out of the Labour Party as well.This might make it worth it, he is hanging around to be a pain at the moment ( good )

Mmm not sure I`m very good at this . I have always wanted to see basil Brush on Question time he might add to the discussions especially on hunting.  

Anonymous hg said... 2:01 pm

Of the seven, Colombo, Cossiga and, to a lesser extent Scalfaro (who had a part in hornswoggling the first Berlusconi administration and substituting Dini) politically did their bit and said their part.

The other four are very fine: Carlo Azeglio Ciampi is distinguished in every possible way, as central banker, moral person and the destroyer of Fazio and the furbetti del quartierino. Mervyn King has precisely Ciampi's qualities.

Pininfarina has no English equivalent though admirers of English car design might disagree. That he is a senator for life is a celebration of cars, and their enjoyment in Italian life.

For scientific distinction, Levi Montalcini has some English peers though when joined with her personal qualities it's unsurprising that only earlier generations could provide equivalents - she is 97 and we aren't of the same stuff any more. Such regret that beautiful, clever ,brave, learned women are replaced in later generations by Patricia Hewitt, Tessa Jowell, and Baroness Scotland.

Giulio Andreotti is the wickedest, cleverest, most dangerous operator ever. Blair cannot hold a candle...perhaps when he's 88?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:09 pm

Hg - Thank you for the insight. It seems a tad inappropriate that Andreotti is a Roman rather than a Florentine...

I think the late Alec Issigonis might have been our equivalent of Signor Pininfarina.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 4:56 pm

Actually it seems inappropriate that Andreotti isn't Sicilian, given that is where most of his friends are politically, and that is where his power base lies.

He's been their man at the centre of Italian politics for a long, long time.  

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