When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Ironic twists in a wooly tale
IT IS ironic that the Campaign for Wool coralled a small flock of Cotswold sheep in a central London courtyard on Wednesday just as a row began brewing over the future of the two large Woolsack seats that have occupied the House of Lords for centuries.
In using livestock to help transform the west wing of Somerset House into Wool House, the campaigners hope to highlight what a wonderfully natural and versatile product sheep's wool is.
On the same day, in a sense of timing that could not have been more out of step with that cause, House of Lords officials revealed they were considering removing the Speaker’s and Judges' Woolsacks from the chamber because it was becoming overcrowded.
It seems, in another ironic twist to this woolly tale, that their lordships are being daily crammed into the chamber like . . . erm . . . sheep in a pen.
Why this is a problem, I’ve no idea.
The similarities between lords and Ovis Aries should be obvious to even the most casual of observers.
They all lounge about sedately, unless spooked by an unwelcome predator such as a barking dog or, perhaps, a ranting MP.
As a result of their general malaise, both sheep and peers tend to be on the portly side.
The former because the farmer fattens them for meat; the latter because they indulge in too many heavily subsidised meals in the Lords restaurants.
Sheep are also very selective in their grazing habits, which shows up another attribute involving that great signifier of English aristocracy - the upper lip.
While this aspect of a lord’s physiognomy is habitually stiff, with sheep it is actually split to they are able to pick preferred leaves off a plant.
Also, peers and sheep both appear to be quite defenceless - but you can push them only up to a point.
Dare to take those Woolsacks away and you’ll see precisely what I mean.