Lording It

UFOs in the House of Lords, 1979. Abridged edition, Stationary Office, Uncovered Editions, 2000.

Uncovered Editions are a set of reprints of 'juicy stories' culled from official papers, and this one reproduces one of the more notorious debates in the old House of Lords. This was the debate on flying saucers in January 1979, introduced by the Earl of Clancarty, better known to ufologists as Brinsley Le Poer Trench. Trench had once been the editor of Flying Saucer Review until his totally uncritical promotion of such characters as T. Lobsang Rampa (alias Cecil Hoskins) got up the nose of even the generally credulous proprietor Waveney Girvan.

Trench later founded an organisation called the International Sky Scouts to promote friendship with the space brothers and in the I970s wrote a book in defence of the hollow earth hypothesis, The somewhat high minded humanitarian concerns and 'all men are brothers' philosophy of the lSS (later Contact UK) sat rather curiously with Trench's other main concern in the House of Lords: his support for the racist Smith regime in Rhodesia.

Trench, a former market gardener, sat in the parliament of the United Kingdom because some distant relative who was an Irish peer (some of whom sat in the House of Lords because of a deal to get the Anglo-Irish treaty through the Conservative party in the 1920s) had popped his clogs without leaving any kids behind to inherit. In short a walking advertisement for abolishing the House of Lords.

Even at the time the debate was noted for its poor quality, and now seems like something out of a past age. Of course, most members who spoke were about ninety at the time and were the representative of a past age. The result was a bunch of old windbags rabbiting about something, which for the most part, they knew next to nothing about. Sadly it must be said that the Life Peers, superannuated political hacks and representatives of the 'great and the good' who spoke were just as 'out of it' as the hereditaries

As account of the debate this edition is not as good as John Michell's published at the time, because it provides no real background, or even a guide as to who actually the speakers were. -- Peter Rogerson

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