Goodbye vellum, hello archive paper.

The House of Lords, in its wisdom, has finally decided to bring into effect some legislation it passed in 1999, but which was blocked by the proles in the Commons. The use of vellum for the recording of parliamentary Acts is to be stopped, and archive paper will be used instead.

Earth shaking stuff eh? In case you’re not up to speed, vellum is parchment made from animal skins, in particular the skin of calves. In Old French, calfskin was called velin, from the Latin vitulinum. Glad we got that sorted out.

Anyway, the nobs in the Upper House have decided to give paper a go, which will no doubt please the wingnuts at PETA, who’ll probably declare this move as a triumph for some obscure lobbying campaign of theirs. The change should save some £80,000 a year. This will certainly help Gorgeous George to fill the £3bn hole in his spending plans. Eighty gees. Hot damn. Fat city.

Of course, some bloody stick-in-the-mud is raising a stink, and just as predictably it’s one of the Toffs, in this case James Gray MP, who is the Toff member for North Wiltshire. He has ‘blasted’ this proposal, which he calls ‘retrograde.’ Funny that Toffs can’t object to things, but always ‘blast’ them. According to the tabloids, anyway.

I’m not sure how he thinks this is a retrograde thing to do. Why is it retrograde to cease doing something that dates back to at least 1497, which is when the oldest legislative document in Parliament was written?

Anyway, Jimbo is blustering away and has, in all seriousness, suggested the matter needs to be debated by MPs. Sod what’s happening in Syria/Iraq, sod Odious Duncan Smith screwing benefits recipients, sod Rhyming Slang Hunt screwing the doctors, ignore that mad bugger in Moscow, forget the mad bastards running for power in the US, forget that North Korean with the stupid hair, bad attitude, and an (allegedly) tiny willy, there are more important things to be discussed. Such as using animal skins to make records of Acts of Parliament.

John Bercow, the Speaker, isn’t keen on this coming before the House, though has conceded a backbench-initiated debate might take place. But there’s not much point, since there is no entitlement for the Commons to supersede the will of the Lords. This may all change when CallMeDave wields his chopper at the powers of the Lords, but right now the swivel-eyed Mr Gray is shovelling water uphill without webbed hands.