What is the collective noun for peers?


If you didn’t drop into LDV over the weekend you will have missed Caron’s marathon effort in reporting on all the speeches made by Lib Dem Lords last week on the Bill on Article 50.  There were 32 of them, amounting to over 30,000 words.

You can find all the speeches listed here.

It was an excellent reminder of what an important job our peers are doing and how important the second chamber is. In the Lords the decisions in the House of Commons are subjected to in-depth scrutiny and challenge, and we don’t hear enough about the impact this has on virtually every Bill that goes through Parliament.

Of course, we want the House of Lords to be reformed, but we can’t allow it to stagnate while we wait for another opportunity to bring in a directly elected second chamber. We have an excellent cohort of active peers, who between them have immense experience in politics, business, social action, law, academia and diplomacy.

As Caron wrote: “Our Lords excelled themselves. Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging and it’s right that we present them in full on this site to help the historian of the future.” 

I’ve been looking up the collective noun for peers and there doesn’t appear to be one. I have spotted a “constipation of Lords” but that doesn’t seem very polite. And this page suggests a ” thought of Barons”. Any other suggestions?

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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  • A snore.

  • Bill le Breton 27th Feb '17 - 9:44am

    30,000 words when Sallus used 8: Quae quo usque tandem patiemini, o fortissimi viri?

  • An anachronism.

  • Antony Watts 27th Feb '17 - 11:19am

    I have to confess, though I am a LIbDem member I have my doubts about a simple elected Lords.

    What we do need to do is make it a real job. Anyone joining the Lords should be given and accept responsibility for a specific aspect of current policy and future strategy, especially EU coordination. No acceptance of a job, means no membership. It is not a reward, it is a calling to bigger things.

  • I don’t think there is much of an appetite for more elections, which would just create a clone of the first chamber. As far as interim reform goes, I would go for an augmented PR allocation of peers. Each party has a pool of peers which they can call upon to serve. The numbers would be allocated in proportion to the General Election result. This may be augmented with Bishops or other interest groups, regional reps etc. Of course if we managed to achieve PR in the commons this may have to be adjusted. This may provide for checks and balances against the excesses of the FPTP Commons system.

  • @P.J. Each party has a pool of peers which they can call upon to serve.

    No we don’t want political parties to become even more entrenched than they already are. If anything it is in the interests of democracy to reduce the strength and influence of political parties…

  • Is it fair that 32 Lib Dems spoke, compared to (I think) two from UKIP, one Green and none from the SNP?

  • Matt (Bristol) 27th Feb '17 - 1:27pm

    A strand; a bay; a beach.


  • David Evershed 27th Feb '17 - 1:29pm

    The collective noun for a group of peers is a superfluity.

  • E. Bourne The SNP decided not to have any peers.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Feb '17 - 2:08pm


    These speeches were all well and good, but endless pleadings for EU citizens and not one LDV article or comment other than from the excellent Eddie Sammon on people being deported by the Home Office who , unlike most of the recent EU workers, are married to British citizens !

    This EU obsession would be fine if part of a wider narrative lacking.

    Not one mention , other than by me, in years , and none in parliament , of Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, a Liberal in prison for a blog.

    There is more to the fight for Liberalism than that which is in the EU or Trumpland !

  • Gwyn Williams 27th Feb '17 - 2:11pm

    A company of one’s peers.

    Alternatively, based on the 12 Days of Christmas, a “leap” or “leaping” of lords and a “dance” or “dancing” of ladies.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Feb '17 - 2:12pm

    P.S. The collective noun for a group of peers , is apeering to be overly interested in matters at the expense of some that matter even more

  • Sue Sutherland 27th Feb '17 - 2:23pm

    Thank you Lorenzo for making me snort with laughter, even though I don’t totally agree with you.

  • George Biscuit Thief 27th Feb '17 - 2:57pm

    I would favour a PR second chamber with FPTP/AV commons as I agree with P.J. that a clone of the commons would be pointless. Hozever a system similar to the German system could be used, where the second chamber is constituted of deputies/MPs of the regions if a federal system were instigated.

  • How about a “galumfarium”.
    I’m hoping someone can explain what this might mean.

  • David Evershed 27th Feb '17 - 3:26pm

    Re Galumfarium

    Galum is latin for chicken or cock (in the accusative case I think)

    In Star Wars, farium is a Grade 8 Scavenged Metal crafting material.

  • Matt (Bristol) 27th Feb '17 - 4:35pm

    a selection

  • Lorenzo, we are in the hands of our contributors. So if you, or anyone else, thinks something is missing, please write it.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Feb '17 - 11:03pm

    You are correct , thanks. The thing is until Eddie raised this matter I knew very little of the extent of it.

    I actually am surprised at our leadership and other opposition not getting this on their top list of things to do in media etc, as this goes to the very core of the ludicrous inhumanity today .

    Tim , and Willie in Scotland , as that is where the poor victim of our draconian authorities was subjected to the appalling treatment, should be out there demonstrating in London and Edinburgh !

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 28th Feb '17 - 7:03am

    Lorenzo, You are right to mention Raif Badawi, who is in prison in Saudi Arabia just for writing a blog. There was considerable publicity a couple of years ago, but unfortunately, recently, the world seems to have forgotten about him. It is likely that many do not realise that he is still in prison, and still under sentence of public flogging. You are right in saying that this is the sort of issue we should be campaigning on.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 28th Feb '17 - 7:52am

    E Bourne, You mention that only “one Green” peer spoke in the Article 50 debate. In fact the Greens only have one peer, Jenny Jones. It is interesting to note that Jenny Jones was chosen as the Greens’ representative in the House of Lords by a vote of all Green Party members. I wonder if the Lib Dems could consider choosing peers in this way? It would be a step towards making things a bit more democratic, although of course our aim should be a second chamber that is democratically elected by the whole electorate.

  • Bill le Breton 28th Feb '17 - 8:21am

    Interesting to read the various contributions to the ‘single market amendment’ in the Lord’s yesterday. Just a pity that those arguing passionately for this amendment were exactly those who argued just as vigorously that the EEA non EU option was not viable.

    In short, they spent the first part of 2016 shooting the very fox they now want to be alive and well.

  • @ Catherine Jane Crosland…..

    “chosen as the Greens’ representative in the House of Lords by a vote of all Green Party members. I wonder if the Lib Dems could consider choosing peers in this way? It would be a step towards making things a bit more democratic,”

    I’ve no doubt somebody will correct me if I am wrong….. but I seem to remember Tony Greaves went through some sort of similar process back in 2000 before his Ascension Day.

    Does anybody remember ?

  • I’m going with a fruit based collective noun. I’m rather taken with the idea of a kumquat of peers.

  • David Raw – there are people more qualified than me to write about the bureaucratic intricacies of the party, but yes, the Lib Dems did used to have a list of people voted by Conference from whom future peers were supposed to be nominated by the party leader, and Tony Greaves was one of the very few beneficiaries of this process, which needless to say was greatly disliked by our successive leaders and the party establishment and quietly buried. I would have hoped that Tim might be minded to revive the system – not that we are likely to be entitled to any new peers for some time.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Feb '17 - 10:07am


    You are correct to say what you do in reply to my comments on Raif Badawi. As far as I am aware , the only articles or speeches about of him on here or in parliament from our folks, was by the superb . late and lamented Eric Lubbock , Lord Avebery.

    I mention Raif Badawi regularly on sites , to alert people to his plight , and I contribute articles and even cartoons sometimes to an excellent site , the Ustinov Forum, which I am a member of, and have written an article on there, recently, you can check out the site and my contributions , would benefit from your perusal, the site and Forum, as your comments there , as here would be invaluable !

  • I like the idea of working peers – who have a responsibility for an area of policy and legislation. This could tie up with my more radical suggestion that they should emerge from non-geographical constituencies, such as unions, professions, housing associations, artists etc as well as from political groups. The Lords often have expertise from their earlier lives; they have often had ‘proper jobs’. Let this be more apparent!

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 28th Feb '17 - 2:36pm

    Lorenzo, I read your article about Raif Badawi on the Ustinov Forum, and found it very moving. It would be great if, perhaps, you could write a similar article for Lib Dem Voice.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Feb '17 - 11:22pm


    That’s very sweet of you , thanks. If you go on to the site and scroll or click and also access by the section in the home page that is Nominees, the name they use for members, would be keen for you to see my other articles . It is a site and forum I can recommend, dedicated to the legacy of Sir Peter Ustinov ‘s work as a humanitarian , and he was a Liberal all votes he cast in elections !

    You are a terrific asset to our party . Would like further debate on nuclear weapons pre conference , as unfortunately I shall not be able to attend it.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 1st Mar '17 - 4:13pm

    Lorenzo, Thank you 🙂 I also enjoyed your article on the Ustinov Forum “Spartacus Lives”, and the articles about Trump. I liked the cartoon too!
    Further debate about nuclear weapons would be good. Actually I am hoping to write an article on the subject for Lib Dem Voice soon.

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