Arthur or Martha? July 2015.

Dear Rowley,

Just when you thought you’d seen it all the Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Sewel, is caught on film snorting naughty salt off a tart’s silicone air bags wearing an orange push-up bra and a black leather jacket Cher would think twice about. He didn’t consider this a resigning offence. I mean Christ on a bike how far does a politician have to go before he’s sufficiently shamed to resign? Slide greased lady boys of Taiwan down the bowling alley in the Palace of Westminster while high on crack and dressed as Magda Goebbels?

The depravity wasn’t so much shocking as woefully predictable. Let’s face it, in the canon of political scandal coke and hookers go together like Swan and Edgar. The arrogance Lord Sewel demonstrated in thinking he could continue in public office having been caught in flagrante dressed like a pre-op Caitlyn Jenner tribute act is quite simply mind blowing. In the PC world that successive generations of Labour politicians have enforced upon the nation the rest of us can’t even pinch a bottom without being slapped with a tribunal.

The British are – or were – nothing if not a nation who believe in fair play. The ‘one rule for them’ default setting amongst MPs has been proven over and over displaying a contempt for public opinion. Then again should we be surprised by another example of the toxic megalomania that seems to bloom like monk’s hood in the Palace of Westminster? I have a theory that political correctness, like prohibition in 1920s America, is a failed experiment. The behaviour of ‘do as I say not as I do’ MPs and Lords proves the point.

What would you do with the House of Lords darling? Personally I’d put the hereditary peers back in place but that’s as likely as me eloping to Vegas with James Middleton. The Lords is basically a jury of supposedly wise men and women who check and balance bills sent-up by the Commons. For the Lords to be elected by the Commons is like the Three Little Pigs employing the Big Bad Wolf as a locksmith.

Twelve is as good a number as any for a jury. Can’t we just elect them? Failing that I’d suggest deposed Prime and Deputy Prime Ministers make up the council of the Lords. This would at least prevent those in the political wilderness going insane or money grubbing on the open market. As is we have a grab bag of political cronies taking the ermine who in truth are more suited to be candidates for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here than public office.

What a world we live in Rowley. My latest bugbear is the transgender lobby. When anybody tries to box me into LGBT I bristle like Lady Bracknell. I’ve got more in common with the Inuit than I do the lesbians. Not that I have any axe to grind with transgendered peeps. On a flight to Las Vegas twenty years ago I had the great fortune to meet April Ashley.

April Ashley was a pioneer. She was photographed for Vogue by David Bailey before being outed by a tabloid as transgender in 1961. Now 80, April Ashley is an MBE living in Fulham and looks uncannily similar to Olivia de Havilland. When I met Miss Ashley she looked like Carmen dell Orefice.

April Ashley was dignified and disarmed people with her charm. Not so Caitlyn Jenner. You’ll recall Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner ‘came out’ a couple of months ago on the cover of Vanity Fair as Caitlyn. Annie Leibowitz shot pages and pages of Caitlyn wearing gowns by Gucci, Valentino et al having been given the full Hollywood treatment. She’s now got her own TV show (no pun intended) and is a constant on social media. The Kardashian connection has made Caitlyn the perfect poster girl for trans.

As you know I have deliberately avoided the Kardashians much in the same way I scrupulously avoided malaria on my last trip to Africa. It’s hard to ignore Caitlyn and god forbid you criticise. According to the PC lobby you’re not allowed to crack wise that Caitlyn looks like Taylor Swift’s glamorous granny. Whatever happened to camp banter otherwise known as shade?

Is it coincidental that Caitlyn came out in the same year that Best Actor Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne has made a film about Danish transgender artist Einer Wegener who changed her sex in the 1930s? If there’s a bandwagon to be leapt on, trust Hollywood to be first in line for the vaulting horse. Strike that, Eurovision is always the first. Was it last year the Greek bloke with a beard in a dress won the crown?

Gender politics are exhausting, don’t you find? If like I you have an inkling that reincarnation may be an answer for many questions it could explain why a man or woman think they are in the wrong body. The possibility that I was Prince Felix Youssoupoff in a past life might explain why I am drawn to sables, palaces and vodka and have a complete aversion to communism. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.

Whatever the rights or wrongs there’s definitely an a-gender Brenda. Meeting Miss Ashley all those years ago, I always thought people only make such radical decisions if there was no other choice to lead a happy life. Good luck says I. Oh and before I forget, do you like the painting at the top of my letter? It was sent to me by Rake photographer Luke Carby who said he’d noticed the smoking gent on the wall of the Beaumont hotel and it reminded him of me. Perhaps it was me…