The Guardian reports that Lord Strathclyde, the Conservative leader in the Lords, is threatening to balk Labour attempts to push new legislation through before a General Election. Apparently, he feels that, without the consent of Tory peers, nothing can be passed. It seems that, amongst his many skills, arithmetic isn't to be found.
Firstly, he presumes that he can get his side to turn up and vote. The evidence of divisions since the summer recess is that he can't, especially after the dinner hour. Vote after vote that might have been won has been lost because Tories would rather be in a cosy armchair than doing their job, with at least one instance of a Conservative amendment lost in spite of Liberal Democrat support because they managed to turn out less than thirty to vote in support.
Second. and most importantly, assuming that the crossbenchers will not coalesce around one position - they are independents, after all - the House of Lords is in no overall control, with roughly equal numbers of Labour and Conservative peers and the rather more motivated, better organised and frankly more cohesive Liberal Democrats holding the balance of power. Our team vote in numbers, punch well above their weight, and are far more likely to hold this shambolic Government to account.
So, if Tom Strathclyde is reading this, he might like to remember that those pieces of legislation that address Liberal Democrat concerns in an appropriate and effective manner actually have a majority in the Lords, with or without the tattered remnants of the Conservative benches.
And, if David Cameron can find someone on his benches that can count, perhaps a new Leader might be worth consideration...