Can I become a Scottish laird for £30?

Jeez, uncle C, did little Ed forget to label this a Straight Dope classic?
Your 6 figure Barony may get you land and a title, but you don’t get so sit in the house of lords unless so elected by your peers. On presumes they your example, Baron Shoreditch, being such a laughable appellation, doesn’t stand a chance in hell of being elected to the upper house. So did you write this before 1999, are you forever stuck in an age when the sun never sets on the British Empire, or were you surreptitiously splicing the mainbrace whilst composing your column?

Did you forget about life peers? There may be only 90 or 92 (depending on how you count them) hereditary peers which need election, but don’t forget the vast majority of them are not hereditary peers.

I think you’re reading too much into the word “get to sit”, which was probably an editorial change at some point. Along the lines of how I heard someone say recently to an IT contractor at work who just received their citizenship, “hey, now you get to be President.” I’ll mention this to Ed to see if the wording needs clarity, however.

Edited: link to the column - http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3003/can-i-become-a-scottish-laird-for-30

To Whom it May Concern:

I have been informed by one Cecil Adams, Esq that I may henceforth be known by all as the Emperor of the Sun. Please address me as such in all future correspondence.

Your faithful servant,

The Emperor of the Sun

On other matters, I seem to recall Cecil discussing one square inch land acquisitions arranged via transactions with advertisers in comic books and breakfast cereal companies. But I can’t seem to locate the column. Regardless, the internet tells me that those possessing certificates from Quaker Oats’ mid 1950s promotion, do not in fact own a square inch of land in the Yukon, astonishingly enough.

Do these “moronic” Iowan Republicans actually think Nobel Prize = title of nobility?

The baronies in question are not peerages and have never entitled the holder to sit in the House of Lords. Which means that whoever holds one now cannot be elected to the Lords as one of the 92 hereditaries.

(Unless, that is, they happen also to hold an hereditary peerage as a separate title. Which is, of course, hardly likely to the case with a vulgar arriviste who has acquired their feudal barony by handing over lots of dosh.)

Baron Wei of Shoreditch is a life peer and so sits in the House of Lords as such. Election didn’t come into it.

there was discussion here

no reference to any column was made

Now wait a minute here - I see what you’re talking about. You’re being confused by this portion of column:

Life peers do get to sit in the House of Lords. You’re confusing the early part of the column with the latter part, which talks of Life Peers. Cecil never said people who purchased the Barony got to sit in the House of Lords.

Splicing the mainbrace indeed.

A propos the penultimate paragraph of Cecil’s answer, allow me to point out that one of those peers awarded to people of special virtue (however Cecil phrased it) is the Baron of Crossharbour, aka Conrad Black, is soon to reenter a Florida prison to serve the rest of his term for obstruction of justice. Some special virtue.

What he was originally accused of doing was going public with his publishing company but continuing to treat it as his private fief, spending, for example, an enormous amount of money on his wife (but the case was never fought because he apparently destroyed all the evidence). He is Canadian born but Canada took away his citizenship, it being against the law to accept a foreign peerage. So when he gets out of the clink, he will be deported to the UK and will have to ask for a special dispensation to return to his home in Toronto. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

They’ll probably allow him back because the government is run by right wingers who just love these business types.

Canada didn’t deprive Black of his citizenship, he renounced it in a huff. And I doubt that there’s any Canadian law against one of its citizens accepting a British peerage.

[del]Barons are not peers, earls are peers. Get it right.[/del] Wikipedia says barons are part of the peerage. Still, I didn’t think barons sat in the House of Lords as a rule. Guess I was wrong.

The peerage of Scotland didn’t include barons, so you’re partially right. The title equivalent to an English barony was a Lordship of Parliament.

If I bought my way into any title it would have to be "Kentucky Colonel".

Those so named by the Governor of Kentucky (after being nominated by any existing Colonel) probably enjoy lifetime discounts on fried chicken all throughout the South, and they get to wear a stylish white plantation suit and carry a cane. Or was that just one of them?

Barons are peers; baronets are not peers. (Baronets are just like knights, except that they’re hereditary.)[ol]
[li]Baron; Baroness[/li][li]Viscount; Viscountess[/li][li]Earl (Count); Countess[/li][li]Marquess (Marquis); Marchioness[/li][li]Duke; Duchess[/li][/ol]

  • “Count” is the English word for a foreign earl.
    ** “Marquis” with a “-kwis” is the English word for a foreign marquess. “Marquis” with a “-kee” is the French word. “Marquise” is the French word for “marchioness”.
    *** “Dutchess” is the name of a county in New York, and of an album by Fergie.

For those in the market for a dash of nobility, may I recommend the Principality of Sealand? You can purchase virtually any title there at very modest prices.
Last thing I heard is you can even buy the entire “country” as the current monarch is seeking retirement.

I’m gonna start easy and be Bachelor of the Universe for a while.

Surely somewhere in Scottish or British law or custom is some rule on the legally smallest plot of land that can be considered a fief. Maybe at some point a judge ruled that an inheritence of land couldn’t be subdivided between the heirs any further?

Sod making the world a better place, a large bung to one of the heavily indebted political parties will usually do the trick.

Hey Cecil, I don’t think you were condescending enough in your column answer. Maybe if you just went ahead and called the guy a retarded hillbilly patriot you will have gotten your point across.

Or maybe you can just not be an ass.

If you end up becoming a Scottish Lord then I am Mickey Mouse!

Totally unfounded. **Cecil **gave him every benefit of the doubt: