Lord President of the Council, Lord Mandelson will block Jack Straw's plans for a wholly elected upper chamber. Parliamentary reformers cannot fathom why the Lord, who has a seat in the chamber, opposes a policy that most consider to be a vote-winner.
The Prime Minister's stance is also unclear. One fifth of his cabinet sit in the Lords - more peers than there are women. And it is accepted that his government would not have survived the last year without them. Like Brown though they have little to say on the matter, although most have been making unambiguous statements about turkeys and their acknowledged reluctance to vote for Christmas.
Jack Straw has had to qualify what he said earlier this month:-
A couple of weeks ago I said: "We promised reform fifteen years ago, and this time we mean it, as we do all our promises."
I would like to modify this: "We promised reform fifteen years ago, and this time we mean it, as we did fifteen years ago."