Who am I?

When we started Lords of the Blog, I read that in order to be of interest to readers it was important to write about oneself.  I did a post providing a few facts about myself.   As this is a new blog, and I hope attracts new readers as well as regular readers of Lords of the Blog, I thought I would repeat the exercise.   Friends probably think I need no encouragement.  Here are ten brief snippets about me:

1. A workaholic with a sense of humour.

2. A total politics anorak.  No really, I do have a sense of humour.

3. A Methodist and teetotal with it.  Not particularly interested in the materialistic things in life.  Drinking tea, researching or teaching and I’m happy.

4.  A Conservative with a fundamental belief in human dignity and in people being allowed to decide for themselves how to lead their lives.  Government should provide the framework within which people can live – peacefully and free from assault or indignities by others – but not tell them how to live.

5. I’m acrophobic (fear of heights) – not to be confused with vertigo, which is diziness. 

6. Prefer trains to plane.  Hate flying (possibly a result of 5 above) – love travelling by train: get lots of work done.

7. I was at university with David Blunkett.

8.  I was appointed Professor of Government at the University of Hull in 1986 and elevated to the peerage – nominated by William Hague – in 1998.

9. I spend half of each week in Hull teaching about the British constitution and the other half in Westminster trying to save it. 

10. I was once voted ‘self-publicist of the year’ by a local freesheet.  I immediately issued a statement thanking all those who made it possible. 

That’s probably more than you needed to know…


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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14 Responses to Who am I?

  1. Len says:

    Bravo – I missed the early stages of LotB, so it feels quite a privilege to be here to see the start of something else quite unique!

    Also, I love number 9 – possibly influenced by last week’s wash-up?

    • Lord Norton says:

      Len: Many thanks. I tried to make it a little different to my early post on Lords of the Blog, but those from the early days will recognise much of it. For the fact that there are differences, see ladytizzy’s comment!

  2. ladytizzy says:

    11. You hate Marmite.
    Ah, those early comments…

    Life was so much easier back then.

    • Lord Norton says:

      ladytizzy: Well spotted. I could add more things to my list of dislikes, but it could take up rather too much space.

      Life gets more complicated as the pace of life quickens. Still, I’m consistent. I still hate Marmite.

  3. The Duke of Waltham says:

    I also like trains, but I’ve never flown. I’d really like to try it at least once in the coming years; whenever the effects of Peak Oil kick in, civil aviation will be one of the first things to go (or at least become inaccessible to most people).

    Note: rather interestingly, the software seems to convert the straight (“typewriter”) quotation marks of the comment box to curly (“typographical”) ones when the comment is saved. While it seems to do that well for double quotes, it may be interpreting single quotes as apostrophes. I am referring to ‘self-publicist of the year’, which drew my attention to this; since I cannot preview, I’ll have to save my comment to see if it’s a general problem or a one-time thing.

    • The Duke of Waltham says:

      I see it may be a general problem, after all.

    • Lord Norton says:

      The Duke of Waltham: I don’t like flying, but I necessarily have to do it. It’s difficult to get to places like Brazil, Hong Kong, Mexico and North America without flying. For me, the good news is that nowadays one can more or less go anyway on the European continent by train. When I have had academic engagements in Poland and Switzerland, for example, I have gone by train. The services are generally good as well as convenient. Travelling from London to Bern, I only had to change once. Travelling from London to Krakow, I only had to change twice.

      I tend to make a virtue of necessity. The train is more environmentally friendly than a plane. I greatly disapprove of people who use private jets when they could go just as easily by commercial flights.

      I see what you mean about quotation marks.

      • The Duke of Waltham says:

        I couldn’t agree more about the private jets, My Lord. Apart from the convenience they might occasionally afford their owners, it seems to me that their principal role so far has been as status symbols, in the same way that some people buy 4×4 vehicles to parade around town (and take up valuable parking space) but never actually drive off road. One hopes that such habits are on their way out, now that being green—or at least looking the part—is becoming the fashion.

  4. Carl.H says:

    “I was once voted ’self-publicist of the year’ ”

    If you can`t believe in yourself then who can, nothing wrong with self promotion.

    I didn`t read the original on LoTB but most of the list come through in your posts anyway, aside from Marmite. Yuck !

    Do you feel that the British Constitution as it was is now beyond redemption ?

    The talk of reforms etc., most of which may come about because of media hype, seem likely to ruin the present system. Do you feel the “Upper House” no longer holds enough power to justify itself ?

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: That was in the days when I had the time to engage in a bit of self-publicity. A former colleague, Phil Cowley, variously points out that he knows how to promote himself largely because he was well taught.

      The British constitution is not beyond redemption and I believe in fighting for it. That applies to the House of Lords. There is a powerful case for retaining the present House. If one doesn’t put the case, then it goes by default. Some peers have adopted a somewhat fatalist approach, but far more take the view that the House should, and can, justify itself. We are active in outreach and in disseminating material about the work of the House. We produce material for which the Commons does not produce anything like it. One possible explanation is that MPs, being elected, tend to take their legitimacy for granted, whereas we recognise we have to work to justify ours.

  5. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    I do love trains. I think that this is really important for lots of reasons. Perhaps if I ever met you in person that would be the place we would have the best chance of getting on. I would like to think that it might bridge some other differences…

    I am sure you get on very well with most people. I am quite sure (that despite some countervailing truths) that I am not always known as being readily gotten on well with. It sounds presumptuous to some reading no doubt but our correspondence is one of the larger surprises of my life…

  6. Lord Norton says:

    franksummers3ba: I like to think that I get on with most people, which may me because most people are easy to get on with. It is fairly easy on this blog in that it appears to attract some very able and pleasant contributors.

    • The Duke of Waltham says:

      Perhaps it is that the unable and unpleasant among us tend to find the House of Lords too boring to concern themselves with, My Lord.

  7. Catherine says:

    As someone currently stuck in Madrid, with little information or clear plans from anyone as how I´m going to get home, I´m starting to hate flying too…

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