A new award

I’m toying with the idea of introducing an annual award for the minister who legislates the least and a wooden spoon award for the minister who legislates the most.

We need to get away from the mentality that the sign of ministerial virility is getting a ‘big Bill’ through Parliament.  Contributing to the problem is the turnover in ministers.  A new minister comes in, gets a Bill through Parliament – and political success is measured in terms of enacting a measure rather than its consequences – and then moves on, to be followed by another minister who introduces a new Bill, and so on.  David Cameron could contribute to less legislation by keeping ministers in place for longer and making it clear that Royal Assent is a means to an end and not a end in itself.

What we need is good legislation, not lots of rushed legislation.  As I said in debate in the Queen’s Speech, it is better to be right than rushed.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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7 Responses to A new award

  1. Carl.H says:

    I don`t think it should just be based on quantity either, quality comes into question based on the last Governments efforts. Frankly some of the bills were quite a DEBacle.

    The Policing and Crime Bill did not deal with Prostitution and brothels so as to leave it very much in a grey area where it is illegal but unwritten rules are applied.

    The DEB did little, there are vast areas where everything is as clear as mud and no one can understand what will happen, most is left for regulation and some of that maybe found against EU regulation.

    The Reform bill, well that was laughable…too little too VERY late.

    There were many more too, let`s face it if Parliament was a Company it would have to be called ” Bodgit and Scarper very Limited”.

    There are some very long standing issues that need sorting out asap, such as reform of Parliament & prostitution, not that I`m putting the two together, so how about we get them right. Give them the detailed scrutiny they need and do something rather than attempt to put a plaster on an amputated limb.

    And in the Reform for heaven`s sake do something about that abhorrent practice called wash-up.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: I think your comments chime with my argument for evidence-based policy.

      On the wash-up, I have suggested that this should be the first subject to be examined by the Constitution Committee in this Parliament, with a view essentially to getting rid of it.

  2. Carl.H says:

    O/T I`m afraid.

    Can the Government hold off on the emergency budget until after the World Cup ?

    If they cannot it maybe difficult to discern depression because of Englands performances and the promised cuts.

    Fortunately their is no England game on the 22nd, however we do play Slovenia on the 23rd. Any major tax hikes etc., may affect the performance of our players 😉

  3. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    I once wrote a farewell with an acrostic verse on LOTB saying I would be posting less duering the ensuing term. I did not say it was because it was the term of an election but that was the reason. Now, I am signing off here though I may check in from time to time to read both your blogs I will be off comments for the foreseeble near future. It has certainly been an interesting experience and an enlightening one as well being part of your milieu. The chocolates were indeed excellent and so you need not fear(not likely) me showing up with a torch and pitchfork at Westminster after all. Good luck to you over the next five years if our e-paths do not cross. I hope you neverlose your interst in enhancing the great tradition of governance as your people have known and practiced it.

  4. Lord Norton says:

    franksummers3ba: Many thanks.

    I’m sure I won’t lose interest in enhancing the quality of governance or strengthening the capacity of Parliament to hold government to account. There’s plenty to keep me busy – and blogging.

  5. Liam says:

    Lord Norton: have you thought of using a Web site as the vehicle for this competition?

    If the data were automatically imported it would then be relatively simple (and a lot of fun) to plot the results on a graph of sorts: pictures of the ministers disembodied heads start in the centre of a horizontal line[1]. On the left is a crown or cup[2] and on the right a wooden spoon.

    As one — or several — ministers table Bills they start to race toward the wooden spoon, in turn pushing their comrades toward The Norton Cup.

    I haven’t thought the maths through at all, there would need to be consideration of time and some procedure will be needed to cover the eventuality of a draw occurring. Hopefully the idea makes sense though.

    What do you think, Lord Norton, did you have many ideas on how you’d like to implement the competition?

    [1] Or several horizontal lines, equidistantly spaced vertically, one for each minister.

    [2] The Norton Cup!

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