Sensible young people

I recently mentored a debating team from the Robert Clack School in Dagenham.  They were one of four teams taking part in a debate in the chamber of the Lords last Friday on the issue of Lords reform.  Each team advocated a particular approach to reform: all-appointed, hybrid, abolition, and all elected.   Not surprisingly, the team I mentored was advocating the all-appointed option. 

They were an impressive group.  Just how impressive was shown in the results of the debate:

Fully appointed: 81   Hybrid: 48   Abolition: 26   Fully elected: 8

I like to think the results show what happens when the different options are fully explained and debated.


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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3 Responses to Sensible young people

  1. Carl.H says:

    “I like to think the results show what happens when the different options are fully explained and debated.”

    But….This was to young members of the public not the closed minds of the commons to whom the House is merely a hindrance to their dictatorial views.

    Well done Robert Clack Pupils, I`m sure Sir Paul is suitably proud as is Lord Norton if you hadn`t noticed !

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: I find that when I visit schools, the pupils have a better understanding – and appreciation – of the role of the House of Lords than do some MPs (and journalists). The pupils from the Robert Clack school were excellent.

  2. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    It is almost midnight of Christmas Day my time. The video has come out on the UK Parliament channel on YouTube showing the debates. I am not sure the students who voted for the all appointed option really did. I think you had two groups shose interest do not really coallesce in an FPTP approach, There seemed to me to be students in this plurality who want all peers seated by the appointment committee and another set who would like some of the seats to remain in the hereditaries and bishops.

    I do not think those favoring the status quo felt the hybrid segment really was their segment. Nor those favoring procedural improvements to the status quo. This of course does not mean it is a false laboratory because the same complexities and confusions exist in any analysis of your real debate currently. For me there are no easy answers. However, I think of the French Estates General and am sure that its complexity alone would be a formidable obstacle to its emergence today. Modernity likes the simple question and answer even if it cannot be made real. Bourbon monarchs in the late period prior to French Revolution were many things but not absolute. But they had accepted the modern need for simplistic statements. The Soviet Union was not at all a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” but it had to frame its structure in those terms. Aristotle, Montesquieu, Castiglione, Burke, the psudonymous authors of the Federalist Papers belong to another tradition. I have not read enough of your work to know exactly how much you are in that tradition though you clearly are at least in part from what I have read. In Aboriginal American cultures of divers place and types debate often ended when the ranking chief stated “That is all I have to say about that”. They really believed that the frames of the question had all been put forward before the council. Voting and policy would emerge from the unique context in which all present facts and relevant traditions had placed them. Of course most of these old realms lost wars with more modern polities but still there is something to their approach.

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