In danger of becoming a Guardian reader?

I occasionally get cited in the press, more often than not in The Times or The Daily Telegraph.  On odd occasions, I get a mention (not necessarily helpful, as the recent example of Quentin Letts shows) in other newspapers.  However, references to me have suddenly become a feature of The Guardian.  As covered in a recent post, there was a complimentary reference in an article by Martin Kettle to my chapter in Britain at the Polls 2010.    Last week, I was mentioned in succeeding issues.  On Thursday, the ‘paper covered publication of the Constitution Committee’s report on the Fixed-term Parliaments  Bill.  To demonstrate the calibre of the committee it named some of the members:

“The group includes constitutional expert Lord Norton; former cabinet minister Lord Crickhowell; Lord Renton; Lord Powell, adviser to Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street; former Lib Dem leader in the Lords, Lord Rodgers; and the former lord chancellor Lord Irvine.”

Then on Friday it covered the appearance of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, before the Constitution Committee, when he had criticised the use of Henry VIII powers, not least in the context of Schedule 7 of the Public Bodies Bill.  It went on:

“Lord Norton, a leading constitutional expert and Tory peer, acknowledged yesterday that Judge’s criticisms make the government’s plans unsustainable.”

Having been elevated from constitutional expert to a leading constitutional expert within the course of 24 hours, I am now wondering if I should read the ‘paper regularly to see what I have become as and when there is another reference to me….

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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15 Responses to In danger of becoming a Guardian reader?

  1. Carl.H says:

    When you get to King I suggest you stop, anything beyond that generally involves death, becoming a ethereal divine character…where there is no tea !

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: Well, I’m already a lord…
      If there’s no tea then it’s not heaven.

      • Carl.H says:

        I hope Vince has a cup or tea available, I don`t think you`ll be the leading Coalition politician in the news the next couple of days.

        If they sack him, the coalition is finished.

      • Carl.H says:

        Oh come on, the man cannot stay in that position after that. This is purely and utterly to save the coalition, it will not please Tories or Labour.

        Fingernails, David just fingernails. It won`t last unless you have some integrity. This Government were going to supposedly turn politics around to put back the honesty and integrity, they`ve made it worse. My Lord the Cross Benches beckon.

      • Lord Norton says:

        Carl.H: Are you having an argument with yourself?

      • Carl.H says:

        Not arguing, but it is one of those situations where you feel two opposing views.

        On the one hand everyone has a personal opinion and is entitled to it and you are going to bring that opinion to any job you do. Even judges are not completely neutral. It`s not the fact Vince had the opinion, just he voiced it to all intents to complete strangers. Was he bragging, trying to impress what sounded like young ladies ?

        On the other hand, he`s now been put in a position like a child where someone decides with which we can trust him or not. This is not right. Either back him or sack him.

        It is again trial by media and leaders are often too quick to jump in my opinion. His position now is untennable not due to the press but the leadership. He`s a man and by all accounts it sounds as though he was trying to impress a young lady, what`s new ?

        Find me a Tory or Lib-Dem that is completely and utterly neutral where Murdoch is concerned. And at the end of the day it`ll all end up in front of a Judge anyway as Murdoch will make sure of that

  2. Croft says:

    “However, references to me have suddenly become a feature of The Guardian.”

    I wonder if your being a ‘leading constitutional expert and Tory peer‘ criticising the government has anything to do with the Guardian’s interest 😉

    PS – I’m wondering if I’ve found a solution to the budget deficit! I’ve not been delayed once by the snow/ice or mechanical problems but I have spent several hours pushing drivers, often in sports cars with low profile tires, with no sacking/shovels back onto the road/out of the way. Judging by the press if everyone similarly unequipped were fined we’d be sorted! 🙂

    • Lord Norton says:

      Croft: I am sure if I express a view they disagree with, I shall be a ‘right-wing Tory peer’.

      It is similar with the House – if there is a vote the media disagree with, we are out of date and should be reformed; if they agree with us, we are bastions of common sense and protector of liberty. If a committee issues a report that finds favour, it can normally expect to be called ‘influential’.

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: On your postscript, if taken up then – as will be apparent from an earlier post – I owe quite a lot. 🙂

      • Croft says:

        I must admit to sometimes wishing the BBC intoned that the government has been attacked by ‘an irrelevant/impotent’ backbench committee as the use of ‘influential’ is irritating!

        PS – Oh dear LN, my snow-stoppage fine clearly is a winner!

        On a serious note I do wonder if this whole debacle will prompt the government to look again at requiring drivers to carry basic winter equipment. So much of this traffic chaos really was self-inflicted. But then all these noises were made last year and nothing seemed to happen. Sometimes I don’t understand government – it seems like the solution is in part neither expensive (to the state/individual) nor very inconvenient/burdensome. Then again I don’t understand why each parish doesn’t arrange for a farmer to clear some of the roads – it certainly used to happen but seems to have stopped. Perhaps due to the liability issue but it’s certainly cheaper and quicker than buying 100s of snowploughs.

        I’ll wish you the best for Christmas now though judging by the temperature (-6 at present and forecast for -14 in the next week) I’ll be very much in this year!

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: I suppose the media are technically correct when they refer to a committee as influential given that the committee has produced a report which has influenced the media to draw on it!

        On cars carrying equipment for this weather, one useful piece of advice I have been given is that in addition to the obvious material, such as a spade and blanket, to carry in the boot one should include an old piece of carpet. If you get stuck on ice, apparently placing the carpet under the front wheels can help you move.

        All the best for Christmas.

      • Croft says:

        Two pieces of carpet – one for each wheel. Yes it’s a good idea, personally I carry hessian sacks which are rather lighter and easier to store in the boot.

    • Carl.H says:

      The laughable thing is that in stressful dangerous, driving conditions the Government ease EU directives on driving hours. Yet in good driving conditions they will be tightened again.

  3. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,
    Congratulations on your rise and broadening of reputation. You have gained a good bit in terms of what even serious historian use now and will use to assess your impact at some future date. However, having climbed so much of the mountain the hardest bit is often at the summit. You will have all Fleet Street can offer your legacy when the articles switch from the indefinite to the definite –“the leading expert”. Historians, readers and publishers will put a little extra support behind that man’s monograph. Although a serious biography of some kind is already fairly certain at your place in the records.

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