Wednesday super tweets…

It’s now after 11.30 p.m. on Wednesday and the House is still in committee on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.  We are likely to rise about midnight.  I thought I would take a few minutes to do a few super pseudo-tweets. 

Morning devoted largely to an extended meeting of the Constitution Committee.  Prior to our usual meeting, we had an informal session with Professor Margaret Wilson, a former Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament,  on the NZ Cabinet Manual, which was the model for the draft Cabinet Manual just produced by the Cabinet Secretary.  Very helpful. 

After lunch to the LSE to talk to the new cohort of Hansard Society Scholars.  Speak on the British Constitution; session runs over by half-an-hour because of the number of questions.

Back to the House to speak at a reception in the Members’ Dining Room on ‘The future of citizenship education’ organised by Democratic Life.   David Blunkett is the opening speaker and I am the closing speaker.  We both make reference to our time together as classmates at university.  I reiterate the importance of citizenship education as a prerequisite for achieving the Big Society.  Without it, we are in danger of having a small society.

Keep spending time in the chamber as the House continues debate on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.  There is a division on an amendment at 7.00 p.m.  The amendment is defeated by 203 votes to 133.   Progress on the Bill is slow not so say glacial.

I have dinner with friends, unusually for me outside the House.  Most Wednesdays, I am in between 8.00 and 9.00 a.m.,  as I was this morning, and don’t leave until 10.00 p.m. or later, never having set foot outside the Palace.  For me to actually get out twice in one day is exceptional!  At least I know what the weather has been like.

Tomorrow is going to be another day of meetings.  I may do a few super pseudo-tweets…

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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12 Responses to Wednesday super tweets…

  1. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    I often have a tendency to see the benefits and dangers of both extremes of a situation. However, one thing that is discussed a great deal in the USA is how all Members of Congress once had a nodding acquaintance and within the group were many more circles of friends than exist today and they included both chambers and both major parties.Some of the blame is given to the schedule by which people live in the jet age and not really living in DC except for the seasonal trips home. I will say that while Hull is not to London what Hawaii or Wyoming are to DC (and of course your Lordship has no official constituency duties) nonetheless you seem to ensconce yourself in eateries, meetings, blogs and shared offices which allow you close relations with other peers and still spend lots of time with duties at home in Hull. This makes me see that particular reason given here for the collapse of social bridges on the Hill as being more silly than not. Of course, I was inclined to think so before…

    • Lord Norton says:

      frankwsummers3ba: You raise an extremely important point. Civility is essential within legislatures in order to facilitate dialogue. Without it, the danger is that tribalism rules with members talking past one another rather than to one another. We must ensure that we maintain the civility that has been achieved within the House. If it is lost, it is difficult to re-establish it

      • Carl.H says:

        I think maybe Dave could do with a lesson. The way he appears to the public is an educated snob, bullying the working class when he snipes at Milliband. He may find it amusing, it isn’t and it angers lots of people.

      • franksummers3ba says:

        Lord Norton,
        As long as the House continues to have the full (though not eleborate) ritual of bringing in new peers it will largely set the tone. Of course tribalism means different things to different people and one might argue that on average most tribal councils have been more courteous, more mannered and more proceduraly exact than most state councils if one looks at the whole world and all of history. Tribes would of course genrally exclude Hordes, Clans, Bands or Settlements meeting as such. In ancient Greece tribes formed the organizational basis of state councils for many centuries in the royalist dominated era when arguably this civilization developed.

  2. Carl.H says:

    NZ Cabinet Manual helpful in what terms ? You appeared, as I think most of us did, to speak in a derisory fashion toward the present draft of our version.

    “I reiterate the importance of citizenship education”.

    I fear this will be drastically affected by the cuts to education which cannot in anyway be good for society. The cuts especially to non-industrious subjects can only lead to a debased society, education must be holistic in it`s approach.

    • Frank W. Summers III says:

      Carl H.,
      I am perhaps impertinent, but I think LN is saying that understanding the NZ manual is helpful because it was a model for the current UK draft. That could be true whether he thought the manual was a very helpful model, a slightly relevant model, a good book with no application to the UK or a bad model in the positive sense. Though of course Lord Norton can explain what he means better than I can…

      • Lord Norton says:

        Carl.H: Frank W. Summers III has neatly explained the position. The NZ Manual was the model for the draft UK Manual, hence our interest in its genesis and status.

  3. tory boy says:

    I notice from watching proceedings from the House of Lords online that many members seem to have had a rather accidental festive season. Poor old Baroness Morris of Bolton seems to have both her arms in a pot, is she all right?? Baroness Rawlings a minister for the government also has her arm in a pot.

    • Lord Norton says:

      tory boy: Yes, I noticed that as well: we have a few walking wounded. I have not sought the reasons, though it may be that the recent bad weather claimed a few victims.

  4. Carl.H says:

    Old fuddy-duddy`s who fall asleep at work ?

    Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill
    “The Government has scheduled an extra three days to complete the committee stage of the bill in an attempt to prevent opposition peers delaying it further. Government peers are threatening to keep the Lords sitting through Monday night to get through all the amendments, with some already promising to come with their sleeping bags.”

    Have you packed your sleeping bag yet my Lord ?

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