Catching up…

The Lord writes…

I hope to go through previous posts to check for comments to which I have not responded.  On occasion, a reader posts a comment but for various reasons I don’t get a chance to respond, either because I have been busy responding to other comments and plan to give time later to the response but then get overtaken by more recent posts or because a comment is made to a much earlier post and I do not always spot it.   (Anyway, that’s my excuse – sorry reasoned explanation.)  If you have previously contributed  a comment and not had a reply, please feel free to draw my attention to it in a response to this post.  I know I owe ladytizzy a reply, for example, on a question she asked which was essentially about intellectual property. 

If readers have other questions they have not asked but would like to pose, feel free to use this opportunity to put them.  If there are a lot, then the reasoned explanation above may be advanced…                                       
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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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16 Responses to Catching up…

  1. ladytizzy says:

    Yikes, I’d clean forgotten about that! Can’t even remember the particular post, given my propensity for wandering off-topic.

    How about the difference between regulations, guidelines, codes of practice… 8)

    • Lord Norton says:

      ladytizzy: The answer to the original question is about as difficult as that to the one posed here. The nswer to the original question, in effect should one charge for information given out on sites such as this or to people who ask, is that it would be so horrendously difficult to implement that it is not worth it. In my case, I would regard it as undesirable. I am by vocation a teacher and am happy to disseminate knowledge. If people want to benefit from it on a more sustained basis – and get a qualification at the end of it – they can apply to study politics at Hull. 🙂

      As for the difference between regulations, guidelines codes of practice… I think this may come in the category of the Schleswig-Holstein problem.

      • ladytizzy says:

        The Schleswig-Holstein question – perhaps Mr Cameron should cite this when asked to clarify his Big Society?

  2. Carl.H says:

    My Lord please excuse this totally off-topic post but Government has either lost control of it’s senses or it’s advisers have all been lost to the deficit cuts.

    Concerning the Governments proposed Education Bill, the BBC quotes “Under the plans, head teachers would get increased powers to search pupils for pornography, mobile telephones and any other banned items. They would have more control over the disciplining of those who misbehave on the way to or from school”.

    It is not an offence for any youngster to take naked pictures on their camera phone.

    It becomes an offence when anyone views such a picture of a child. A head teacher searching a phone and viewing any such images has committed a grave criminal offence. If that person deletes such pictures after viewing, this may be seen as another offence, one of trying to hide the original offence. Police sent to investigate a person finding child pornography on IT equipment are not allowed to view it, this is an offence. The equipment is sent to a specialist unit.

    Harrassment and bullying by mobile phone are also a criminal offence covered by the Telegraphy Act. If a teacher deletes evidence of such they maybe liable to action from parents who require such evidence be presented to the authorities.

    Planned searches by teachers on pupils may constitute assault or even accusations of sexual assault. I would be very surprised if Human Rights law did not already cover this area.

    “Schools would also be able to impose a detention without having to give 24 hours’ notice.”

    Detention without notice to working parents is abhorrent and could result in Police being called due to missing children. It will also result in parents turning up at school when their child is detained and wasting their time. If a parent is to attend, ettiquette should be observed and notification necessary.

    This Bill appears folly that has not been thought through or scrutinised in anyway. It appears this Government is once again rushing through legislation that is worthless and making things far worse than they were originally.

    • Carl.H says:

      Children under the age of 16 are searched only with the consent of their parent or carer.

      http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-services/crime-justice-and-the-law/prison-and-probation/search-procedures.htm

      Any search conducted without the child or young person’s consent, or that of their
      parent/carer when appropriate, could become the subject of an assault charge
      against the staff member concerned

      http://www.pentathlongb.org/downloads/childprotection/MPAGB%20Restraining%20Policy.pdf

      According to Article 8(1), the government must ensure that “everyone has the right to respect for private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. There must not be any “interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” (Article 8(2)).

      http://www.cypnow.co.uk/news/988448/ChildRIGHT-Childrens-rights—Use-stop-search-powers-children/

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: I shall clearly have to study closely the legislation.

      • Carl.H says:

        My Lord, there is much wrong with the Education Bill that is contrary to existing law and the ECHR. It will if it goes through set parents and teachers further apart and also put teachers in an untenable position.

        The proposed ability to search without consent by a person of a different sex with another member of staff present is abhorrent and leaves the searcher at risk of the sexual offences act 2003 part 1 assault section 3.

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/3

        The Education Bill is here
        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmbills/137/11137.1-7.html#j145

        There is much more that is wrong and I will expand when you see fit, as I’m sure you will as a teacher, to blog on the subject.

        The reasons behind such a bill I can see but there is a much simpler way that will enhance the relationship between parents and school and also have the effect of MAKING the parent responsible in the childs behaviour. If the parent is called and present when any of the allegations of guilt are made and is there to carry out any search this has multiple benefits. The parent will see the school as a partner and not in conflict. If the child is guilty it will have inconvenienced the parent therefore the more likeyhood of the parent altering the childs behaviour for the future. The parent will be able to conduct a search or at least be present to see all is correct as it should be.

        If as some of the legislation seems to suggest that the situation is one of urgent risk it is unlikely any offender will consent to a search or be compliant. In this situation teachers are at risk, confrontation is not the way forward nor are teachers qualified to deal with such. School leaving age is due to rise to 18 very soon, I doubt I could restrain a 13 year old who did not want to comply alone.

        I have not studied the Data Protection Act regards searches of IT equipment, phones etc., but am pretty sure there will be existing law that protects personal correspondence within it. This is without mentioning RIPA. The Wireless Telegraphy Act covers much law that may concern this bill. Deletion of data or files that may be construed as illegal maybe seen as an illegal act in itself and negates any lawful action a parent or guardian may wish to take themselves.

        There is much to debate I fear as I feel this bill has been thrown together in haste.

      • Carl.H says:

        Should read

        The proposed ability to search without consent by a person of a different sex without another member of staff present is abhorrent and leaves the searcher at risk of the sexual offences act 2003 part 1 assault section 3.

  3. Dean B says:

    I’d be interested to know if you have any specific arguments against AV, other than that is is likely to produce more hung parliaments? I am generally conservative in my views on constitutional change, and totally against PR, but I find little to get excited about in the AV proposal, one way or the other.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Dean B: Many find it difficult to get excited about it and this may be reflected in the turnout in the referendum. (How many readers are getting excited about it? It’s not that far away.) As you say, AV is not a system of proportional representation. Indeed, if a party is extremely unpopular, AV can be far more disproportional than the existing first-past-the-post system. Otherwise, it may well deliver hung Parliaments, more so than under the present system – though we cannot be certain, as we do not know how people will vote under a new electoral system. There are various objections to AV. Why should a person’s third preference carry as much weight as their first preference? A person who votes for the candidate who comes second does not get their other preferences considered whereas some people who vote for candidates doing less well do. It is also somewhat misleading to claim that it produces a candidate with the support of at least 50% of voters. It only does so by manipulation; if no one gets 50% on first preferences, then there is no candidate that a majority of electors want to be elected – it then falls back on second or third best and even then may not result in the votes of a majority of those voting determining the result: if some electors do not express a second or third preference, one ends up with 50% of the votes in a particular round rather than 50% of those who cast a ballot.

      • Dean B says:

        Many thanks for your reply on this.
        It seems that the “AV may produce more hung parliaments” argument is difficult to prove – Newnight’s surveys suggested that Thatcher and Blair in their prime would have won more seats under AV – but the other points are enough to convince me of the need to campagin against the change. In particular, it seems perverse that voters for unpopular candidates get several of their voters counted, when those who support the top two candidates get only a single vote.

  4. Frank Young says:

    I’d be interested to know if there is any news on the election of a new Hereditary Peer. If I understand the rules correctly it will be a vote of the whole House?

    • Lord Norton says:

      Frank Young: Yes, indeed. Of the 92 hereditary peers retained under the 1999 House of Lords Act, two serve ex officio, 75 are elected by the respective political groupings, and 15 are elected by the whole House to be available to serve the House if required (for example, as a Deputy Speaker). Lord Strabolgi was one of the 15 elected to be available to serve the House. Hence his replacement will be elected by the whole House. Candidates may submit candidature statements of not more than 75 words. These are then circulated to members. The ballot is being held on Tuesday 22 March. (Any peers not able to attend in person can apply for postal votes.) The election is by the Alternative Vote. The votes will be counted the following day, 23 March, and the Clerk of the Parliaments will announce the reslut after Oral Questions that afternoon.

  5. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,

    After these five years expire the world may be in any of a number of positions. That set of positions and conditions in geopolitics will doubtless influence the track and tack taken by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats as they spin apart. It is also possible that domestic politics may have asserted demanding realities in many ways hard to foresee which would demand very intense political focus. But my question is this, should the course the Conservative Party takes begin with a turn to the right hard and fast is there a coterie, cabal or salon that will be there on the right flank in a really Tory way?
    In other words, however small they may be, do you think there are still organzed voices that would speak for a balance of royal perogative and the rights of parliament. Voices that seek both fair and equitable process for all and a security for the protocol of each realm and the rights of the Church or voices seeking more hereditaries in the Lords — do they exist?

    One hears of UKIP, of certain kinds of what are called right wing extremists and of the heavily right of center folk like Your Lordship. But are there figures who (though it is a hard title to like) might nod to the idea that they are called reactionary and yet are respected in the Conservative Party?

    Should you wish to, please take time to answer around and about the question.

  6. Lord Norton says:

    franksummers3ba: “the heavily right of center folk like Your Lordship”. Moi? I am not sure that I can easily be button-holed.

    One needs to distinguish between being a conservative (wishing to preserve that which exists, that is, the status quo) and a reactionary (one who wishes to revert to a previous time, that is, the status quo ante). We have some in the Conservative Party who are reactionary; some are quite cogent and respected. At the moment, I am not sure anyone is accusing the Conservative Party of a turn to the right, nor do I think the two parties to the coalition will necessarily spin apart.

    • franksummers3ba says:

      Lord Norton,

      A fair and adequate answer which covered all the main points of my question. I am quite certain Your Lordship is sufficiently nuanced as to have been able to survive in any of a number of systems too nuanced to really function as political systems today. There is a lot of thought and discussion behind your policy points.
      As for the future, we shall see. Indeed, it will be fascinating if the Torwhig, Whigotor,Condemlib or Libdemcon party becomes the future in the UK. Stasis is unusual, likely the parties will grow closer or apart. I like “Whigotor” it sounds vaguely Greek and mythological.

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