Another of those weeks

It has been another of those weeks, teaching, marking, being present for the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, and working on the draft report for the Public Administration Committee in the Commons.   Trying to juggle the tasks hasn’t always worked out as smoothly as I would wish.  There were two amendments to the PVSC Bill on which I would have liked to speak, but each came up at a time when I was away from the chamber – and each earlier than expected – with the result that I was too late to contribute.  (You are not expected to speak unless you are present from the beginning of a debate.)   The House has managed to rise by about 10.00 p.m. but I have been stuck at my desk considerably later. 

Distinctive features of this week?  I share a room with several peers.  One of them, Lord Lucas, arranged lunch today for the rest of us with Philip Blond, Director of ResPublica, who is reponsible for generating the concept of the Big Society.  Five of us attended from the office.  It was a rather enjoyable seminar.  Philip Blond also remembered attending my classes in Hull.  Tomorrow morning I head off to Lancashire to give a paper at Edge Hill University on parliamentary scrutiny of European legislation.  All I need to do now is write the paper….   As I say, it has been one of those weeks.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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6 Responses to Another of those weeks

  1. Carl.H says:

    My Lord, with recent conflict in parliament on European legislation and the probability of forthcoming fines to this Nation does he feel that Government may veer toward a referendum on Europe ?

    Personally I feel the good, the bad and the ugly should all have the right to representation in Parliament, indeed judging by our courts of late it seems they do. There are many more criminals in our society not locked up than in prison. If not being able to vote is a punishment what crime are members of the Lords guilty of ?

    Being present from the beginning of debate is possibly a reasonable rule when the beginning is pre-defined.

    Mr.Blond ! Oh dear. A capitalist and socialist in other words a dreamer who fails to see the reality of things. I don’t think we’d agree on much, he has the big words but no understanding of people or life specifically at the poorer end of the spectrum.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: It depends, not least on how one defines ‘Europe’. In the context of thd debate on votes for prisoners, it is the Council of Europe that constitutes Europe, with fire directed at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In most other respects, fire is directed at the European Union (a more recent creation than the Council of Europe, and with far fewer members) and its judicial arm, which sits in Luxembourg. It is interesting how many confuse the two.

      Members of the House of Lords do not have a vote in parliamentary elections, not because we are imprisoned in the Palace of Westminster but because we have our own places in the legislature (some may see these two as not necessarily mutual exclusive). Unlike prisoners, we do get to vote in other elections.

      • Carl.H says:

        My Lord, at risk of making myself sound totally illiterate, understanding our parliament seems like a full time job nevermind trying to understand the multiple layers of the EU.

        There is too much unknown about the EU, in my opinion, and MEP’s are rarely thought of as accountable especially as British MEP’s are always a minority. When do I get the chance of sacking a German MEP ? Of course it’s not my constituency !

        Think I’ll just have to setup a party for devolution for Essex, then we can add another layer to the cake and if we carry on they’ll be no unemployment because we can all be in Government somewhere.

        Regards Lord voting in a general election, there is no reason they shouldn’t as there is still need for them to have a constituency representative. There are matters their MP may deal with that they are incapable of becoming involved with. Maybe a private members bill that those given safe seats should have the vote taken away will bring the idea home ?

      • Lord Norton says:

        Carl.H: It is certainly a full-time job! Trying to understand the different layers of the EU is more demanding of a team effort. Explaining it is difficult, but then so is trying to get people interested in the subject.

  2. ladytizzy says:

    Reason 197 to keep the Lords as is:

    “One of the more bizarre duties of a new MP is the call to sit on a delegated legislation committee. I was sent off on a “three-line whip” to one on double taxation… I received a note to inform me that my only duties were to turn up on time, say nothing and vote with the government.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/10/creeping-patronage-house-commons-mps-whips?INTCMP=SRCH

    • Lord Norton says:

      ladytizzy: Indeed, and also to reduce the number of ministers and others on the so-called ‘payroll vote’. Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPSs) are deemed to be on the payroll vote, despite the fact that they are not paid. It is a very interesting article.

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