Going to the dogs

The Government’s plans for the future of the House of Lords have justifiably received a bad press.   They have been described by some as a ‘dog’s breakfast’.  However, I have noticed that some commentators have referred to them as a ‘dog’s dinner’.   I mentioned this to a friend.  We spent some time discussing it.  Is it more appropriate to call the proposals a dog’s breakfast or a dog’s dinner?  Hmmm.  ‘Well’, said my friend after some reflection, ‘at least we know they are not the dog’s bollocks’.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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12 Responses to Going to the dogs

  1. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,

    I noticed that in his rather brief remarks in PM’s Questions Cameron chose to mention:

    1. That every manifesto had put forward elections to the House of Lords.
    2.That there were deep divisions about these reforms that cut across the HoC in every direction.
    3. That this was an opportunity to do the right thing….

    I think that he sounds like a man still willing to work out a deal. Although I know deal making is done differently in your system than ours (which has recently been abandoned in favor of ????). I know YL has the view that elections are anathema here and VPM Clegg would prefer an all-elected House. But I think the PM would be open to many reasonable compromises. There are many points between the two of you just mentioned — all with consequences of course.

    As a secondary matter, Sir Peter Tapsell made quite an impression as whenever he speaks. With his being so prominent by way of long tenure in Parliament and representing Louth I wondered how well acquainted the two of you might be. I hazard this knowing you have probably mentioned this connection in one of these blogs — I just cannot quite remember the comments made.

  2. tory boy says:

    Is there anyway of getting hold of a list of candidates for the election to the office of lords speaker? Or will the list only be pubished once the deadline for applicants has passed.

    • Lord Norton says:

      tory boy: Yes, once nominations are in the names will be public, along with the candidates’ mini-manifestos. At the moment, it is case of who is rumoured as planning to stand.

    • Lord Norton says:

      tory boy: Hmm, not sure you should believe everything you read in the newspapers. The decision to abolish the position of Lord Chancellor as presiding officer of the House of Lords was taken before Lord Falconer ever put a wig on, the list of possible candidates is a little off-beam (two of three prominent names being touted are missing) etc.

      • tory boy says:

        will you be so good as to tell me the names?

      • Jonathan says:

        I wonder if that article was partly the motivation for Baroness D’Souza’s latest post on LOTB!

        Quite right that it was Lord Irvine of Lairg who wanted to be the last Lord Chancellor, although Lord Falconer certainly didn’t want to waste his time sitting on the woolsack. I do agree with the sketch, though, that the Lord Speakership is a bit of a non-job. I know it would be beefed up a bit if the proposals in that recent document on the workings of the House are adopted, but even so, I feel the House would work quite nicely without anyone sitting on the woolsack at all – a bit like one of those impressive chamber orchestras that performs without a conductor.

  3. ladytizzy says:

    I’ve taken the reference to a dog’s breakfast to have come from something that even a dog can’t stomach, indicating that a dog will eat pretty much anything put in front of him, but a dog’s dinner is a similar phrase to that of mutton dressed as lamb.

    Your friend is quite correct in that dog’s bollocks will be in neither meal since the standard of dog food is quite often higher than can be found in High Street takeaways.

    • Lord Norton says:

      ladytizzy: Yes, we checked and found that a dog’s breakfast was the most appropriate term as a dog’s dinner has different meanings, including – as you indicate – being ‘dressed up like a dog’s dinner’.

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