The nation fails to get excited…

Yesterday in the Lords, Lord Grocott asked the Government how many communications they had received from members of the public on the Government’s White Paper and draft House of Lords Reform Bill.  In answering, the Leader of the House, Lord Strathclyde, failed to give a precise figure.  When pressed, he conceded:

“… Since the general election, we have received over 180 letters from members of the public.   Since the publication of the White Paper, we have received over 30 pieces of correspondence.”

Not exactly evidence of great public interest.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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5 Responses to The nation fails to get excited…

  1. ladytizzy says:

    Yet Lord Haskel wrote a post on LotB on the same event* and somehow concluded that the gvt doesn’t get it. Should Mr Cameron be concerned?
    * http://lordsoftheblog.net/2011/07/20/reform-of-the-house-of-lords/

    Anyway, on to serious stuff. Noting your recent memo on the Lords Reform Bill**, why do you recommend 12 October as the best before submission date? Also, since putting in a lot of effort into a few other calls I get the feeling that they were a waste of my time; am I being over-sensitive?

    ** http://lordsoftheblog.net/2011/07/20/reform-of-the-house-of-lords/#comment-121606

    • Lord Norton says:

      ladytizzy: 12 October is the target date; it is designed to give people time to pen their contributions but leave us with time to read the submissions and decide who we would like to call to give oral evidence.

      You possibly are being a little over-sensitive in that all submissions get read and can contribute to a committee’s thinking – and report.

  2. ladytizzy says:

    O/T: it would appear that the transfer season is not confined to footballers. A number of journalists (in the proper sense) are on the move, with C4 the main gainer. Or is something else afoot?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/mediamonkeyblog/2011/jul/21/michael-crick-bbc-news-newsnight (amongst others)

  3. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,
    Interesting to use the number 30 in the context of Western civilization:
    1. St. Augustine wrote of the importance of bishops having a voice in temporal councils.
    2. Plato believed a council of the excellent was vital to public excellence.
    3. Aristotle saw a Council of the Few properly developed as a great asset in governance.
    4. Moses appointed a council of excellencies to exercise leadership under the law.
    5.Jesus appointed the Twelve, the 72 and other councils of the Few to assist in his Ministry and act as a council. This in a context where direct democartic feedback and monarchical leasdership were both frequent and defined.
    6.Montesquieu praised the British Aristocratic element joining the Monarchical and Democratic as among the most compelling arrangements in human governance.
    7,8 &9. Jay, Madison and Hamilton all agreed preserving an authentic aristocratic element in US governance would be necessary for its health. They expressed this in the Federalist Papers.
    10. Simon Bolivar believed American governments could not prosper without enshrining the Aristocratic element in law.
    11. Belloc found in the ancestral institutions associated with the families of the most anceient hereditary Peers the best hope for going forward in many, liberal, Roman Catholic and cosmopolitan directions in the modern world.
    12. Maritain was somewhat in accord with Belloc.
    13. — 20: Some countries which have excelled while having a specific effort at a elite council in governance: Sparta, France of the Estates General, Venice, Thebes, the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic, The Roman Empire and dozens of other Hellenic regimes over millenia as well.
    21- 28: Powers not perfectly democratic which will affect Britons if Lords becomes purely democratic: The WTO, the IMF, the UN, the World Court, the IOC, FIFA, NATO, and the NPT. This does not include corporations and many other institution.
    29 & 30. The United States arbiters of ordinary polite social behavior the Emily Post family and Miss Manners still accord many privileges to the HoL members which might not survive radical reforms.

    Just a sampling of reasons to think this through carefully.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Frank W. Summers III: Certainly points often overlooked, though I note that Lord Strathclyde said ‘over 30’! You make a particularly salient point about other institutions in 21-28.

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