Questioning the Deputy PM

As ladytizzy has noticed – see her comment on the previous post – the Deputy Prime Minister gave evidence yesterday to the Constitution Committee.  It was his regular appearance in order to discuss constitutional change.   You can see his appearance here.  I came in on two of the principal issues we pursued – the process of constitutional change and, not surprisingly, Lords reform.   On the former, the Constitution Committee has no particular difficulty in identifying issues of constitutional significance, whereas it seems to be a task that flummoxes Governmment.  On the latter, the Deputy PM remains in a mindset that sees an elected chamber as self-evidently the ‘democratic option’.   As you will see, he caused laughter when, in seeking to argue that composition should be considered independently of powers, he expressed the view ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’!

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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10 Responses to Questioning the Deputy PM

  1. Croft says:

    The more obvious head scratcher is his argument over assertiveness. Does anyone but NC seriously believe you can have an elected (wholly or partially) Lords and it not lead to a more assertive Lords. His argument on this defines credulity

  2. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,

    It seems that the conversation is at least typified by candid discussion of the pertinent issues by the important figures, That is an achievement. On another point, I wonder if as a former resident of Pennsylvania you have followed the appearances of the distinguished celebrity and official Punxatawney (sp) Phil?

  3. ladytizzy says:

    Mr Clegg’s body language is the gift that keeps giving. He wishes you didn’t exit, Lord Norton.

  4. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,

    I agree with Deputy Prime Minister Clegg that democratic elections confer legitimacy. In other words as a foreigner when I look at the free and fair elections held in a country it makes me think the office is legitimate. There is a kind of pure highest level legitimacy under Classical Political Science Theory and Britain has gradually accepted this. However, in addition to your arguments that election may not be the most democratic option Britian is not a pure democracy. Legitmacy under Classical Political Science Theory (and that really is where the idea has developed and little innovation has occurred) also reaches a number of other heads. A royalist and Royal Monarch of a House publicly established and recognized by the legislature who has received a religious coronation and installation of the highest order and and then has been received in acclamation both as a person and as a house is equally at that highest level of legitimacy. One could have a government that does not recognize one or the other kind of legitimacy for itself but cannot have both and call one less than legitimate.

    While the Peers have a derivative quality in all systems the older Bishoprics and and the Hereditary Peeers are the least derivative and while they exist in a middle state in harmony with such elemenst of Monarchy and Democracy as are extant in the Constitution they nonetheless transcend these derivative qualities. While many Brits are eager to remeber their position vis-a-vis the Queen and others vis-a-vis the People the Truth is they are also a highest level font and point of legitimacy. The purely legitimate Aristocracy.

    I feel that in fact my viewpoint is somewhat privilged here because in legitimacy theory it is the foreigner who is most addressed. It is different from mere lawfulness. Legitimacy is that quality which inspires a civilized foreigner to believe he can deal rightly and confidently with a government and its associated bodies.

    This may seem heavy-handed but this is my view. To fail to make the comment is perhaps to come too close to seeming to agree with a truncated version of legitimacy I do not accept.

  5. maude elwes says:

    As I couldn’t access any of the links I thought this video below may be a good idea here. We can then see in person what this thread is about.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16748163

    My question here is, Cameron and the Conservatives knew what Clegg was and stood for before getting into bed with him. Why did they unite and form a coalition if they felt he was inferior as an intelligence and politician? If you marry a dummy, you get nothing but headaches. And it is well known that to marry down is always poor judgment.

    Isn’t it?

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