A fleeting appearance

I appeared this morning on the BBC Breakfast  programme in order to argue the case against election of the second chamber.   It was done at relatively short notice, meaning I had to travel late last night to Manchester, do the programme early this morning and then catch a train back to London.   It was nonetheless an interesting experience – I have not been to the new BBC studios at Salford Quays before – and it is better to be in the studio than to do an interview down the line.  The main thing was that I was able to explain the benefits of our present arrangements and why it is not self-evidently democratic to elect the second chamber.  I was debating the case with an MP who hasn’t quite caught up with this argument….


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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6 Responses to A fleeting appearance

  1. maudie33 says:

    Amazing how Lords can come out of the woodwork crying ‘Lords Reform is undemocratic’ with such fervour as it will affect them en masse. And in the same breath, castigate the disabled, the poor and the elderly . Did you hear Betty Boothroyd telling us the only way the Lords will be able to maintain the politically correct stance it wants for more women, ethnics and the hereditaries kept in tow, and it is good for us all to keep them unelected and on the gravy train for life.

    What utter nonsense that is. Lords Reform is not only necessary it is the only way we in the UK can even begin to feel democratic. This farce they have set up to protect themselves from what is happening to the rest of our nation is simply troughing for the farmyard dwellers.

    If this House is not cut in half we will soon have more than a thousand sitting sleeping with the occasional snort, all feeding at ‘our’ trough. The more of them the less we have to live on. And did you here a family of four needs £36,000 pa to simply manage without luxuries to have any quality of life. What a laugh. People in the middle classwere on that in the eighties. And they way inflation and this theft by the bankers has depleted our coffers, the lot of them now need a minimum of fifty thousand a year for four to lead a Western world standard of life. And don’t forget middle dwellers, unlike the tax dodging rich, have to pay PAYE on that.

    Yet, here we are listening to the notion that an elected Lords is not good for British democracy. Shows you the level of intelligence they feel the public live with. What we need are clock in/out devices and constant heavy surveillance of each member as they go about their day in that place. Scrutinized every evening waiting for them next morning to justify their claims and to remove any payment taken fraudulently. The way they make the ordinary poverty stricken qualify for the pittance on the dole they paid for in their working lives.

    All of this utter nonsense fills me with irritated impatience, ad nauseum.

    • Lord Norton says:

      maudie33: I’m sorry, but it’s comments like this that annoy me intensely. You make the same fundamental mistake that the Deputy Prime Minister makes, that is, completely failing to explain what you mean by democracy – people plough on as if the meaning is obvious (well it is in the mind of the person making it, but oblivious to what it means in the minds of others); it is no good claiming what is and what is not democratic without saying which definition you are employing. As an expert in democratic theory pointed out in evidence to the Joint Committee, it is not necessary in a democracy for a second chamber to be elected. What you go on to say has no obvious relevance to election. It is rather like those who claim that inappropriately claiming expenses is an argument for an elected House – see my earlier post.

  2. maudie33 says:

    Lord Norton, I am sad to know I annoy you. However, I have just read an article in, The Guardian, posted by Lord Tyler, Lords of the Blog, on this issue. And it says exactly what I wish I could, so well.

    Here it is.


    My sentiments entirely.

  3. macarthursmutterings says:

    I hope you are keep tally of all the different BBC studios you have been to, how many are left on the list?

    • Lord Norton says:

      macarthurmutterings: The more distant BBC radio programmes I tend to do down the line. I have an idea of how many TV and radio broadcasts I have done, but not necessarily how many studios I have visited. More often than not, it’s just a case of popping across the road from the Palace of Westminster to 4 Millbank – or occasionally for an outside shot in Victoria Tower Gardens.

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