In Rome, I had two principal speaking engagements. On the Monday, I spoke to students taking Masters’ degrees at Luiss University on the impact of Coalition on British Government, focusing on constitutional and behavioural changes. On the Tuesday, I gave my lecture at the Chamber of Deputies (pictured). The room was packed, with standing room only. The formal title was ‘Parliaments and legislation’, but I was invited to address – and did so -wider issues in terms of legislative developments in a new representational age. I addressed the perception of the declining relevance of parliaments, especially at a time of globalisation and international crises, and the opportunities faced by legislatures, and legislators, to be closer to the people and serve to address the demoratic deficit. I sketched various means for achieving this greater link.
There were a number of discussants and contributions were also invited from the floor. Most developed some of my points or identified areas where they felt there was need for action. One person, though, responded to my comments about the potential offered by the Internet as a means of engagement by providing a spirited defence of television as the principal means of providing information. As he was speaking, a discussant leaned over and whispered to me ‘He used to be head of the state TV’.
It was a very rewarding trip with some productive exchanges. I may also do a post on Rome itself.