Just thought I would report on today’s events, mainly to demonstrate that I have not forgotten you, dear readers. It’s been fairly busy, although the most time-consuming part of the day will be my evening’s work – essay marking.
The day started with an early morning meeting with Lord Lexden to discuss progress with a working group we are creating on overseas voting. It was then a case of getting to Portcullis House to chair a two-hour meeting of the Higher Education Commission. As part of our inquiry into the new landscape of higher education, we took evidence from Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive of the Quality Assusrance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), and Fraser Woodburn, University Secretary of the Open University. (By a remarkable coincide, the last two used to work at the University of Hull). It was an excellent meeting, as all our evidence-taking sessions have been.
I then had a few minutes to get to the Attlee Room in the House of Lords for the 12.30 start for the reception to mark the publication of the 2nd edition of Parliament in British Politics. There was a splendid turnout of parliamentarians, parliamentary officials and members of the Hull mafia. Those attending included the Lord Speaker and the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana, as well as the Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley. I explained the reasons for holding a reception for a new edition – the sheer scale of change in Parliament over the past eight years – and there were then splendid speeches on the current Parliament by Philip Cowley, from Nottingham University, and Peter Riddell, Director of the Institute for Government: the former focused on voting behaviour in the current House of Commons and the latter on how civil servants were having difficulty keeping up with a more assertive House.
It was then off to have lunch with the Ghanian Speaker – the Clerk of the Ghana Parliament accompanying him is one of my PhD students – and then to the meeting of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee. Unusually, we were taking evidence, on this occasion from junior minister in the Ministry of Justice (and Hull University law graduate) Helen Grant. We were pursuing concerns, not exactly dispelled, over the order to abolish the Administrative Justivce and Tribunals Council.
I then went straight to Portcullis House for my ‘open house’ session with students, though on this occasion it was MPs rather than students who stopped to have a word. It was then a case of catching up on paperwork and beginning the evening’s task of marking. The only common thread of each day this week – like last – is marking. It will be the same next week….