Summer of writing

052I usually have a number of publications forthcoming.  At the moment, I only have two: a chapter on ‘Continuity and Change in Parliamentarianism in the Twenty-first Century’ for the Routledge Handbook of European Politics and a chapter on the oratory of Enoch Powell.

I am, though, now at work on three other pieces I have been invited to write.  One is on the Conservatives and the Coalition, another is on Parliament and the Constitution, and the third is on legislative scrutiny in the House of Lords.  I am also working on an article on what happens in the event of the demise of the PM and have a conference paper to prepare on the constitutional implications of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.  The list is not exhaustive – I have one or two shorter pieces to complete – and is confined to research.  I am also in the process of organising the 11th Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians, a biennial event that draws members of parliaments and academics from around the globe – it is taking place at the end of next month.

I hope this note is of some interest.  It explains much of what I am doing over the summer.  I suspect its greatest use, though, will be to me, since it reminds me of what I have to do.  Perhaps I should have listed the items as bullet points…

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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 Summer of writing

  1. tizres says:

    “Perhaps I should have listed the items as bullet points…”

    A very relevant point: the usefulness of fridge magnets and Post-it notes are limited by their locations, although Post-it notes and fluorescent markers might usefully combine with Filofaxes for those stuck in the 1980s. Mobile electronic organisers, from palmtops to smartphones have created a few problems in that they need topping up with power, stolen, lost, flushed down loos and other stuff I hear about (still waiting for 3G – I am led to believe it’s a life-changer).

    The question is, Lord Norton, how did you manage deadlines in earlier times, or is it a matter of quantity?

    • Lord Norton says:

      tizres: Oh, the same way I do now – I just write them on a piece of paper and carry it with me. It’s my ‘to do’ list.

      • tizres says:

        What do you do when you need to amend said piece of paper? Do you transfer the to-do’s and start again as necessary? I have a shoebox (real, not metaphorical) full of pieces of paper, bookmarks on various computers that normally end up with a 404 error, and mum taught me never to put things in my pockets (hence, hardly anything I buy has a pocket).

        I have also tried several dictaphones, including one from a firm whose mission statement begins, “Our mission at XXXX is to help at least 500 people find their ideal digital voice recorder this year” giving an idea of the complexity of these things that require owners to have a fairly decent memory of the handbook. I’m a dab hand at applying information from handbooks to devices that often make grown men throw hissy fits, so I’m blaming the device. Plus, the last one slipped out of my one pair of trousers with pockets and down the loo (yes, I get the irony), proving mum knows best if nothing else.

  2. Lord Norton says:

    tizres: The jobs get crossed off when completed and when one of the pieces of paper has everything crossed off it gets thrown away. Admittedly, I carry around several pieces of paper, some with all bar one or two items crossed off…

  3. Tony Sands says:

    Dear Lord Norton, In response to your Summer of Writing I, partly thanks to you, will be enjoying a Summer of Reading! This is clearly of little interest to anyone except myself but I did want to say many thanks for my caption competition prize, Eminent Parliamentarians, which was delivered to me this morning. It is a lovely book and eminently readable. I have already read the two introductions and the lecture on Michael Foot.
    I’m going to dip into the book and read the rest over the next two or three weeks. The next lecture I’m going to read is the one which is most worthy of my interest – a view that I’m sure you could be persuaded to agree with – the chapter on Enoch Powell. Oddly my preference has nothing to do with the noble lecturer but the fact that Powell is the only one of the eleven that I have met and indeed spoken to. To be fair you did have a hand in this! In the Spring 1985 on an undergraduate visit with the Politics Department which you led, I found myself standing next to Powell in one of the House of Commons reception rooms. He had joined us for tea, as many interesting MPs did on these occasions. Overawed and trying not to spill my tea I decided to engage him in conversation. I gulped and enquired about his views on the televising of parliament, on which I was very keen and must have been topical at the time – had it just happened or were MPs about to vote on the issue? I believed that this would connect parliament with the people who I felt would be more engaged with the parliamentary process. In response Powell embarked on a lucid and convincing argument against this point of view. I think he felt that televising parliament would trivialise it and detract from the sanctity of those great decision-making moments in the chamber. I decided at that point in the conversation not to seek his views on my earnest belief in electoral reform. I couldn’t face being devastated on two points that I held dear!!! I also met Powell the following year when he spoke at a Sixth From Conference you organised. I found him to be a very formal but kind, decent man who in his way took an interest in young people. I think your analysis of him as a failed politician is spot on! I think he had too much integrity!
    Thanks again for the book and I’m looking forward to the next caption competition! Wishing you an enjoyable and productive Summer. I will look out for your chapter on Powell’s oratory.TS.

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