This autumn marked the thirtieth anniversary of my appointment as Professor of Government at the University of Hull. My claim to fame is that, when I was appointed, I was the youngest professor of politics in the country. To mark the anniversary, a reception was held at the House of Lords on Monday, attended by parliamentarians and Hull graduates (not mutually exclusive categories). The picture (right) shows me with three longstanding graduates, Dr Nicholas Baldwin (Dean of Wroxton College), Paul Regan (a senior civil servant in the Home Office) and Neil Medlock (a senior official in RBS). The picture below shows some of the guests prior to the speeches.
The proceedings were opened by the University Chancellor, Baroness Bottomley. Her speech can be watched at https://youtu.be/ANHZKSwdYjU She was followed by the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, Cliff Grantham (speaking on behalf of graduates, as he has done at every ceremony since I first got the chair) and me, with another graduate, Ken Batty, concluding the event by announcing that several of my friends had got together, in a remarkably generous gesture, to commission an artist to paint my portrait. The speeches can be seen at https://youtu.be/S0QPtGNmoZY
The Speaker, John Bercow, had planned to attend, but was detained in the chamber, but sent a very generous letter, all the more remarkable given that he must have dictated it at very short notice.
In my own speech, I took the theme of continuity and change – continuity in teaching and change in terms of the subject of research. I seek to enhance my teaching – there are never grounds for complacency – but the fundamentals have not changed. However, when it comes to the subject of my research, there has been enormous change and, as I argued in my Michael Ryle Memorial Lecture, for Parliament these are the best of times, these are the worst of times. They are the worst of times in terms of how Parliament is seen. There is plenty to keep me occupied for at least the next decade…
The pictures and videos were taken by the Rev. Dr Amene Mir, who accepted the honorary position of photographer for the occasion and – given the length of the speeches – demonstrated remarkable resilience.