It's Lord Mandelson

Lord Norton

Peter Mandelson was introduced into the House on Monday and made his maiden speech today.  He moved the Enterprise Act 2002 (Specification of Additional Section 58 Consideration) Order 2008, which may sound dull and technical but which was actually extremely important.  It provides the opportunity for the minister to intervene in the TSB/HBOS merger talks on grounds of public interest; the public interest in this case is defined as financial stability.  He can set this alongside the competition issues involved.  The debate provided the opportunity for peers, many with significant experience in the field, to contribute. 

Even before he entered the House, the new minister managed to cause some confusion, not least over his title.  The Daily Telegraph, covering his introduction into the House, reported that ‘Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham – who will be known simply as Lord Mandelson – wore traditional robes..’.  He will be known as Lord Mandelson for one simple reason.  He is Lord Mandelson.  He is not Lord Mandelson of Foy etc.  The Times got it right.  The Telegraph did not.  A peerage has a territorial designation, but where the surname is chosen as the title and has never been used before, then the surname alone constitutes the title.  The title is still associated with a place, even though the place does not form part of the title.  Where the surname has been used before, then the name of a place is included in the title.   As Peter Mandelson is the first Lord Mandelson then no territorial designation is included in the title.  Peter Mandelson is Lord Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham.  The comma is all important!  What comes before it is the title; what comes after it is not part of the title.

18 comments for “It's Lord Mandelson

  1. Velvet Glove
    16/10/2008 at 7:24 pm

    TSB/HBOS merger – I think you mean the Lloyds TSB / HBOS PROPOSED merger !! The shareholders are the ones deciding this NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

    And can we dispense with twaddle like “A peerage has a territorial designation, but where the surname is chosen as the title and has never been used before, then the surname alone constitutes the title. The title is still associated with a place, even though the place does not form part of the title. Where the surname has been used before, then the name of a place is included in the title. As Peter Mandelson is the first Lord Mandelson then no territorial designation is included in the title. Peter Mandelson is Lord Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham. The comma is all important! What comes before it is the title; what comes after it is not part of the title.”

    For goodness sake, What on earth IS the name of what appears after the comma then ? And people wonder why the Lords are perceived as elitist, exclusive and out-of-touch ? The sooner this patronising twaddle is tidied up the better.

  2. 16/10/2008 at 8:25 pm

    Sadly the majority of the public don’t understand the difference between the title and the territorial designation, and never will while the newspapers keep misinforming them. Many of the papers said he was “Baron Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool”. I’ve had to correct his WIkipedia article several times over the last few days. They made such a fuss over the fact he picked two placenames, yet it isn’t that unusual, as the list on Wikipedia shows:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_life_peerages

    Just last year, we had Baron Stern of Brentford, of Elsted in the County of West Sussex and of Wimbledon in the London Borough of Merton. As Lord Stern of Brentford has a place as part of his title too, that makes three in total!

    I have to say, Lord Norton of Louth, as you are someone who clearly believes in the correct use of titles, I’m surprised you don’t insist on your full title being used this blog!

  3. lordnorton
    16/10/2008 at 10:55 pm

    Obviously, I am with Jonathan on this one. Velvet Glove: some people may not like titles but so long as they exist we may as well get them right. Given the attention that Lord Mandelson’s title has attracted from the media, then there is a case for explaining the protocol. Had they not mentioned it, there would be no need for the correction.

    Jonathan: I rather agree with your last paragraph. There already is a (hereditary) Lord Norton. Hence my territorial designation as part of the title. The comma is important – otherwise I would be Lord Norton of Louth of Louth.

  4. Realist
    16/10/2008 at 11:44 pm

    Ignore Velvet Glove. I have just heard Andrew Neil on ‘This Week’ refer to Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool. I hope this post will be widely read so that people get it correct.

  5. 17/10/2008 at 6:45 am

    It is what is in the contents of ‘parcel’ not how glamourous the wrapping might be.

  6. Jonathan Hogg
    17/10/2008 at 8:18 am

    More importantly: can Lord Mandelson (of wherever) be persuaded to blog? Or would that breach important Government spin regulations?

  7. lordnorton
    17/10/2008 at 8:38 am

    Velvet Glove: I forgot to mention that I don’t quite see the point of your opening comment as my post clearly refers, not to a merger, but to ‘merger talks’.

    For anyone interested in the debate, it can be found at:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/81016-0006.htm#08101659000012

  8. 17/10/2008 at 9:13 am

    Velvet Glove: “What on earth IS the name of what appears after the comma then ?”

    Normally you wouldn’t see this at all unless you read the London Gazette or Hansard. In this instance, the press are hounding Peter Mandelson due to him being a high-profile and controversial figure, so they’ve dug up the fact that he choose two place names, and the fact that one was a small retreat in rural Herefordshire, so as to try and connect that to something in his private life. Blame the tabloid-style journalism if you are confused, not a tradition that’s older than any newspaper.

  9. Bedd Gelert
    17/10/2008 at 9:19 am

    Mr Hogg, I would be all in favour of referring to him as ‘Baron Hardup’, as most others seem to do – but please please please, do not induce him to start appearing on this blog ! We have a pretty good crowd of interesting and engaging personalities on this blog now – let us for heaven’s sake keep the standard high ! It is the quality of the blogging Lords, not the quantity, that counts…

  10. lordnorton
    17/10/2008 at 10:12 am

    On Lord Mandelson and the possibility of him blogging, I had interpreted Jonathan Hogg’s comment as suggesting a free-standing blog. However, picking up on Bedd Gelert’s observation, I see it could be an invitation to join us on this blog. Some ministers do, of course, have their own blogs – though the experience of Tom Harris (now ex-Transport Minister) might give those contemplating it pause for thought.

    Anne Palmer: I agree completely. The important thing is that we judge ministers, as well as others, on their merits.

  11. howridiculous
    17/10/2008 at 10:28 am

    Dear Lord Norton,

    Thank you for once again raising the profile of a titular issue. Despite what some people might think, and blog, such issues are important. If something is wrong it is wrong however pedantic it might seem to point it out.

    I haven’t yet seen Lord Mandelson being called in a way that suggests he the non-eldest son of a hereditary peer but I am sure that will come in time unless this blog is read by those who make such errors!

    Howridiculous.

  12. 17/10/2008 at 5:35 pm

    If Parliament can’t get it right – http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/hmg.cfm currently has “Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool” – what hope the rest of us? Obviously TheyWorkForYou gets it right 😉

  13. howridiculous
    18/10/2008 at 8:58 am

    An example of a member of the Lords also getting it wrong:

    http://www.lordtobyharris.org.uk/

    !

    Howridiculous.

  14. lordnorton
    18/10/2008 at 4:20 pm

    Matthew: Oh dear. I’m not that surprised as I presume the list was supplied by Government. Departments do not have a good track record in rendering titles in their correct form.

Comments are closed.