Working Together

Lord Tyler

The Moses RoomOne of my fellow bloggers – or even more likely, one of our regular contributors/commentators – may be able to prove me wrong, but I don’t recall much, if any, discussion of the work we do in the “Moses Room”.

This is where the “Grand Committee” meets, under a huge picture of Moses handing over the 10 Commandments (hence the name), and where very useful and interesting scrutiny takes place, sometimes during the Committee stage of a less controversial bill, but more often when we need to look carefully at Secondary Legislation.  At relatively short notice I was deputed to appear there on Wednesday to contribute to the examination of several new regulations (officially known as Statutory Instruments or SIs).   Although we Liberal Democrats no longer are under an obligation to provide a second opposition viewpoint on these, we feel there is real value in a spokesperson adding to the Coalition Government Ministerial presentation.  There is always, of course, a contribution from the Labour opposition, and sometimes from interested backbenchers from any of the three parties or from a Crossbencher with relevant experience.

You may like to take a quick look at the Hansard report  of the various SIs we were discussing on Wednesday.  The first (on ballot papers for the forthcoming mayoral elections) was in my portfolio territory, and I had some forewarning that I would be dealing with it.  The next two (on licensing and appeals under the Marine & Coastal Access Act) were landed on me at a couple of hours notice, because our expert colleague was ill.  Fortunately, having worked with him through very many long hours of debate on the Bill, I retained some working knowledge of its provisions.  The final set of regulations – implementing improvements to Waste targets and guidance to local councils – was entirely new to me.  I did my best to swot up the issues in the limited time available.  I leave it to you to judge whether we did a reasonable job between us.  Having noticed that the bulky book of regulations was not apparently printed on recycled paper, I was able to extract a promise from the Minister that he and the Government would practice what they preach, and publish the forthcoming Waste Review in a more environmentally friendly form. 

However, what I hope you will notice especially is the relatively consensual, cooperative and constructive tone of the whole afternoon’s work.  In contrast to the more confrontational attitude in the Lords Chamber (getting more so, with the influx of yet more ex-MPs perhaps?) this is where really useful work can be done, at reasonable speed but with careful cross-party scrutiny.  I would be interested to hear what you think, when you have read the Hansard report.

5 comments for “Working Together

    18/03/2011 at 5:56 pm

    I have always found that confrontational attitudes (which I’ve seen even here on the Blog and increasingly aimed at me) only serve to further divide people and cause them to go further into their own position, and do not manage to be conducive of reasonable Laws, so in that I share your own liking of the Moses Room.

    I suppose one can see the Chamber as reflective of the Spirit of Moses. Oh I don’t mean God comes down whenever there’s a session to personally give one the new Mandate, but the idea of Principles Law being given in the interest of Fairness does Hearken back to our earliest days in Humanity.

    I’ve yet to read and think about the report though, so I’ll do that before I go on to much else.

  2. MilesJSD
    18/03/2011 at 8:19 pm

    Still remember that Moses descended from the mountain to the people to whom he belonged

    to destroy an artefactual-golden-graven-image-idol

    only to dictatorially replace it with an artefactual-stone-graven-image of zero-tolerances, not one of which actually tells the people how to live life ‘better*’.

    * ‘live life better’: from my mind, read “healthier, more-citizenlike, and more environmentally-supportive”.

    Thanks for warning us, all the same.


  3. Carl.H
    18/03/2011 at 8:22 pm

    but I don’t recall much, if any, discussion of the work we do in the “Moses Room”.

    If one puts Moses Room in the “Search” box top right there are numerous threads that mention it.

    On thoughts of recycling has the noble Lord seen the issue of recycled cardboard used in the food industry.

  4. Gareth Howell
    19/03/2011 at 6:56 pm

    The one occasion I attended a meeting there as a member of the public,(believe it or not, once upon a time I was interested in the worKings of the HofL) I was give fairly short notice to quit.

    Neverthless I was dazzled by that marvellous picture which I had not seen before and perhaps I was talking too loudly to myself or the burning bush, and was given leave to …leave for that reason.

    I cannot imagine that the two parties refers to any other two parties than the Coop+Labour, which have the historic agreement. No prospective Mayor can possibly want to take his chair for any other pair of parties?


    I have to clarify in my own mind what theM+C Act is so I submit this link for the other correspondents to view.

    It is easy to forget that the noble lord, Lord Tyler is a member of the Parties in Government. He does good work but I shall probably not be voting for either party in the near or even distant future.

  5. maude elwes
    20/03/2011 at 11:58 am

    Beautiful painting, beautiful room…. However, I go along with milesjsd, Moses was centered on taking his people out of slavery in Egypt and finding them a way to a ‘better life.’ Today, this room with the Moses theme, spends its time on so called Global issues. Which means nothing is tackled with regard to ‘our’ homeland and ‘our’ people, who pay for the upkeep of this place.

    Now don’t you find that bizarre?

    Moses had his aim in the right direction. He knew where he could make a difference and tackled it. Rather than turn a blind eye to the pain around him, by alleviating his guilt with a pretense at solving difficulties elsewhere, he stood for office and stayed focused on where he could do most good for those who voted him in.

    Three cheers for Moses.

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