The work goes on…

Lord Norton

The House of Lords is not sitting this week.  However, the fact that the House is not sitting does not mean nothing is happening at our end of the Palace.  Some committees continue to meet – I have a meeting this afternoon of the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee (we have a large number of Statutory Instruments to consider) and this evening have to chair a meeting of the Parliamentary University Group – we are addressing the future of the UK’s research base.  I have various meetings tomorrow and during the course of today have encountered a good many peers. 

I have previously mentioned that a great deal of work gets undertaken outside the chamber, but it tends not to get noticed (at least not to the same extent as what is happening in the chamber) and there certainly appears to be an assumption that if the chamber is not in session then nothing much is happening in the Lords.  I have already met some people today who make this assumption – including one or two who ought to know better!

16 comments for “The work goes on…

  1. Lord Blagger
    17/04/2012 at 12:59 pm

    Lots going on.

    Peers taking cash for lobbying.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-exconservative-minister-lord-blencathra-paid-to-lobby-for-island-tax-haven-7648252.html

    Peer suspended for calling for a bounty/prosecution on Tony Blair

  2. Sharon
    17/04/2012 at 1:03 pm

    It’s because people want to see value for money and see you actively working in the public eye being as it’s tax payers money that is paying you. You can’t blame them, especially as everyone is putting up with cuts right now.

    Imagine if all the papers were calling you all cheats and scroungers because you weren’t actively in work this week! It isn’t nice having assumptions made about you is it? This is how the government has been looking at some of the disabled since they have been in power. The media has been fed so much codswallop it’s not even funny about this very same subject. Nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change.

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      17/04/2012 at 2:04 pm

      Sharon: This appears based on a false premise, as peers receive nothing when they are not attending the House. You can hardly call people cheats and scroungers when they are not actually receiving anything.

      • Sharon
        17/04/2012 at 10:00 pm

        I kinda think you missed the point there Lord Norton hehe

  3. 17/04/2012 at 1:55 pm

    Are these meetings expensable?

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      17/04/2012 at 2:04 pm

      Stephen Maclean: Only if they are committees of the House. All-party groups do not count.

  4. maude elwes
    18/04/2012 at 7:45 am

    You know, it appears to me that every other week the Lords are not sitting. Likewise the Commons. No wonder it takes so long to reach finality on important issues.

    Expenses or not, how does this country keep up?

    And I am sure Blagger is more or less right about the cost of the Lords to the public purse. He is too much of a ‘dog with a bone’ on this issue to be completely out of step.

    The Lords need to get their act together and put in at least a full five days a week for the working year. Other than that, we, the people, are being cheated, and as Sharon wrote, just as conned as we are told we are, by those whom government refer to as cheats and scoundrels. It always comes from the top. And as Thatcher was so eager to tell us, it trickles down dear.

    So, if we do have a cheating and scandalous people, Parliament must be to blame. As they are the example we all follow.

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      18/04/2012 at 6:40 pm

      maude elwes: If we meet more often, we get criticised for the cost – think what Lord Blagger would make of that – and if we don’t we get criticised for not meeting more often. Peers don’t determine when the House sits. I would not have a problem if we sat more often or, indeed, if we spread out the sittings more evenly over the year.

      • maude elwes
        24/04/2012 at 10:47 am

        @Lord Norton:

        Then why don’t you use the suggestion box and make sure your ideas get a hearing.

        The additional expense you worry about Blagger addressing, can be sorted by cutting the amount of you all sharply, leaving just 300 tops. The cut all the additional staff that goes with.

        Austerity for all, LN, is the way to go.

        • Lord Blagger
          24/04/2012 at 2:14 pm

          Why stop at 300? Why not zero?

          Plenty of democracies rely on a single chamber to get things right.

          That PMs have stuffed the Lords with failed politicians to correct their failed legislation in the commons is telling.

  5. Gareth Howell
    18/04/2012 at 8:12 am

    It’s all hot air.

  6. MilesJSD
    19/04/2012 at 6:23 am

    Doesn’t it all depend on what you mean by
    “work” (see footnote) ?

    1 means, whatever you are doing youse are extincting too many Lifesupports & Destroying too too many NNR’s*

    * Non-Renewable-Resources

    foot-note
    lest “work” can be productive, break-even, or destructive (of 1 thing or another)((or nnon-existent, figmentary, phanstasmagorial))
    in which case one means herewithin that alas! Britain’s inside and outside HOL “work” may (un)well be of the former sort

  7. MilesJSD
    19/04/2012 at 6:26 am

    corrigenda
    for “former” please read “latter”

  8. Twm O'r Nant
    19/04/2012 at 7:13 am

    You know, it appears to me that every other week the Lords are not sitting. Likewise the Commons. No wonder it takes so long to reach finality on important issues.

    I don’t know how many Kilojoules or Calories are used whilst discussing in committees, but you certainly come out absolutely knackered from doing so, as though you have been on a long jog/run.

    Then you get outside and realize that you have done absolutely nothing and need plenty of exercice to recover.

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      19/04/2012 at 5:58 pm

      Twm O’r Nant: It rather links in with the point made by milesjsd as to what constitutes work. I believe in engaging in tasks that have clear and defined outcomes – where one can show one has produced something – rather than simply engaging in activity for the sake of it. I observe that some parliamentarians appear to spend a lot of time doing things but not achieving anything.

  9. Twm O'r Nant
    22/04/2012 at 7:10 am

    Lord Norton’s remark leads on to the notion of “ephemera” and what it constitutes.

    Going to the theatre is a pastime concerned with the ephemeral. Frequently nothing is achieved either by the Actor or by the audience viewer.

    Sometimes the playwright and the performer achieve great things, and they change people’s lives because of it. David Hare
    has dome something in the context of both political and personal attitude changes in the last few years, but generally the change
    is in the sphere of personal standards and morality.

    Politicians have similar effects, by making good Law.

    They can change people’s lives for the better.

    They rarely do, and in rarely doing so, make the Law as ephemeral as poorly created cinema and theatre.

    Art and sculpture is rather less ephemeral just a …… rip off as to what is good!

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