State Opening

Lord Norton

There was the usual pageantry for the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday.  Given that it was a two-year session, some new peers were attending the ceremony for the first time.  The chamber was packed.  (One year, there were empty benches at the back, the result apparently of a shortage of robes. )  The timetable doesn’t change, so everyone knows the routine.  Nowadays, there are television screens in the chamber, so we can see what is going on outside.  Previously, we would be sat in the chamber for over an hour waiting for the Queen to arrive, without seeing any of the proceedings leading up to her arrival. 

The occasion is symbolically important as it is the one occasion when the legal entity of Parliament – the Queen-in-Parliament – assembles.   As peers, we have to wear our robes.  (It was quite hot wearing them.  One advantage when State Opening was in November was that it was cooler.)   As regular readers will know, one thing guaranteed to infuriate peers is when a story about the House of Lords appears in the press and it is accompanied by a picture of peers at State Opening.    

The ceremony is quite short.  This year, the speech was rather sparse in content, and the Queen sounded a little hoarse in reading it.  It was well trailed that there would be a reference to reform of the Lords, but the reference came towards the end of the speech and in rather opaque form.   A Bill would be brought forward to reform the composition of the House.  There was no reference to election.  That leaves quite a degree of latitude.  The fight goes on.

11 comments for “State Opening

  1. Chris K
    11/05/2012 at 1:31 pm

    Didn’t it used to be October/November before?

  2. MilesJSD
    11/05/2012 at 1:53 pm

    “The fight goes on”
    but Lord, it is not The Greater Good Fight (that God requires us to “fight with all of our might”)
    nor is it maintaining and increasing “our might”
    namely on behalf of the better Health, Citizenship, and Environmental-Lifesupportiveness of every level of The People,
    and of the longterm sustainment of our Common Lifesupports.

    “The speech was sparse in content” and “the Queen sounded hoarse” merely mentioning “a Bill to reform The Lords” (but no reference to the ‘election’ nub therein) which “leaves a degree of latitude”
    ((and a Solo Legal Sovereign in ill-health her own-self, whilst complicitly-effectively suppressing the Better Health of Her People:
    (Luke 11v53 springs relevantly to mind)).

    Once again, no long-term Sustainworthy
    Strategy,
    only more quick economic fixes
    to keep the World’s 7 billion people
    (rising by 2050 to 11 billion)
    “marking-time” where we all were in 2009, consuming Two (2) Earthsworth of non-renewable and partly-renewable resources (rising by 2050 to Three (3) Earthsworth);-

    and one relatively tiny such “quick fix” this day is evidently
    ‘now no shortage of costly majestic robes, for all of the Peers
    (to bravely and dutifully ‘sweat-it-out’ in,
    once every few years)
    ————
    “Someone needs to get it through to the Economists that they have a fundamental equation quite wrong somewhere”
    (Professor David Smith, Australian Universirty of New England NSW & The Open University on TV “Environmental Studies”; author “Continent in Crisis”).

    Likewise surely someone needs to get it through to both The Queen and the Two Houses of Parliament that they too have “got an equation wrong somewhere”.

  3. Matt
    11/05/2012 at 6:49 pm

    You HAVE to wear a robe?? Why??

    • MilesJSD
      12/05/2012 at 4:24 pm

      Ah! Matt
      therein lies the History

      (equivocational interpretations may be apposite for “lies” or “his-story”, or for both, perhaps)

  4. Nazma FOURRE
    12/05/2012 at 12:23 am

    I do think that the lords power in the house of lords should be increased and should pass in a by election process, just like members of parliament who are elected out of the 659 consitutuencies of the United Kingdom.This measure could invest more lawlords in the house of lords for the increasing needs of the population regarding social matters and any prior law which nees to be debated and thus the question of the ratio of proportionality in the number of peers in the House of the lords is not going to be raised.
    I find it also weird pardon me Lord, that a Lord from the house of Lords could become a member of parliament unless he gives up his peerages but a member of parliament can never be a member of the House of the lords, and this is not fair.
    In the world of democracy where the Queen does not longer rule but reigns, I think that the lords should be elected by people just like Members of Parliament so that their numbers in this house are not seconded to the amount of lords who are bound to be present in the House of Lords.

    Nazma FOURRE

  5. Tory boy
    12/05/2012 at 2:37 pm

    I saw Earl Ferrers in the chamber in a wheel chair has he been unwell?

  6. maude elwes
    13/05/2012 at 11:31 am

    @Lord Norton:

    A picture of you fully robed would be a treat. I bet you looked wonderful.

    Usually you are not slow to show.

  7. Gareth Howell
    16/05/2012 at 4:03 pm

    that a Lord from the house of Lords could become a member of parliament unless he gives up his peerages but a member of parliament can never be a member of the House of the lords, and this is not fair

    Nazma Fourre; it would be difficult for a peer to walk from one chamber to the other and speak with impunity, and without making it clear that he has disclaimed his peerage.

    It really only has to be done, say, for the course of a parliament. It is the self discipline of the peer or member himself which is in question not the discipline of the chambers, with the different rules of order that they avow.

    A former peer, recognisable as such in the HofC as a former peer, has to disclaim when confronted with what may be the unfortunate facts!

    Rather like a deed poll name change.

    A few peers have succeeded in moving freely from one house to the other, “seamlessly”(!) in such a way, in recent years; to the commons and back again, though difficult now that Hereds have to be elected amongst themselves.

  8. Nazma FOURRE
    19/05/2012 at 10:19 pm

    I totally agree with the statute,that lords should give up his peerages before being MPs, but what I totally disagree, with is that an MP can never be a member of the house of lord and be at least a life peer as it is very frequent to see people from common walks namely in politics or judiciairy , having no prior knowledge of the functionning of parliament sit and vote in the House of Lords under no specific criteria. Garett Howell I think that law should be fair for both houses, why can a member of parliament not be able at least once in his or her life have the priviledge to sit as a life peer in the house of lords whereas the other around, life peers can sit in the house of commons unless he gives up his peerages?
    Nazma FOURRE

  9. Nazma FOURRE
    25/05/2012 at 11:12 am

    Dear Lord
    I do think that there is still room for improvement regarding the appointments of life peerages in the House of Lord.The appointement of life peerages to sit in the House of Lords, is rather too selective, pardon me Lord,if I am wrong.Among the criterias which may disqualify many candidates, is that they should reside in the United Kingdom and must belong to one of the common wealth countries.These measures do seem quite outdated and from my point of views, the appointment committee should select on a model of this new society where people do travel a lot namely people engaged in artistical activites. Those potential life peerages are not bound to live in the United Kingdom . Secondly the fact that they should belong to the common wealth countries , does seem to be a limited criteria restreigning many potential candidates to contribute and submit law proposals to the house of lords. I do think this selection should in fact be opened to the European community since uk is part of the European Community.So I do think Lord Norton, that criterias of appointed life peerages should be changed according to our changing society.
    God bless the United Kingdom. God save the Queen.
    Nazma FOURRE

  10. Nazma FOURRE
    26/05/2012 at 3:44 pm

    Dear Lord
    Following the reforms of lords act in 1999,I would have wished the house of lords opposition to this issue of the reduction of hereditary peerages to the compromise number of 92 hereditary peers who are allowed to sit in the house of lords actually.
    Since this act, dear Lord , the hereditary peerages have lost their rights to sit and vote in the house of lords and the compromise number of 92 hereditary peers is alarmingly unsufficient.

    I do wish honorable lord that you can propose to review back this lords reforms act of 1999 for as a lord you have the possibility to make necessary ammendments to any bill proposed by the members of Parliament. This legislation act should be reviewed to preserve the rights of the Lords in the House of Lords.In the name of the House of Lords , might I suggest you to propose a bill ?

    “Be it enacted that the number of peerages is actually 92 compared to 659 members of parliaments”
    “Be it enacted after the reforms act of 1999, hereditary peers have lost their rights to sit in the house of lords”
    ” Be it enacted that the lords are allowed to make necessary ammendments to the proposed bill”
    ” Be it enacted in consideration of the lowest and unfair number of hereditary peers who form the house of lords, a current review should be set up to level the number of peers to an equal proportionnality in the name of a democratic vote system in parliament.”
    “By the way of the actual legislation, the lords reform acts should be removed”

    God save the Queen. God Bless the united Kingdom.
    Nazma FOURRE

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