A parliamentary anniversary….

Lord Norton

I’m conscious that I have been neglecting the blog.  A combination of commitments and marking has meant that what little time I have had available has been devoted to research.  I am working on three research projects, or rather four but three have submission deadlines that are not that far away.  All three are related to Parliament.  One is on the oratory of Enoch Powell – it follows my 2011  Speaker’s Lecture on Powell as a parliamentarian (published in Eminent Parliamentarians) – and another is on Parliament and human rights.   However, the most estensive and time-consuming is on the 1922 Committee. 

The 1922 Committee is in effect the Parliamentary Conservative Party.  Were it to be called the Parliamentary Conservative Party it would doubtless cause less confusion than that created by the name by which it is  popularly known.  (It decided in 1943 to change its name to the Conservative and Unionists Members Committee, but no one appears to have taken any notice; even the Committee continues to call itself the 1922 Committee.)   This year marks the 90th anniversary of its founding.  It was not actually founded in 1922, but in April 1923.  Its name derives from the fact that it was founded by some MPs first elected in the 1922 election.  It was only later that other MPs were invited to join. 

I am busy undertaking research to mark this anniversary.  I spent yesterday at the Bodleian Library in Oxford going through the minutes of the Committee.  I have spent time in the Bodleian before researching the minutes (for an earlier publication), but I wanted to bring the research up to date.   Going through the minutes of the 1922 Committee may not be everybody’s cup of tea – indeed, I seem to be one of the few people who have read them – but to me the material is fascinating.   This is the sort of research that makes my day.   Then again, I did spend years in the underground stacks of Sheffield University Library researching Hansard (manually going through about 3,000 division lists) and The Times for my PhD, so I’m well trained.

13 comments for “A parliamentary anniversary….

  1. MilesJSD
    20/02/2013 at 4:36 pm

    We had no idea Lord Norton has been thus for so long strapped-for-time (me and a few likewise-interested ‘mates’)

    but we are to a soul genuinely concerned now about the noble lord’s possible ‘lone-vulnerability’ to being ‘wrong-jungled’*

    We/You already know that (“) planet Earth can longest-term** support at most 3 billion people but is already being made to
    support 7 billion, and ‘planned’ by 2050 to support 11 billion – but 7 billion need two-Earthsworth of resources just to ‘mark-time’ at 2009 standards worldwide,
    and 11 billion will need three-Earthsworth (“).

    * One of the USA’s leadership-trainers tells of a Jungle-Logging Team, whose leader had to go alone to the highest hill and the tallest tree in order to view the 360 degree panorama of ‘nothing-but-trees’ to confirm the chainsaw-team was in the earmarked-non-protected patch.

    Horror, he sees that the team had already started felling a prime-protected tract of trees and was rapidly clearing them.
    Raising his amplified-megaphone he yells
    “wrong-jungle – WRONG-JUNGLE ”
    but comes back an even more powerful bellow:
    “Shaddup! we’re making terrific progress” .
    ** longest-term = however-many-years it will take, for our Human Race’s leaders to succeed in
    (a) finding a human-lifesupportive second Earth elsewhere in the local-galaxy
    (b) technologically mounting an emigration-fleet thereto
    (c) ensuring at least a ‘comfortably-frugal’ End-of-the-World for those many humans who will have to remain on this Earth-One ]

    “The 1922 Committee” also looks ‘way behind the times’ like that ‘blindfolded’ work-party, felling “the wrong jungle”.
    We have no doubt that Lord Norton is one of Britain’s best science-academic and government-history researchers, and is capable of quite laserly training his trained-and-experienced eye on whatever chosen- or given-topic he shoulders.

    Yet seriously citizenlike, surely we need to be concerned lest any our best are being misled, misdirected, or in other ways ‘gagged’, ‘de-facto-muffled’, or plain-party-politically ‘strung-along’ (?)

  2. Malden Capell
    21/02/2013 at 9:07 am

    I have a feeling I will be doing a similar gargantuan research project of my own soon Lord Norton; any tips on how you organise yourself on it, plan and know what you’re looking for?

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      22/02/2013 at 6:39 pm

      Malden Capell: This particular research builds on earlier research of mine on the 1922 Committee (published in Seldon and Ball, Conservative Century), so I already had a framework. I always start with my research design and create the basic chapter or section headings. I then research the material before starting to draft each section.

  3. maude elwes
    21/02/2013 at 10:22 am

    @Lord Norton:

    I received this notification from my American friend who is furious at the changes in law being made by the US government that excludes those making these laws from having to abide by them. The citizens of the US are therefore in the process of trying to take their government to court.

    Goers those yanks. I’ll give them that. They do find ways to hit back at those who lead them against their will and against them being taken by that lead in a way they were not elected to do or in any way did not divulge their intention to do so.

    Here it is:

    Subject: FW: Well worth reading


    One to forward!

    Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

    This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on.
    This is an idea that we should address.

    For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. They specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that passed … in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever . The self-serving must stop.

    If each person that receives this will forward it on to 15 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

    Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States …”

    You are one of my 15.

    In God we trust!

  4. GaretHugHowell
    21/02/2013 at 11:25 am

    I am writing a wider family history which takes me from Ireland+Wales to Italy, and from the 9thC to the 21st. It is coming along well. Noah and his ark is involved.
    If I decide to attend the HofL, when I am old enough,(ave age 70+) it may well have been published by then.

    Enoch Powell, with whom I was very agreeably acquainted, was an exceptional man, very much misunderstood. I trust the noble Lord will put that to rights if not the causes of the 1922 Committee, some of whose chairmen have been very odd indeed. The current anti-common market stance is puerile, and thoroughly foolish, exactly like the far right party of Kilroy and Farage.

    Powell’s papers at Caius, so the noble lord will have to go to the other place for them.
    Caius is also said to hold ancient Charters of England signed by Hywel dda.

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      22/02/2013 at 6:40 pm

      GaretHugHowell: You may therefore find my chapter on Enoch Powell, in Eminent Parliamentarians, of some interest.

      • GaretHugHowell
        27/02/2013 at 7:52 pm

        I’ll see if I can afford a look!!!

        When I met him in 1976 or thereabouts, my late Dad said
        “Just say Welsh Martyr to him, and see what he says!”

        I duly did but I am not sure that I got a reply to that especially.

        Builth Wells seemed to be the place of origin of that branch of the Powell Family (Ap Howell). The Welsh martyr was one John Penry, who was also a Powell, matrilineally.

        Penry was hanged by Whitgift for translating and publishing the Bible in to Welsh in 1594, one of two men who were hanged for that initiative. Powell was certainly a communicant Anglican in the spirit of Henry Tudor, which is one of the family dictates!

        That man!

  5. Frank W. Summers III
    21/02/2013 at 8:03 pm

    Lord Norton,

    The real mysteries are usually unlocked in the great collections of remote documents a few meters or yards from the busy and ever-changing circulating stacks…

    • ladytizzy
      22/02/2013 at 4:36 pm

      Frank, did you have this in mind:


      • Frank W. Summers III
        22/02/2013 at 7:31 pm

        Lady Tizzy,

        It is a great picture. However, I actually did have in mind sources completely unpublished or minimally published. In my case that meant many hours spent in Hill Library at LSU and The Louisiana Room at UL reading the “Papeles Procedientes de Cuba” in Spanish and in the Roy Stryker Papers at Ekstrom Archives at the University of Louisville, private authors papers at the Center for Louisiana Studies and in rooms and cases of old notarial archives and caches…

  6. Senex
    26/02/2013 at 2:06 pm

    Progress on the SSM bill is linked below.

    Matthew Palmer Pro Vice Chancellor (Law and Government) and Dean of Law, Victoria University of Wellington and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law asks a simple question:

    “What is the New Zealand constitution and who interprets it?”

    Lords of the Blog asks:

    “What is the British Constitution and who interprets it?”

    Research papers: where are they?

    Ref: Bill stages – Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13
    What is New Zealand’s constitution and who interprets it? Constitutional realism and the importance of public office-holders

    • maude elwes
      02/03/2013 at 7:06 am

      When you glance at the link you provided, Senex, the overwhelming feeling on reading those who were named is, why are so many of these people who lead us, obsessed with same sex affairs? What is the draw here? What percentage of the population are they ‘unreasonably’ concerned about? What is the true agenda? And so on. To the outsider, it strikes a note of over representation in power of a very small section of society who are noe participating in the running of our country. And whether having such ‘over representation’ in this respect, is healthy or sensible in the daily life applications of the nation. Especially when one considers the dire state of our economy, health service, schools, elderly care, homelessness, people in need of food, and on and on.

      The presumption then has to be, they have nothing better to centre on than side line politics and self promotion of some kind. Which is a very inept way to be govern a modern society.

      It all strikes of Henry VIII, too much emphasis on sexuality, rather than the good of the people. The tax payer is not into shelling out his/her cash to enable fetishists to indulge in their escapist machinations on their ride. It all smacks loudly of these people who take up political life today being unfit for purpose in the extreme. And a shadow of insanity havng consumed all of them.

      Which brings us full circle to the latest by election result in Eastleigh. Listening to the spokesmen put forward by the parties as they read us their party line is terrifying. Who comes up with this nonsense? UKIP better seriously start readying themselves for take over of power. Obviously the ordinary man feels he has no alternative.

      Or, it is time for a serously concerned and ‘genuine’ leader, with feet on the ground, to come forward and create an acceptable alternative party we can support. What we need is a clean sweep right across the political spectrum.


      And the voice of the status quo. It’s simply a protest. Simply a protest. Scotland has no Tory vote, George Galloway took his seat without serious opposition, and the rest are on the verge of revolution, yet, this was just a protest vote. You are not listening simply centering on minority factions whilst you pretend that is the front runner of modernity. Shame on your all your houses.


  7. GaretHugHowell
    27/02/2013 at 7:59 pm

    What is the New Zealand constitution and who interprets it?

    From time to time it is a constitutional theocracy, with a governor general appointed by the UK Privy council.

    Even when it is not run by a cleric as Governor general, it may still be a theocracy, as appointed by the Queen, head of the Church of England, and privy council of the UK.

    It is a clone of the UK in a time warp of 40 years.

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