Finding out about the House of Lords

Lord Norton

The House of Lords has a strong commitment to outreach and engagement.  This includes the  ‘Peers in Schools’ programme as well as this blog, a unique collaboration of members drawn from different parts of the House.  The House also publishes a range of literature to explain what it does and to provide data on its activities.  Visitors to the House can acquire a range of booklets on the work of the House.  These help draw out the extent of the work as well as showing that a great deal of activity takes place outside the chamber.  There is a booklet for each of the House’s five ‘sessional’ committees.  The booklets are also available online, so if you want to find out more simply click here.

5 comments for “Finding out about the House of Lords

  1. Senex
    04/04/2014 at 11:03 am

    Have you considered that outreach could also be considered an Athenian quality? The Athenians took the view that democracy should be inclusive of everybody without a central authority. The citizen enmasse would take executive decisions.

    This demanded that each citizen had equality.

    The HoL is a house of peers or equals, again another Athenian quality. An observer at question time in the HoL, lets call him Socrates, would soon realise that this equality sometimes amounted to chaos. He would be bound to conclude that a central authority or hierarchy was needed to manage things.

    So a name could be put to Parliaments controlling authority ‘ the usual channels’: Socrates.

    In both houses members in live debate are able to bring technology into chamber, Twitter for example. This inreach is also an Athenian quality. The citizen is able in real time to influence proceedings perhaps by providing evidence to members but does such distraction undermine what is required of the legislator? Could such an influence swing the vote on a crucial matter?

    This does raise the tantalising prospect of a return to Athenian style democracy where the present executive is diminished and outreach enables the big decisions to be made. If people had equality then there could be no dependence on others for succour.

    Socrates would have his following now as he did then.

    • Rhoderick Gates
      05/04/2014 at 9:20 am

      The Athenian principle would actually produce a different second chamber than the House of Lords. Like a jury.

      That was proposed to the Joint Committee on the recent ‘reform’ Bill for the HoL, titled ‘The Athenian Principle’, but was dismissed. The possibility for the average citizen to become a Peer is no greater than a MP in the House of Commons, in its present form.

      • Senex
        07/04/2014 at 5:14 pm

        I agree about the jury.

        The word democracy roles glibly off the tongue and the naïve accept it without question. Democracy is more complex being composed of both Athenian and Socratic constructs.

        The likeness between the HoL and Athens is a good example of convergent evolution. In Athens its the people or plebeian that is given the power of the executive. For the HoL, powerful nobles need to talk as equals to each other and who are given this power.

        These are essential first principles for any wishing to make the transition to democracy. For poor countries still with a large agrarian economy the bias in both chambers would be better suited to Athenian democracy. In wealthier more industrialised economies the Socratic principal might be affordable. The US for example is heavily Socratic with little or no Athenian merit. Switzerland by contrast is a good blend of Athenian (referenda) and Socratic qualities.

        This blogs prospectus for an indirectly elected house preserves the Athenian principle by levelling civic society’s most powerful groups, enabling them to talk with one another. If the Commons were to become utterly dysfunctional then it’s the HoL that would have to govern. The HoL in this respect would, and should be our Plan B.

        A reformed HoL on Socratic principle would be a disaster.

        Plan C is for Parliament to grant a lease to the Monarchy for a full or partial restoration of its powers. This prospect grows ever closer as people abandon democracy.

  2. tizres
    04/04/2014 at 8:58 pm

    Lord Norton, is this a new thing? I was slightly alarmed at seeing the View Cart/ Continue Shopping/ Checkout links but followed it thought to the point where it asked for my personal details, then stopped.

    And mrm.co.uk, a ‘below the line’ (BTL) marketing service? I can do you a cheaper quote, honest.

  3. maude elwes
    08/04/2014 at 9:33 am

    Talking of cheaper quotes. I read in the Guardian an interesting titbit of information regarding how our ministers and their opposition get paid. And I wondered if the Lords inmates also do very nicely from our foreign or even, not so foreign, money launderers.

    Here in this link we see a copy of this comment that came today, you will see how much Mr Miliband receives from those outside of Parliament when we are told ‘they work for us.’ And as this thread is titled ‘Finding Out About the House of Lords’ I felt this would be a good way to find out how much they get paid, if anything, and by whom, for what they do on ‘our’ behalf.

    1nn1t millionsofopinions

    08 April 2014 9:47am
    Recommended
    14

    There’ a list of what they’ve declared on the wittily named They Work ForY ou.

    Here’s one for David Milliband

    It starts like this:

    1. Directorships
    Vice-Chairman and non-executive director, Sunderland AFC, from 1 February 2011, 12-15 days a year, £75,000. Address: Sunderland AFC, Stadium of Light, Sunderland SR5 1SU
    Received £25,000 on 23 June 2011. Hours: 3 days. (Registered 13 April 2012)
    Received £25,000 on 23 October 2011. Hours: 3 days. (Registered 13 April 2012)
    Received £25,000 on 23 July 2012. Hours: 3 days. (Registered 3 August 2012)
    Received £25,000. Hours: 2 days. (Registered 25 October 2012)

    a little further down the page we read

    Senior Advisor to VantagePoint CleanTech Advisory Council, from 1 August 2011. Address: VantagePoint Capital Partners, 1001 Bayhill Drive, Suite 300, San Bruno, CA 94066. Payment on a quarterly basis. (£90,001-£95,000) (Registered 22 July 2011)
    Quarterly payment of £23,210. Hours: 1 day. (Registered 9 May 2012)
    Quarterly payment of £23,210. Hours: 1 day. (Registered 3 August 2012)
    Quarterly payment of £23,210. Hours: 1 day. (Registered 25 October 2012)
    Quarterly payment of £23,210. Hours: 1 day. (Registered 1 February 2013)

    and therre’s:

    Senior Advisor to Indus Basin Holdings, from 30 January 2012. Address: No 5, Street 15, Sector F-7/2, Islamabad, Pakistan. Payment on a quarterly basis. (Registered 16 February 2012)
    Quarterly payment of £7,560.85 from Indus Basin Holdings. Hours: half a day. (Registered 19 May 2012)
    Quarterly payment of £7,560.85 from Indus Basin Holdings. Hours: half a day. (Registered 3 August 2012)

    But, nonethless, Working for You ( and that measly £60,000 you gave him).

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    redduke749 1nn1t

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