Do watch Steve Richards’ Leadership Reflections talks on TV

The older readers among you will remember the TV lectures on history, diplomacy and warfare by A J P Taylor. With a map as the background, Taylor stood in front of the camera and expounded his views. These lectures were riveting in their erudition and scope. Other TV lecturers in the same period, Prof Sir Mortimer Wheeler on archaeology, and Lt Gen Sir Brian Horrocks on battles, were as captivating just talking to camera.

This type of TV lecture seems to have gone out of fashion, until now with journalist and columnist Steve Richards’ Leadership Reflections – a series of unscripted talks on the theme of leadership focusing on six prime ministers.

We’ve watched five of the six programmes, only Tony Blair remaining, and have enjoyed Steve Richards talks enormously. Having lived through the era of all six prime ministers his reflections resonated with me.

The, difficult to find, lectures are on the BBC Parliament Channel, and now on they’re on iPlayer, there’s no excuse to not watch them.

Predicted Parliamentary constituency election results at ward level

My dear wife found the Seat Explorer in the Electoral Calculus website, which gives ward by ward predictions for every parliamentary constituency. It’s a well-presented and easy to use resource, and is well worth time, for political nerds, having a wander around.

Below is their ward predictions for the Surrey Heath constituency. I ‘ll compare their predication to the result, and show them both here. [Click on the image to go directly to the website]

Respect to those who lost their lives, were injured, and who gave assistance

As the information about the terrorist incident in Westminster became clearer, it was obviously serious with 5 deaths and 40 injured.

My intended posts seem a little banal in comparison to the death of the unarmed policeman, the display of courage by the police and the MP Tobias Elwood.

Think Prime Minister’s words about the incident appropriate to repeat here,

“Once again today, these exceptional men and women ran towards the danger, even as they encouraged others to move the other way.”

“These streets of Westminster, home to the world’s oldest parliament, are ingrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe.”

I recommend Harry Cole’s witness report in The Sun for it’s brutal reality of horror and heroism.

The Houses of Parliament restoration and renewal programme

There’s been much comment about the restoration project for the Houses of Parliament. Now Parliament has published – through its Restoration and Renewal website – where the restoration is needed, including the various reports of the need for renewal. Click on the image below to link to the website.

houses-of-parliament-restoration-website

Alternative legal opinions on the High Court judgement on Parliament’s Brexit vote

I’ve read the whole High Court judgment on the case of Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. You can read it HERE.

The point of law was whether the Government had the power to sign Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. The judges said no it had not, and in consequence Parliament must have a vote prior to its signing.

In our constitution Parliament sits above the law – not though the rule of law. Inasmuch that the Government is answerable to Parliament. I suppose you could say that Parliament is superior to Government. Government governs – such a simple concept. Parliament oversees and holds the Government to account – again a simple concept. No need for the Judges to interpret this process – when it’s blindingly obvious what the nation expects the government and parliament to do – and that is to sign Article 50 to leave the EU.

judicial-power-projectIf you’d like to read some learned legal views on the High Court judgement, then you can at the Judicial Power Project. Pleasingly they’ve got five short legal critiques, and other brief legal views of what happens next, and the bigger picture.

Here’s the final part of one of the five views, worth reading all five. This one by Richard Ekins [click to read], who is Associate Professor of Law in the University of Oxford and Head of the Judicial Power Project.

The Government’s intention to trigger art. 50 by way of the royal prerogative, challenged in Miller, is entirely consistent with this rule. It is consistent also with responsible government and parliamentary democracy, for the Government is and always has been accountable to Parliament for its exercise of the prerogative.

Parliamentary sovereignty is rightly fundamental to our constitution. But the Miller judgment was not necessary to protect it and, welcome rhetoric notwithstanding, does nothing to uphold it.

Boundary Commission proposals see Bisley moved to Woking constituency

The Boundary Commission for England proposals, viewable from today, maybe not the hottest topic for the general public, What with more people interested in GBBO’s likely move to Channel 4, the Archers court case result, the weather, and David Cameron’s swift exit from Parliament.

However, the Boundary Commission for England’s proposals will rumble on in political circles for months, and months to come.

Do the proposals affect Surrey. Not a great deal. See what’s proposed at Initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries in the South East region. In short, they’re not proposing changes to the number of constituencies, only moving wards in some constituencies to balance the number of electorates per constituency. Here’s what they say about Surrey Heath,

86: In addition to transferring the Byfleet ward, we propose other changes to the existing Woking constituency. We propose including the Bisley ward from the existing Surrey Heath constituency in our Woking constituency. This is the only change we proposed to the existing Surrey Heath constituency. In the eastern part of our Woking constituency, we propose that it include the Borough of Guildford Send ward from the existing Mole Valley constituency.

Here are the tables from the Appendix in the report of ward sizes – first table is Woking, and the second is Surrey Heath.

woking-constituency

surrey-heath-constituency

‘Europe and the Sovereignty of the People’ a talk by Vernon Bogdanor

I liked Professor Vernon Bogdanor’s lecture on The Queen at 90′ so much I’m posting another of his lectures.

This is his lecture on Europe and the Sovereignty of the People’, delivered on 30 June 2016 at Europe House, London, under the auspices of Nuffield College, Oxford, and filmed by the BBC Parliament Channel.

Sadly, I’ve not been able to find it on iPlayer in BBC Parliament Briefings as I had for The Queen at 90. So the transcript, below, will have to do. It’s an entertaining and hugely informative review of how referendums fit into our Parliamentary democracy. For example, Prof Bogdanor says,

The referendum gives us a form of constitutional protection—perhaps the only form of constitutional protection for a country without a written constitution—in which Parliament is sovereign and can do what it likes.