“Play it again King John”–Reflections on Magna Carta

Lord Bates

Have you ever suffered the misfortune to sit next to some know-it-all reflecting on the cinematic masterpiece that is the 1942 movie Casablanca and pronouncing in a loud stage whisper that Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) never actually said “Play it again Sam”? So what if it was Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) who actually said, “Play…

Women peers and leadership

Lord Norton

The House appoints tomorrow the members of four ad hoc committees established for this session  – on the Equality Act 2010 (looking at the impact on people with disabilities), Sexual Violence in Conflict, Social Mobility, and the Built Environment.  What is notable is that each is being chaired by a female peer – Baroness Deech (cross-bencher), Baroness Nicholson of…

Northern Ireland

Lord Hylton

I know from many visits to Northern Ireland,and from experience within our own family, that society there is still deeply divided.  Government at all levels has a responsibility to help people to heal the division.  I can make three suggestions for government action: 1:  Work on investigating and prosecuting politically motivated crimes committed before 1994…

Losing members of the House

Lord Norton

The size of the House of Lords has been exercising observers and peers for some time.  The membership has grown substantially, or rather the active membership has done so.  The current membership is not that much different to what it was in 1948, but the active membership is something in the order of seven to eight times larger. …

Gaza “Charting a New Course”

Lord Hylton

This 30-page document, with full footnotes and references, comes from the Association of International Development Agencies, signed by 49 of their members, and dated 13.04.15.  It recalls how 60 nations met in Cairo in October 2014 and pledged $3.5 billions for reconstruction.  Of this sum only $524 millions has yet been released.  Qatar and Saudi…

Where is the Single Market in European Rail?

Lord Berkeley

Easter 2015 message from Tony Berkeley A single market in the rail sector is still years away, with Germany and France leading the opposition.   Another example…  Siamese twin rail monopolies; don’t be fooled by DB and SNCF introducing competition within themselves! France and Germany have long led the opposition to any competition above rail for…

Rescuing those drowning in the Mediterranean

Lord Hylton

In recent years refugees and migrants have been desperately trying to reach Europe from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and even Morocco.  In 2014 some 3400 people are thought to have drowned, even though many more were rescued from the sea. This year the pressure is likely to be even greater, because of wars in Syria, Libya,…

The Right to Buy

Lord Hylton

The Conservative Party is fishing in troubled waters by proposing new rights for tenants to buy houses and flats.  It is a mistake to do this across the whole country, without regard to local needs and to the supply and demand for rented properties at affordable rents.  This was why I rejected the Conservative Whip…