Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lobbying the Lords

A correspondent writes:

"I have taken on board what you said about keeping MPs aware of the issues, especially when the Bill is published at the end of November. In addition to more lobbying, would it be in order to arrange some kind of showcase event at the Houses of Parliament for particularly gifted home educated people? I can think of a couple of families with children of exceptional musical talent.

Having steered clear of politics in the past, I do not fully understand how the system works in regard to the House of Lords. Should we be approaching members of the Lords, other than yourself, for help? How do we choose who to contact in the light of there being no constituencies."

No, the Lords is reactive not proactive, by and large, so the time to lobby is when the bill has been published or, if it starts in the Commons, when it has had its third reading there. We have no staff, so early lobbying tends to get forgotten before the time arrives when we can affect things.


Anonymous Dave H said...

So if they manage to get a Bill to the Lords, what happens next? Are you open to taking input on proposals for amendments? I assume there's also a limit on the number of amendments that can be reasonably submitted, but it would be nice to at least tighten up the wording so that it conforms exactly to what ministers have been promising and leaves them (and councils) no room for further encroachment on our liberty and privacy. Too many bills under this government have been sloppy (possibly deliberately so) and have been used in ways that were, so we're told, never intended.

8:17 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

Once the bill has arrived in the Lords we ought to open up all its aspects for discussion, and arrive at a set of amendments (there's no limit to the number) to do exactly as you suggest.

I suggest we use this blog to begin with, and then have a few tens of people to a half-day meeting if needed.

8:34 am  
Blogger C. Blades said...

How do we choose which Lords to lobby when the time comes?

8:06 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

C Blades, there are no rules as Lords have no territory.

My suggestion would be to get a group of you together - there are 760-odd Lords - with varied backgrounds, and then (using the book called Dods Parliamentary Companion which has brief biogs of us all) divi us up among you in whatever way seems to you to be the best match, and write us a personal letter along the lines of:

May I come and see you?

The XXX Bill threatens - whatever it does threaten

I am - HE, and enough of your background to make Lord think he might enjoy meetiing you

Reason why Lord might be interested to meet a real HE-er and talk about HE (e.g. given your background in ...)

Contact details

Possible dates 2-3 weeks ahead

All on one side of A4

but of course there may be other ways that suit you better.

General points to remember are:

- wait until the Bill is on its way to the Lords, most of us have too much to do to want to deal with next month's problem now

- make it personal and short. Most of us receive a large pile of mail every day, and have no secretarial support to speak of. Leave the tomes till they're asked for.

- don't be downhearted at refusals; you only need half a dozen of us to decide to spend time on HE. The moral support of all those who are attracted to your cause but have too much else on their plates will suffice.

- keep a good record of who said what to whom. If we need to rally support for an amendment, this will be a great help.

- put aside whatever arguments you have with other HEers or organisations. Diversity is fine, but in politics division leads to defeat.

9:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So lord Lucas your going to make amendments to this bill not throw it out? in other words a sell out! you agree with checks on home educators and yo want anther list dont you of home educators for more checks? we just be saying no!

6:17 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

I can't sell out - I have never bought in.

HE will only be a small part of any bill, and amendment may mean cutting it out - we have to wait and see what the government publish.

As for your underlying philosphy, that the state should leave you alone to do as you wish, I'd like to hear you argue that at greater length. There have been times - and are places - where that's the philosophy in all sorts of ways. The UK seems to be at the other end of that pendulum's swing at the moment, with all the received wisdom in favour of care, safety and other such unarguable words with nasty consequences.

11:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have brought in Lord Lucas your part of the ruling elite! and do very well out of it? We know your in favour of a Register for home educators fine if you dont prison? your settle for a register wont you with goverment is that the deal your after? you can then make out you done your bit for home educators!
Of course the state should leave us alone unless they is real evidence of abuse.you dont search every one house for stolen goods you target your search! the police do not agree with searching everywhere it would be crazy to do this!
We just be saying no to Badman DCSF annd Balls no meeting here no home visit nothing and your be pleased to know this has been the case since home education began for me June 23 2003.dispite many threats which i faced down! that is what hurts these silly civil servents the most we just will not do as we are told!

2:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. Very helpful information re: contacting Lords.

12:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lucas, the fact is that nature will swing that pendulum back. If you interfere too greatly with the human instinct to nurture, you will find that there will be a huge backlash. The pendulum has swung too far. It is time to give the child back to the parent and trust them to do what nature intended. To love and cherish and to protect. Safeguarding should be minimal to detect deviants. It should not intrude on the very instinctual act of caring for ones young. Any Lord worth his or her salt would always keep this in mind when considering legislation.

11:04 pm  
Blogger C. Blades said...

I have created a Wikiversity page for the Children Schools and Families Bill. You can find it here: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Children_Schools_and_Families_Bill

10:47 pm  
Anonymous Hilbre A said...

Thank you for your invaluable advice. When does the bill actually go to the Lords? Is it now? I do not want to start lobbying prematurely - but neither do I want to be too late.

12:37 pm  

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