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Speakership and House Review: 14th Parliament

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    As the election begins to quieten down as everyone impatiently awaits the results, I thought it would be a good time to review the last Parliament and discuss how we’re going to improve things for the next one. I want this thread to be hive of ideas, so I’d welcome feedback from as many of you as possible, particularly the party leaders who have such a key role in boosting House activity.

    This is a thread for you to discuss your opinions of the House, along with any concerns and suggestions that you may have and suggestions for the future. It’s also an opportunity for you to review me! Comments and criticisms of my Speakership are welcome. It’s all useful as it’s constructive and helps me to do better.

    My ReviewI thought my The 14th Parliament was really quiet. A glance at Hansard shows how few bills were submitted compared with previous sessions and this was particularly felt in the first half. We had fewer than half of the bills of the previous session and though the winter session is normally quieter, this time around it was particularly bad. It did start to pick up towards the end and I’d like to think the motion challenge had something to do with it, but it was too little to redeem this session. However, maybe we can be hopefully that this increase in activity will carry over into the next parliament. Next session, we’ll do the motion challenge right from the start and hopefully we’ll see the number of bills and motions go up. If every party met their target, there would be something new to debate almost every day, yet it isn’t that much work for each party to meet their target – so my hope is with tabs being kept on how each party is doing, we’ll see an improvement.


    Activity is my concern, but there are other improvements that could be made in the way we work and I’ll share these with you once I’ve discussed them with Aaran, but for now, I think activity (as usual) is the main bug bear we need to address.

    So I’d really appreciate your views on the following:

    1) Your review of the last session

    2) Concerns and suggestions you have about the House

    3) Comments and criticisms of my Speakership

    4) Anything else you wish to raise!
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    I've not got much to compare with, but I think you've been a good speaker from what I've seen - impartial, active, and invested in improving the House.

    The only thing I can think of that might help would be if the records and details of the House's make-up were more prominent - there could be an article or thread outlining a list of MPs, the Cabinet, the Shadow Cabinet (kept recent and visible) etc. it would make it easier for beginners to get to grips with the House - I know I found that difficult myself. The resources could be updated and there could be a more generic introduction to the House - describing the process and such. I also like the idea of making Cabinet members more accountable. Similarly, we could start having white papers and published coalition agreements - make things more formal.
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    The last session was too quiet, with a government that seemed to disappear as soon as it had agreed a coalition.

    My major concern is that all parties can be fairly accused of poor activity, however the level activity shown by labour, the governing party was unacceptable. I'd suggest a bench mark of how many bills a party should aim to produce (at least) per term, maybe with 3 different benchmarks, satisfactory, good and excellent. this benchmark could then be compared to how many they actually produced at the beginning of the general election thread above or alongside the manifestos. I agree with what JPKC says about a visible thread with MPs and cabinet lists being easily accessible, its a good idea For me you've been a good speaker this session, and i'm more than happy with you continuing as speaker.

    Think we should have another go at coming up with some ideas to gain more new members to the house and think the by election worked well, and is a system we should use in the future when a party with seats collapses.
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    I think you've been an excellent speaker, and handled events well. There's no complaints on my end.

    I think we need to improve the information available about the House. Make it much more clear how it works and update all of the available information - it can be quite difficult to get all the knowledge about the House you need. dayne's intro was good, but I think it needs a new face for a new era.

    Having an up-to-date list of who all the 50 MPs are at any one time would be fantastic. If that could be partnered with a) their voting record (as a % how many bills so far this term they have voted on), and b) their Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet/internal Party position. I think greater scrutiny will lead to greater activity. Combine that with a motion challenge, and I think we can get things running again.

    I can't say I'm a huge fan of the by-election process - I think it rather unfairly tips the results in the favour of the larger parties, and against independent candidates. I'm not sure what an alternative would be, but it would be something I'd like to talk about with other parties.
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    Again, repeating what the others have said - excellent speaker.

    I think more should be done to increase the activity, so I propose an idea.

    The speaker creates a scenario, for example:

    The Bank of Dithering Idiots has defaulted on its debt. DBI employs 20,000 people here in the UK and is one of the major players in the City. etc etc

    Parties/Government then debate and respond with motions/bills
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    Actually, one other thing I would like to add - in the real Parliament, speakers who use "unparliamentary language" can be remonstrated by the Speaker. Would it be possible for you to do this, by admonishing those who you feel have taken a particularly abrasive tone?
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    Actually, one other thing I would like to add - in the real Parliament, speakers who use "unparliamentary language" can be remonstrated by the Speaker. Would it be possible for you to do this, by admonishing those who you feel have taken a particularly abrasive tone?
    Hear, hear!
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    Unparliamentary language is a wet idea, the application of any such rules could be completely arbitrary. Besides, we already have a moderation system to keep the language civil.
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    (Original post by JPKC)
    Unparliamentary language is a wet idea, the application of any such rules could be completely arbitrary. Besides, we already have a moderation system to keep the language civil.
    The Moderation system is letting you get away with making mine and other people's lives a misery. (From their point of view it is a difference of opinion)

    I urge the Speaker who has done a good job to take into account Members Welfare.
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    (Original post by MacCuishy)
    Again, repeating what the others have said - excellent speaker.

    I think more should be done to increase the activity, so I propose an idea.

    The speaker creates a scenario, for example:

    The Bank of Dithering Idiots has defaulted on its debt. DBI employs 20,000 people here in the UK and is one of the major players in the City. etc etc

    Parties/Government then debate and respond with motions/bills
    so what your suggesting is a bit like the hypes in the MUN? I like that idea
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    On the Review,

    Me like the scenario suggestion.
    Take into account Members Welfare
    Be tough on certain members if needs be
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    (Original post by Morgsie)
    The Moderation system is letting you get away with making mine and other people's lives a misery. (From their point of view it is a difference of opinion)
    I've never used particularly unparliamentary language, by comparison you've targeted personal insults like "liar" etc. at me on several occasions. The MHoC should not need laws to make up for your extraordinary sensitivity - by the way, I'm still waiting for you to start quoting these dreadful attacks I keep inflicting on you - the truth is, they're all in your head.
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    So I’d really appreciate your views on the following:

    1) Your review of the last session

    2) Concerns and suggestions you have about the House

    3) Comments and criticisms of my Speakership

    4) Anything else you wish to raise![/QUOTE]

    I think that last term continued the trend of the previous term which was declining activity and the first half seemed to be punctuated with large gaps (most of November and most of January). Fortunately it did seem that activity picked up from February onward with a few motions, leadership replacements and then bills coming out, though no party really got near their potential activity level. Unfortunately for stuff like VoNC's against leaders to occur, activity has to be low for a while and it was not until after mid-term when this occurred.

    I personally feel that the onus is on the party leaders. While you can give us the room to maneuver (the petitions and motions were a brilliant idea), the responsibility is on the party leaders to act because they drive their parties to create bills which in turn drives activity in the wider House (competition is great - do Labour really want to be dominated by Tories - no, so they increase activity). I feel that there is much that the leaders can do such as replacing inactive MPs (in the Tory constitution, any MP who does not vote 70%+ of the time in a period of one month must contest their seat, any MP who does not put out at least one bill or motion in one month will also be defending his seat - if all party leaders imposed minimum requirements then we would have much more activity because 50-60% division turnouts are pretty poor).

    You have been great.

    Nope, party leaders are the focus (we need a bottom up approach from the parties to be active to create an active House)!
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    (Original post by JPKC)
    I've not got much to compare with, but I think you've been a good speaker from what I've seen - impartial, active, and invested in improving the House.

    The only thing I can think of that might help would be if the records and details of the House's make-up were more prominent - there could be an article or thread outlining a list of MPs, the Cabinet, the Shadow Cabinet (kept recent and visible) etc. it would make it easier for beginners to get to grips with the House - I know I found that difficult myself. The resources could be updated and there could be a more generic introduction to the House - describing the process and such. I also like the idea of making Cabinet members more accountable. Similarly, we could start having white papers and published coalition agreements - make things more formal.
    Agree, more party transparency to the House.
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    (Original post by Moleman1996)
    The last session was too quiet, with a government that seemed to disappear as soon as it had agreed a coalition.

    My major concern is that all parties can be fairly accused of poor activity, however the level activity shown by labour, the governing party was unacceptable. I'd suggest a bench mark of how many bills a party should aim to produce (at least) per term, maybe with 3 different benchmarks, satisfactory, good and excellent. this benchmark could then be compared to how many they actually produced at the beginning of the general election thread above or alongside the manifestos. I agree with what JPKC says about a visible thread with MPs and cabinet lists being easily accessible, its a good idea For me you've been a good speaker this session, and i'm more than happy with you continuing as speaker.

    Think we should have another go at coming up with some ideas to gain more new members to the house and think the by election worked well, and is a system we should use in the future when a party with seats collapses.
    I agree with the party aims, from a Tory prospective the aim is for the equivalent of 1 bill to every 2 MPs over a two month period so 15 bills per term assuming 10 MPs (with motions in addition to this). If this standard was met across the House then we would have 75 bills in a term.
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    I think you've been an excellent speaker, and handled events well. There's no complaints on my end.

    I think we need to improve the information available about the House. Make it much more clear how it works and update all of the available information - it can be quite difficult to get all the knowledge about the House you need. dayne's intro was good, but I think it needs a new face for a new era.

    Having an up-to-date list of who all the 50 MPs are at any one time would be fantastic. If that could be partnered with a) their voting record (as a % how many bills so far this term they have voted on), and b) their Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet/internal Party position. I think greater scrutiny will lead to greater activity. Combine that with a motion challenge, and I think we can get things running again.

    I can't say I'm a huge fan of the by-election process - I think it rather unfairly tips the results in the favour of the larger parties, and against independent candidates. I'm not sure what an alternative would be, but it would be something I'd like to talk about with other parties.
    I actually prefer the by-elections being party central, having 1 independent mixes things up but having 3-4 takes away from the House structure i would think.
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    I'm not sure scenarios are a good idea. Ideally, we should be discussing real life events. I think that "hypes" could actually have a negative effect on the House and drive away activity, as it stops having relevance. Maybe every now and again as a joke motion (zombie attack on Halloween, for example), but in full I'm not sure it would have the intended effect.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    I actually prefer the by-elections being party central, having 1 independent mixes things up but having 3-4 takes away from the House structure i would think.
    I think we need to find a balance. The choice is not a) party MPs (and not just party MPs, the party MPs from the 3 biggest parties!) win 3 seats and b) independents win 3 seats - there's a compromise to be found.
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    (Original post by MacCuishy)
    Again, repeating what the others have said - excellent speaker.

    I think more should be done to increase the activity, so I propose an idea.

    The speaker creates a scenario, for example:

    The Bank of Dithering Idiots has defaulted on its debt. DBI employs 20,000 people here in the UK and is one of the major players in the City. etc etc

    Parties/Government then debate and respond with motions/bills
    Sounds similar to the MUN hypes which i think could be good (say one a month), we could perhaps even have scenarios in which all parties have to come together for the national interest and must argue about which bits they will compromise on ect..
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    (Original post by TopHat)
    I think we need to find a balance. The choice is not a) party MPs (and not just party MPs, the party MPs from the 3 biggest parties!) win 3 seats and b) independents win 3 seats - there's a compromise to be found.
    To be fair every election in which a Tory contests we will win a seat (assuming more than one), it is not a case of the system preventing independents (TehFrance got 14% which is a lot for an independent) but simply a case of brand image being so strong.

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