Tuesday, 8 March 2011

"Working It"...how do you intend to start being a Lord?

When asked this question, which I'd already asked myself, I thought I will take this on in the way I take on anything new...reconnaissance. From my military dependent background, "the reccie" is where one starts from. To know and map the way of the land, before entering fully with a strategy at hand.

You have to know your available possibilities, before you know what is possible.

  • I would spend time getting to know everyone and everything; as far as is possible. I would get to know porters, canteen staff, cleaners, support staff and so on. In effect, all of the staff who will be supporting me from the practical point of view, everyday. Support staff often work exceptionally long and unsociable hours, for very little and should be respected and known by name. Good morning and the odd conversation wouldn't hurt either.

  • I would enrol on the training courses provided for newcomers. This will allow me to know the practical procedures and protocols for the job at hand.

  • I would study, (or get help to study), each and every Lord in a paced, by-group, fashion. Get to know their strengths, their 'weaknesses'. Work out where our natural allies lie. I cannot believe that out of 740-odd Lords that there aren't any who we could do business with.

  • By rigorous study we may find a few surprises, e.g. people who we thought we couldn't do business with previously.

  • I would set up close liaison channels with Caroline Lucas's office, to enhance bicameral communications. This will likely need additional staff.

  • I would also set up channels of work with the Scottish, Welsh and Irish Greens. This would likely need additional staff. This will alert me to anything which I've missed, because I'm not thinking as an MSP, Welsh Assembly Member or from and Irish Green perspective. They will know instinctively, better than I, what is required and I will learn that 'viewpoint' over time.

  • I would also assert my independence. All politicians are not the same and that goes for Greens. I would promote 'green' policy, but I will not be afraid to challenge anyone if I feel it is 'just'.

  • I will not rush in; though I am sorely tempted to. 
  • I will be measured.
  • I will not be afraid to ask for help or to delegate.
  • I will be tenacious and brave.

  • I will make sure that I plan my timetable, which luckily falls around the school terms(!), so as to maintain my home life. In particular, planning around my daughter's welfare. I will use the expenses allowances to support my home life in my absence, e.g. a Housekeeper-Friend for Hannah.

  • I see my job as, initially, being a 'sower of seeds'. To gently and persuasively implant nuggets of 'green', with respect and kindness at all times.

  • Our core principles and philosophy will not be used as a battering ram. I will find friends and allies who will help me introduce the 'green' perspective into 'thinking' in the House of Lords. It will be a hard and  long journey, one which I will try to expedite when I can.

  • I am nervous and 'afraid', but the challenge is calling and I'm doing it anyway.

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