Author: Alexandra Kelso

The Labour Party government elected in 1997 pledged to reform the Westminster parliament by modernising the House of Commons and removing the hereditary peers from the House of Lords. Events have consequently demonstrated the deep controversy that accompanies such attempts at institutional reconfiguration, and have highlighted the shifting fault-lines in executive-legislative relations in the UK, as well as the deep complexities surrounding British constitutional politics. The story of parliamentary reform is about the nature of the British political system, about how the government seeks to expand its control over parliament, and about how parliament discharges its duty to scrutinise the executive and hold it to account. This book charts the course of Westminster reform since 1997, but does so by placing it in the context of parliamentary reform pursued in the past, and thus adopts a historical perspective that lends it analytical value. It examines parliamentary reform through the lens of institutional theory, in order not only to describe reform but also to interpret and explain it. The book also draws on extensive interviews conducted with MPs and peers involved in the reform of parliament since 1997, thus offering an insight into how these political actors perceived the reform process in which they played a part. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the trajectory and outcome of the reform of parliament, along with an original interpretation of that reform and its implications.

This book shows that neoliberalism is a complex phenomenon that is linked to public administration and management in no straightforward manner. The key problem for critical neoliberalism is how the state can and should govern in a situation of epistemological finitude without infringing on individual freedom. The book explores neoliberalism first in terms of a critical problematisation of government and then in terms of a constructivist problematisation. Over the last two or three decades, the public sectors of many liberal democracies have seen a tremendous surge of reforms, programmes and policies seeking to promote accountability, credibility and evidence. These include the institutionalisation of ever more sophisticated performance-measurement systems and the accreditation of institutions providing key public services. The ambition is to move from a rule-based to a result-based public sector. The book examines how performance auditing of state and other public institutions has become increasingly important in most OECD countries. It discusses the general shifts in the regulative ideals informing the making of the civil-servant persona in liberal democracies. The quest for accountability, credibility and the use of evidence in the public administration are examples of a more or less new form of power. This form of power is in turn informed by what the author calls 'constructivist neoliberalism'.

Alexandra Kelso

1 Parliament and parliamentary reform For some time, there has been a sense that something is wrong with politics. Declining electoral turnout across many liberal democracies in recent decades has prompted concerns that the public has become disaffected about, and disengaged from, political processes and political institutions. As Stoker (2006: 7) notes,‘there appears to be a considerable amount of discontent and disenchantment about the operation of democracy both in those countries that have practiced democracy for decades and those that are more recent

in Parliamentary reform at Westminster
Alexandra Kelso

9 Understanding parliamentary reform Parliamentary reform in perspective There have been several different arguments pursued in this book, but one in particular has served to link all the others together, which is that institutions are characterised both by persistence and by change, and we must have devices in our conceptual toolkit that are capable of analysing, and perhaps even explaining, both. Historical institutionalism has been used here because it not only forces us to take the long-term view of an institution’s development, but also gives us insights

in Parliamentary reform at Westminster
Fénelon, Jacobitism and the political works of the Chevalier Ramsay

Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686-1743) was a Scottish Jacobite émigré who spent most of his adult life in France. His political works predominantly relied on a mixture of British and French doctrines to stimulate a Jacobite restoration to the British throne. Ambitious and controversial, Ramsay believed that key reforms and a growing empire would make Britain the ‘capital of the universe.’ His position as an intellectual conduit between the two kingdoms enables an extensive assessment of the political thought in Britain and France. Examining a number of important thinkers from the 1660s to the 1730s, this work stresses the significance of seventeenth century ideology on the following century. Crucially, the monograph explores the exchange of ideas between the two countries in the early Enlightenment. A time when Britain had rejected the absolutist pretensions of James II in the Glorious Revolution (1688) to protect mixed sovereignty and a key role for Parliament. This enshrinement of liberty and mixed government struck a chord in France with theorists opposed to Louis XIV’s form of centralised sovereignty. Following Louis XIV’s death in 1715, greater support for monarchical reform became evident in French political theory. Aided by the viewpoints and methodology of intellectual conduits such as Ramsay, shared perspectives emerged in the two countries on the future of monarchy.

A framework for analysis
Timothy Edmunds

The concept and policy of security sector reform is still relatively new. It was only in the late 1990s that the term emerged into common parlance. Even then it was under-theorised and ill-defined, and employed by a variety of different actors in a number of different ways. Despite a number of subsequent efforts to address these flaws, 1 the security sector reform

in Security sector reform in transforming societies
Abstract only
Kathleen G. Cushing

Material renewal B EFORE there was a centre, there was reform’. In this striking formulation, John Howe emphasized that while historians have tended to focus their attention on events in Rome and at royal courts, reform actually had its origins as much in localities and centres away from royal courts and Rome as in them. 1 Indeed, initiatives such as those of the Aquitainian bishops in summoning councils to promote peace in the 990s, of the Benedictine reformer John Gualbertus who founded the Vallombrosan order in 1039, or Robert of Molesme’s removal to

in Reform and papacy in the eleventh century
Kathleen G. Cushing

T HE work of reform in the eleventh century, as has been seen, was not just many-sided but also was inextricably linked with wider social transformations. At its core, though, reform was about persuasion. If initially reform was about inculcating an acceptance of, or at least outward conformity with, new codes of behaviour, then ultimately it was about persuading individuals to accept a line of demarcation between the previously overlapping spiritual and secular spheres. Among a previous generation of historians, there has been a tendency to conceive of

in Reform and papacy in the eleventh century
Kathleen G. Cushing

A LTHOUGH there is considerable evidence that standards in religious life and the reform of the Church in general were animating individual ecclesiastical officials and secular rulers from as early as the later tenth century, what galvanized these initiatives and extended reform objectives in the eleventh century was the Roman papacy. Many elements and individuals contributed to the emergence of the papacy as the indisputable leader of the Church – and in many ways leader also of the Latin West – during the course of the eleventh century. Although, as will

in Reform and papacy in the eleventh century
Alexandra Kelso

8 Reform of the House of Lords since 1997 Introduction The Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 successfully curtailed the powers of the House of Lords in order to ensure that the executive could secure its legislative programme, and thus enhance the efficiency of parliament. The failed attempt at reform in 1968–69 served to underline the extent to which MPs equated compositional reform of the Lords with a threat to the preeminence of the House of Commons, and in turn contributed to the second chamber undergoing a process of functional renewal in the absence of more

in Parliamentary reform at Westminster