|The Mickey Mouse Gas Mask|
So, I was bummed out before our next meeting, which was with Lord David Puttnam, who is a member of the House of Lords. I have always viewed the House of Lords with a heavy dose of American skepticism: It is a politically weak chamber filled with a bunch of folks who do really don't do much work and add little to the legislative process. The chamber, I felt, was basically honorific and substantively lacking.
|Wreckage from the World Trade Center|
Perhaps most importantly, the Lords are the best at handling lobbyists. As he noted, some of the better lobbyists spend a good deal of time lobbying the House of Lords--not because they can buy members with campaign cash (they, of course, do not stand for election and do not have constituencies) but because they can make arguments for why particular legislation will not work to people who will understand the case practically. Further, as well experienced members, the Lords are not easily fooled by lobbyists because they are well-equipped to detect nonsense.
Lord Puttnam was incredibly gracious with his time. It is also clear he's one of the enormously active members of the chamber--and he helped dispel some common misconceptions about the chamber that I, and perhaps many, Americans have.
|Lord Puttnam and my class at Millbank House|