Government and Parliament: A Survey from the Inside

Government and Parliament: A Survey from the Inside

Government and Parliament: A Survey from the Inside

Government and Parliament: A Survey from the Inside

Excerpt

It was at Nuffield College, Oxford, that the idea of this book was born. I had been elected a Visiting Fellow in 1947, and in the autumn of that year I agreed to talk after dinner about the inside working of British government and in particular about the internal operations and life of Parliament. Usually these Nuffield after-dinner discussions are confined to members of the College, but on this occasion most of the teachers of Politics in the University were also present. I had visited universities before, either to take part in Union debates, to lecture, or to receive their kindly hospitality. My own education (for which I am grateful) was confined to that of the London elementary schools, and even at the time of this Nuffield seminar I was still a little university-shy--and this was a very friendly occasion. Since then, however, my visits to universities have increased and, consequent on the kindly facilities afforded me by the Warden and Fellows of Nuffield College, my visits to Oxford have been frequent, so that by now I am much more familiar with academic life.

Apparently the information given in my talk, and as a result of the questions and discussions, was considered to be interesting and valuable. All of us, I think, had a happy and interesting time. At the end of the evening some enthusiast said: 'Mr. Morrison, you really must write a book about all this. You have told us about a lot of things which have not yet reached the textbooks. As a co-ordinating Minister and Leader of the House of Commons you have just the kind of experience which fits you to write such a book.' There was general and cordial agreement among those present. I replied that I was a hardworked Minister of the Crown and that it was impossible for me to write books, especially the by no means easy book which they had in mind, to which somebody, with an optimism which I did not find too pleasing, said: 'Well, you won't always be a Minister, you will get the sack at the hands of democracy some day; promise that you will do it then.' I told him that he was opening up a rather unwelcome prospect, but that I would certainly keep the idea in mind.

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