Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Bercow Numbness

I feel a kind of numbness about the election of John Bercow as Speaker. I've nothing against the man - well, I might have if I worked at it - but it is yet further evidence that the House of Commons is determined to deal with the collapse of its status by pretending nothing has happened. Margaret Beckett was destroyed by her own whips' attempts to get her in - ha, ha - and Bercow was installed because Labour knew it would upset the Tories. So much for the dignity of this process and of the office. If they had been serious about anything they would have elected Frank Field, the only genuine reformer. But he didn't stand because he couldn't get support. 'He's hated,' I was told. This is because he's thoughtful, flexible, incorruptible, open to ideas of other parties - a mensch, in short, just what the bone-headed klutzes lounging on their deep buttoned, green pub benches hate most. Like the bankers, MPs are desperately trying to restore the status quo ante and, like the bankers, they are succeeding.


  1. I still don't really understand why Michael Martin was the nominated as the all-party fall guy in the first place. Because he didn't push for reform quickly enough? So they should presumably elect the Speaker most eager for reform...mneh. Rachel Sylvester has a gloomy piece today agreeing with you.

  2. Do you feel Margaret ... actually ... enjoys whips?

  3. Ive got a funny feeling Dave will be installing Frank field asap

    Kick berk out after the election, install FF, and a safe seat for anyone you need to get into the Commons who missed out.

    Heavens forbid, politics at Westminster, who would have thought it.

  4. Is Frank Field really hated because he's "thoughtful, flexible, incorruptible, open to ideas of other parties"? I have no idea either way, but I am surprised at the suggestion that this is sufficient to get oneself hated ... would it really impossible for anybody to be "thoughtful, flexible, incorruptible, open to ideas of other parties" and also well liked? If so, we're in a real mess.

  5. Yep. They could not even manage this little thing. The words "piss-up" and "brewery" come to mind

  6. re Frank Field being hated, there was an Athenian called Aristides nicknamed 'the Just' who was facing ostracism from Athens, and according to Wiki:

    "...It is said that on this occasion [the vote to ostracize Aristides], an illiterate voter who did not know Aristides came up to him and, giving him his voting shard, desired him to write upon it the name of Aristides. The latter asked if Aristides had wronged him. "No," was the reply, "and I do not even know him, but I am tired of hearing him everywhere called, 'The Just'." After hearing this Aristides wrote his own name on the shard. He was then exiled for a period of five years."

    I respect Frank, but I can see why he's unpopular.