Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The next Speaker

I don't really want to get drawn into the whole debate about whether the Speaker should stay or go. I suspect the motives of some, 'though not all of those who are calling for his resignation but I accept that there are concerns on a number of fronts. But, I will say one thing. When Speaker Martin steps down, whether it happens sooner or later, there is one thing above all that will decide my vote.

I don't want the next Speaker to be someone who sees his/ her role as 'protecting the traditions of the House'. I want the Speaker to be a moderniser, someone who recognises that Parliament needs to change: to become more effective, more influential, more accountable. For that reason, of all the names in the frame at the moment, I'm likely to back John Bercow (incidentally, the only Tory who voted in favour of the Equality Bill on Monday) if a vacancy comes up. I'm sure Sir George Young and Sir Menzies Campbell are both decent men, but they're old school and old school's the last thing we need at the moment.


Remember Remember said...

I hope you don't think the speaker going will take any pressure off MPs.
ANYONE overclaiming their expenses is not fit for governemnt and should be sacked and face a fraud charge, just like in the real world.

babakathy said...

Then do it after the next election, when there'll be fewer "old school"ers around maybe...

Philip said...

I can imagine this happening - JB has been a very independant thinking chap for sometime and he effectively gave up any ambitions for the front bench some time his mid fourties he's a bit young but perhaps thats the point. If you want a turning point candidate he's your man. I bet Guido would approve as well - weren't they contemporaries at some point! Shall i start the facebook campaign now?

Dick the Prick said...

Cool. Not sure about disparaging the house and stuff but, you know, whatever floats your boat. Nurds are very useful sometimes.

Liam said...

Certainly Bercow appears cut-off from the rest of his party - he could be popular for more reasons than just being "a steady hand"

But this whole issue has the danger of looking, to the wider electorate, as though a new storyline (a distraction) has been created to move the media away from the expenses issue.

Not quite out of the woods....

Elby the Beserk said...

Hmmm. Harperson's "equality" does not equate to another's. Not all "equalities", as one Mr. Orwell noted, are ... equal.

DaveA said...

One thing that really irks me about Michael Martin is the chip on both shoulders, picking on me because I is (sic) Glaswegian/poor/trade unionist.

As someone who has two tatty A levels, a broad cockney accent, comprehensive education and have to compete with Oxbridge graduates, blah, blah, it just makes people look for his incompetence. If I met Michael Martin I would be interested to ask him how he elevated himself from a modest background, I sure he is a very interesting person.

You have to enter a room feeling you are equal, not superior/inferior and people will automatically respect you. I hope you don't think me immodest but I was drinking recently with three politics and history graduates who have been in work for 15 years, one Oxbridge, one with a PhD and they sat enraptured as I described a world from 1940 to 1990 if the Nazis had won. They suggested I write a book. BTW main predictions were the Germans landing on the moon in 1965, about 1951-2 Britain becomes the 51st state of America.

We really can be all equal, don't think otherwise.

Glenn Vowles said...

Gi's the job...I can do's the job

asfhiuh said...

Equality bill? More the racist sexist man-hating bill.

Whilst in principle I admire MPs who think and vote independently , if he had any dignity or common sense he would have opposed this bill like crazy.

Actually, in this instance it makes him lower than even most Laobur MPs as they were doing as they were told, whereas he is supporting this insanity of his own free will!

A truly progressive and therefore suitable candidate would be a Labour politician who opposes this sexism

timbone said...

Well it would certainly be nice for the Commons to sound more like a British Parliament rather than an annex of the Scottish Parliament. Mind you, if Tom Harris replaced Brown as PM things would be a lot better. That is different though, Tom is the human face of Scottishism.

The 'you couldn't make it up' though was when the Speaker announced that there were to be investigations in to who leaked the MPs' expenses to the press. It was like saying, OK, we got caught, now lets find out who grassed us up so that we can sort them out.

Bevanite said...

if Tom Harris replaced Brown, we'd be back with Blair.

Dave H said...

(This was added to over time and goes on a bit)

Do you mean* you take voting for the 'Equality' Bill as an automatic indication of merit? If so, as you might imagine, I strongly disagree with you. I think this Bill is retrograde in principle and, over the longer term, scary.

I’ll try two quotes to back that up. 1) RRA:
“Direct racial discrimination occurs when you are able to show that you have been treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances.”

And that’s what this Bill explicitly promises to do. It takes discrimination by race into law. A fundamental principle will be broken, by ideologues unwilling to acknowledge the dangers involved.

There are many gross examples of measures intended to achieve a praiseworthy objective ending up achieving the exact opposite (e.g. Chamberlain being very keen on peace).

2) MLK:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character."

The ironically-named Equalities Bill does exactly what he didn’t want. It factors in ethnicity when making a judgement about an individual. No doubt you can explain how MLK was so misguided that he had the wrong dream.

Labour go on and on about fairness, but in reality it’s a concept they seem to have a difficulty grasping hold of. Fairness is all about treating people the same.

As for the Speaker, tread warily with wholescale reform, you might end up with something even worse*. You reformed the House of Lords, remember, and now two new Labour Peers have been willing to take cash for amendments.

Incidentally, I find it incredible that they are facing 6 months suspension for what is one of the worst crimes they can professionally commit i.e. formulating laws, not by principle & necessity, but for personal gain. How about stripping their titles and 6 months in prison?

*in your place I would be tempted to answer with "No I didn't." and nothing else. That saves reading any more and makes me look a twerp.

**BTW I don’t doubt that you (like most MPs) are fundamentally honest, hard-working & well-intentioned, which is in itself a praise for the 'system' whatever its faults (for 'corruption' UK as a whole comes 16th out of 180).

I just think you can possess all those virtues and still be wrong about everything.