So John Bercow. How did that happen? Moments of revenge are best served cold. This rushed out hot meals on wheels dish is, I suspect going to burn Labour. At the start of this debate, Iain Dale made it transparently clear, that the last person on earth the Tories wanted as Speaker was Bercow. Now, I can see why they thought it might have been a pleasing outcome. The odious triumphalism of some parts of the Tory press, would goad a saint. But they hedged on a bet that could go badly for them very quickly. Guido’s money quote sums it up for me:
He is the candidate of a party on the way out. Like a drunk being thrown out of the pub they have spat on the floor before they got thrown out the door.
He will need to take that list drawn up by Commons clerk Robert Rogers, which according to Michael White, “sets out the Speaker’s personal scope to create snappier, more accessible procedures and face down ministers. But it will need backbenchers, working together against their party whips, to recapture lost control over select committees and debate, just at a time when their confidence has been squashed by expenses abuses and public trust is low. Sustained reform under Speaker Bercow will need both luck and judgement.”
Hmmm… Bercow now has it in his grasp to do something with this post. And senior Tories are at pains to knock back resentment at Labour’s belligerent choice. John Redwood notes:
Conservatives now have to accept the result, and show respect to our new Speaker. We all need this to work. The Opposition should not prejudge this Speaker. He should be judged on how well he does at allowing Parliament to have more teeth and to hold a more central role in public debate.
To prove his and Parliament’s independence, he will need to be fierce with Government from the off, and lay out a bit of pain to reflexively evasive front bench spokesmen. To go with what should be the more pressing pain of a party getting the same ‘bum’s rush’ as the Tories back in 1997…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty