“Like a drunk being thrown out of the pub they have spat on the floor…”

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…


  • sj1

    Iain had a pic of Bercrow on his blog with the UDA flag behind him. So he must be a nice guy – right?

    We will have to see how it goes, but dale summed it up nicely when he said, that he began as Gorbals mick began….

    partisan is as partisan does…

    I’d have prefered ma becket to be honest with you.

  • Mick Fealty


    I’d like to see the figures of how they did actually get down to Bercow and Young. Was Bercow Labour pique at Beckett not getting through to the ‘final’?

  • Dave

    You might have supposed, given the public outrage about ‘snouts in the trough’ and the role of the Speaker in the reform of the expenses system, that the new Speaker should have been someone whose own expense claims are beyond reproach, but, apparently, such is the open contempt that which these politicians now hold the public that they elect a pig with a large snout (he has claimed the maximum Additional Costs Allowance for the last six years) to guard the trough. It seems they don’t understand the difference between being ‘impartial’ and not being a politician without any core convictions who operates as a bizarre political butterfly, flittering from one extreme to the other (he was a member of the Monday Club which advocates a racist policy of repatriation for non-white immigrants to the UK [unusual for someone who is Jewish]. He is the archetypical career politician that believes in nothing except his own self-advancement – exactly the type of hack that needs to be driven out of politics, not rewarded within it. It looks like British democracy is on its way out to be replaced with EU rule, and its own party political class are helping it along that road by ensuring that those who would be state are replaced with career hacks since that which will no longer be a state but a region of the EU has no need of statesmen.

  • Dave

    Typo: “…those who would be state[b]smen[/b] are replaced with career hacks…”

  • Mick, here’s Andrew Sparrow’s live blog with all the figures from yesterday.

  • No wonder that so many New Labourites voted for John Bercow. No one ever asks him about his Hang Mandela days. Just as they never ask John Reid or Peter Mandelson about the Communist Party, in those days the paid agents of an enemy power. Just as they never ask Alistair Darling about the International Marxist Group. Just as they never ask Stephen Byers or Alan “Haze of Dope” Milburn about Trotskyism. Just as they never ask Charles Clarke about Labour’s Soviet fellow-travelling faction and its control of the NUS not only during his presidency, but also during (among other people’s) Jack Straw’s. Just as they never ask Harriet Harman about the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation. And so on, and on, and on.

    The “moderate”, “mainstream”, “Centre Left” New Labour was, and is, riddled with this sort of thing, entirely unrecanted, and with only the tactics (if anything) changed.

    Likewise, the “moderate”, “mainstream”, “Centre Right” Cameroons are riddled with old cheerleaders for, and fund-takers from, the Boer Republic set up as an explicit act of anti-British revenge in a former Dominion of the Crown. Circles in which it was also de rigeur to demand the dismantlement of the public services, the forced abortion and sterilisation of ethnic minorities and the working class, the legalisation of all drugs, and the abolition of marriage, public holidays, any minimum age of consent, and much else besides.

    (Quite what would have happened to them if they had ever moved to South Africa or, say, Chile with views like that? This rather amusing question can also be asked of the enemies of uniformed, row-seated, teacher-led, rigorously examined schooling: what would have happened to you if you had ever moved to the Soviet Union?)

    Once again, entirely unrecanted.

    And once again, with only the tactics (if anything) changed.

  • Dev

    Steve Richards has an interesting op-ed in the Indy about this (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-this-mans-triumph-reveals-the-tories-dark-side-1715978.html)

    On the issue of Bercow changing his political spots in order to cosy up to Labour so he could be elected Speaker, Richards has this to say: ‘The fatal flaw in the argument is that until recently it seemed almost certain the election for Speaker would take place in the next parliament when the Conservatives are expected to be the biggest party and Labour a much diminished force. It was only after the expenses saga that the former Speaker was forced out prematurely and a vacancy suddenly arose. Until then nearly everyone at Westminster assumed Michael Martin would stagger on until the election. If he had done so Bercow would have been better placed sucking up to his Conservative colleagues. Bercow chose not to do so. It might be difficult for some Conservative MPs to accept, but perhaps he spoke out on policy issues partly out of principle’.

    Furthermore, he points out that, judging by the reaction of some Tories, you’d would think Bercow is a raving leftie, however he is progressive on a limited number of issues (e.g. support for gay adoption & the aboliton of S.28). The fact that the Conservatives get so worked up about Bercow’s stance on such issues, Richards thinks, makes Cameron’s claims to have modernised the Tory Party ring hollow.