The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

He Shot The Deputy

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 23, 2009 @ 14:00

Alas – the election of a John Bercow, a Conservative (any Conservative would have done), as Speaker has set in train a very sad event.

Who's for the chop?

Who's for the chop?

One of these two fine fellows will soon be out begging on the streets of Westminster, or even round the Tube station at Canary Wharf, looking for companies desperate enough to take on a member of the old guard to chair their Board of Directors. After all, if you can chair the Commons, that bunch of rowdy losers, then you should be able to handle anything!

Yes, one of the dear Sir Michael Lord and Sir Alan Haselhurst will shortly be leaving their posts as Deputy Speaker. Haselhurst is the more senior of the pair, having been the Chairman of Ways and Means – the most senior of the deputies. Will that count for anything? Will the fact that Michael Lord polled a miserable nine votes mean that he must do the decent thing and fall on his sword? Though perhaps that’s his own fault, as he admitted to not even bothering to campaign or canvass for the job of Speaker. Not a very good politician, methinks.

The reason why one of them has to go is simple. Whichever party (Conservatives or Labour) the Speaker comes from, by convention only one other deputy comes from that party; as the other party then supplies two of them – meaning the balance in Parliament remains roughly equal, no party is disadvantaged for losing one of their number to the “honour” of chairing the Commons.

Basically, the town is only big enough for one of them. But on the other side, opportunity knocks…

There is currently only one Labour Deputy Speaker – Sylvia Heal. Yet now we need a new one. And we may even need two if Heal has had enough. There is talk of offering it to Parmjit Dhanda to serve his apprenticeship, if he is serious about wanting to be Speaker in the future. But I think his candidacy was more of a kite-flying exercise. He’s played his part and done himself no harm whatsoever.

But who from the Labour side deserves the job? We’re looking for all the same criteria one would look for in a Speaker. In truth, there is a real paucity of talent. The most common suggestion will be Frank Field, but Labour will not allow it. Perhaps we’re likely to get an old duffer from the Chairmen’s Panel – what must be the dullest institution in Parliament as it’s a collection of all the MPs who chair Commons committees. Some total non-entity like Joe Benton or Bill Olner. Very exciting.

I suspect we’re going to find out very quickly. After all, Speaker Bercow can’t sit in the Chair all day. I know he wanted the job, and all that, but that would be taking it too far…


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