The Futility Monster

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

Posts Tagged ‘Speaker’

Looks Like The New Parliament Is Stupid Too

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 18, 2010 @ 08:48

The Man Himself. He's been standing there for over a week now, waiting to "welcome" everyone back...

As usual, I’m being more than a little deceptive in the title, but this story just pisses me off:

John Bercow is set to become the first Speaker in living memory to have his re-appointment challenged by a vote in the House of Commons.

If, as James Landale has written in the story, it is true that some MPs object to Mr Bercow because he has cast aside even more of the “ceremonial” dress, then their obsession with such fripperies, rather than the serious issues facing this country, should make them ineligible to represent us.

Perhaps he’s just written that to make them sound a little silly. That’s what journalists often do, after all. But the serious accusation that he has been partisan needs some evidence.

Unfortunately, there isn’t… much. OK, maybe once or twice at PMQs he’s stopped a line of questioning with a rather bizarre explanation. But that’s the nature of the man. Everyone knew that he was going to enjoy the limelight and take his opportunity to exert his authority early. That’s what Speakers have to do though.

And now, today, we’re going to have this charade of embarrassingly precious MPs standing up to register a protest about him.

For wasting everyone’s time, and for reminding everyone once again why some politicians are idiots, and for kicking off this new Parliament with a show of farce so reminiscent of the last one, they really ought to hang their heads in shame.

Maybe they’ll rethink during the course of the day. Maybe they’ll realise that they are hopelessly outnumbered and decide it’s not worth the trouble of more bad headlines for being seen to be so fickle, so touchy, a mere nine months after forcing the old Speaker out and picking a new one.

Buyer beware, as they say.

Maybe they’ll be more careful next time. Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener…

UPDATE – 15:30: in the end, there was no vote. The number of MPs that shouted “No!” to oppose him can probably be counted on the digits of two hands. Common sense prevailed, and it’s time to move on…


Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Bercow “Gets It”, But Do Other MPs?

Posted by The Futility Monster on September 25, 2009 @ 06:33

See? I told you he's been waiting. He's been standing there all summer, parading with the Mace. He told me he wants to get the Speaker's Procession "just right".

See? I told you he's been waiting. He's been standing there all summer, parading with the Mace. He told me he wants to get the Speaker's Procession "just right".

At last! Having enjoyed a nice summer, thank-yew-very-much, Speaker Bercow has decided that it probably should be the last.

I can just imagine him in Speaker’s House, sitting there all summer, “smart but unfussy” black gown hanging neatly in the wardrobe, twiddling his thumbs waiting to get back into action, laying the smackdown on errant MPs and ministers. Seeing all this political activity buzzing around him in conferences up and down the country, and yet powerless to do anything about it.

But it’s not just the summer recess that he wants to truncate. No, he’s got big plans.

The good news for those of us who like manifestos and mandates is that Bercow was elected on a pledge to try to bring these into action. In other words, he’s going to attempt to keep his promises.

“Attempt” is the strongest word we can use, though, as it’s all going to be down to whether his fellow MPs take his lead and bring about some of these changes.

They’re nothing too revolutionary… but they are a very welcome start to try to make the House of Commons more relevant in the modern age. Tacked at the end of the above linked article is probably the most important one: the chance to give backbenchers the opportunity to call a vote. This was a power they used to have, but one they desperately need if we’re to avoid a debacle like the one we saw which eventually led to the demise of Speaker Michael Martin.

Following that too would be the institution of a business committee, like the Scottish Parliament, that would mean the government no longer controls the agenda of the Commons. That is important to strengthen checks and balances.

But the other reforms are just as sensible, and will do an excellent job of at least bringing the Commons into the 20th century, e.g. bringing peers before the Commons is just “common sense” – forget the arcane rules that currently don’t allow MPs to hold Lords Mandelson and Adonis to account. He also listed other reforms, but the level of detail is dull. Suffice it to say that each one on their own is useless, but as a package they will improve the ability of MPs to do the job they should be doing: i.e. holding the government to account.

It is good to see the Speaker using his mandate in this way. He promised he would get out in public and make speeches, even appear on television. That is absolutely right in this modern age. The people aren’t going to come back to the politicians willingly. Alas, they are going to have to go out and re-earn the respect they once had.

The big question is as I said earlier: will the government and opposition frontbenchers (because they’re going to be the next government!) be willing to subject themselves to more scrutiny? Do turkeys vote for Christmas?

And will those Tories who think Speaker Bercow was just one big Labour conspiracy support this agenda?

Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face is a remarkably popular behaviour in Parliament. I wouldn’t bet against it.

(Bercow’s speech to the Hansard Society is not yet available, but most of the key points have been twittered)

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bercow: So Far, So Good

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 29, 2009 @ 17:12

The Man in full flow.

The Man in full flow.

Having just watched the Prime Minister’s statement entitled Building Britain’s Future (which should, of course, read “Building England’s Future”), I’ve got to say it was a total bore. There was nothing genuinely new, either because a) it’s existing policy (e.g. 18 week maximum for NHS treatment); b) it had been pre-announced (job/training offers for youth unemployment); or c) it was just another chapter in a long running saga (e.g. Lords reforms, social housing).

So instead, I decided to pay close attention to the tedium of House of Commons procedure. And, I’ve got to say, I’m beginning to feel Speaker Bercow is steadily getting on with the job and delivering what’s needed.

First off – he told the backbenchers that he had 36 people waiting to speak – and so asked for brief questions and equally brief responses from the frontbench.

Overall, that is exactly what happened. The questions were much shorter than previous statements, and though Brown did his best to give a verbose answer, they were of a reasonable length. Only once or twice did Bercow stop the questioner for taking a little too long or trying to ask too many questions.

In the end, I counted they got through a total of 41 questions. Indeed, they got through so many that the Labour benchest actually ran of questions to ask, causing a brief cheer from the Opposition benches when two members from that side of the chamber were chosen in succession. In truth, it’s a disgrace that Labour MPs, who outnumber everyone by a long way, could run out of things to talk about. Clearly the whips hadn’t handed out sufficient questions; but they will soon fix that as they realise they need to prepare more for the new Speaker.

But it was even better than that. The final question was actually the very last one members wanted to ask, as there were no more MPs trying to get the Speaker’s attention. Bercow even noted at the end that he was very pleased that everyone was called; that’s either a sign of efficiency on the part of all MPs (and even Gordon Brown for replying quickly enough), or it’s yet another terrible reflection that, really, MPs just aren’t bothered even asking questions of the country’s Prime Minister.

There are still very many things that need changing. I think the Privy Councillors still get precedence. And I wish that MPs could talk to each other, rather than this nonsense of addressing them via the Chair. Minor changes like that would help make the proceedings more understandable. Maybe we’ll get there in time, along with the more radical reforms like seeing the Commons back in control of its own business.

But for now – the man’s got off to a decent start, and he even made a rather tantalising promise to look at the issue of Parliamentary questions.

Why does any of this matter to the average person? Well – maybe if we could hold the government to account a bit better, we wouldn’t be the kind of economic and political mess we’re in in the first place.

UPDATE 30/06/09: Bercow did just as well during today’s statement from Ed Balls – he managed to get all MPs in, and he even laid the smackdown on Ed Balls for constantly bringing all points raised back to the Tory policy on inheritance tax. It’s all good…

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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…

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cheer Up, Conservatives

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 22, 2009 @ 21:44

"Congratulations to the new Speaker" says Political

"Congratulations to the new Speaker" says Political

Judging by the reaction on the Tory-dominated Political, one might think Arthur Scargill had just been elected Speaker of the House of Commons.

Of course, it’s not quite as bad as that. In defeat, we do all like to reach for the hyperbole, but I think that in time the wounds will heal. While I share a little of the doubt about the imminent prospect of Speaker Bercow, I do believe he will do a much better job than Michael Martin.

The beauty of his election that many people are missing, however, is that Bercow issued a manifesto, and a very detailed one at that. He gave out a laundry-list of pledges which it will be very easy to hold against him. Yes, I know, and I’ve said it already – it’s not down to him to implement them. That’s up to the rest of the Commons to have the bottle to vote for change.

But it does mean he can be held to account. Assuming the Tories will win the next election (a very easy assumption) – they will be able to rate his performance against his words. If he’s doing well, it will be very difficult for them to oust him. If not – they will have a very good argument to say “Look, we tried it – he didn’t deliver”. Because there are some things a Speaker can do right now – like having a go at ministers who announce their policies before Parliament. Including the Prime Minister.

And how John Bercow could easily demonstrate his independence by slapping down the Prime Minister. I wouldn’t put it past him, to be honest. Bercow has the ego to do it. He would enjoy being the centre of attention by taking such an action. It would earn him the necessary brownie points on the Conservative benches that he requires.

OK – he may not do something as big as this. But I’m willing to bet he’ll make some very speedy movement, and some large gestures, to prove he is going to be fair at the job, to prove the doubters wrong.

Maybe his expenses were rather high… and I suspect he’s going to have to go a bit further to justify them. After all, he wants to be more active in the media as Speaker. He is the first Speaker to be elected in the era where nothing less than full transparency will do. He is totally aware of that.

If he doesn’t master that fact, he will die by it.

So, Conservatives… it looks like a win-win situation to me!

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

So Far, So Good

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 22, 2009 @ 18:27

On the face: very embarrassing

On the face: very embarrassing

Barring a dramatic reversal in the second round, the feared victory of Margaret Beckett will not happen.

Rejoice! For perhaps we are going to be freed from possibly the worst candidate.

But – wait a moment… John Bercow leading the way?

I don’t particularly dislike the man, but at the same time there’s something about him that makes me feel uneasy. A little too… smooth for my liking. I like a bit of rough in my candidate.

Nevertheless, four hopefuls are gone (including Richard Shepherd, for shame), and we will now test just how this exhaustive ballot system works. Assuming everyone voted for who they wanted to is a very big mistake in this kind of voting system. It’s very unlikely that people voted for their first preference because everyone likes to think of silly reasons to vote for other candidates in order to stop X, rather than give Y a chance.

The consequence will be that some of the candidates will see their support drop, despite the sudden availability of preference votes from eliminated candidates. For instance, voters for Alan Beith or Alan Haselhurst may realise the game is up and desert him. Alternatively, voters for John Bercow may decide to “lend” their vote to another candidate in an attempt to force someone else to finish last.

Or perhaps some MPs were complacent, not voting for their real preference because they didn’t think they needed it? That might explain Margaret Beckett’s surprisingly poor showing.

And in any case, no one knows who each MPs second preference is. We barely know who their first preferences were, but no one really thought to ask those who would admit it who they’d vote for in the event their candidate didn’t make it.

Whatever, it’s a horrible system – too much room for strategies and tactics rather than just straightforward votes for who the MP actually wants. Would be much better to do it all in one vote with instant run-off. The Alternative Vote, in other words.

But now, we return to the waiting…

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who Will Be Speaker

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 22, 2009 @ 09:36

Around these parts, I’m not one for pussy-footing over predictions. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. If I’m right, well – it simply reaffirms my genius.

Would you buy a used car from her?

Would you buy a used car from her?

Today, MPs will elect Margaret Beckett as their new Speaker.

The sad thing about my prediction is that it looks like I’m jumping on the bandwagon. After all, the wonderful people around Political Betting have spent the past few days reading tea leaves and inspecting rabbit entrails to see which way the wind is blowing. Wow, that really is a mixed metaphor. Anyway – they have generally come to the same conclusion.

But I assure you that from the moment Michael Martin was defenestrated, I have always thought Labour MPs would be out for revenge. For some reason, Labour MPs were very attached to “their” Speaker. He was “one of them”. We’re led to believe that they liked him because he came from a similar background to them, which is, of course, patent nonsense when most Labour MPs, and all future ones, are careerist politicians from very sensibly middle-class backgrounds.

Anyway – for whatever reason, Labour MPs had a sense of ownership with Michael Martin. He would look after them. He seems to have done a very good job, especially in terms of defending them from FoI until the inevitable. Oh, and that strange business involving a police raid on Parliament and an Opposition MP…

And now those whippersnappers in the Liberal Democrats and other opposition parties had the temerity to remove him!

It became very clear that Labour’s motives were questionable when the stories abounded about them wanting to vote for John Bercow – purely as a way to annoy the Conservatives who, apparently, aren’t all too enamoured with the chap.

Of course, it never crossed anybody’s mind at any point that we probably shouldn’t be playing politics with the chair of our Parliament – our legislature. Of course it didn’t. The Parliament is so ignored, so feeble, so emasculated, so impotent, that MPs won’t hesitate for a second to abuse the people’s only elected representation at a national level for such contemptible purposes.

But then John Bercow slipped out of the picture. It’s not clear why, but into the breach, curiously – considering she has been a frontbencher for a very long time, and showed no prior interest in the job – stepped Mrs Beckett. That there had, up to that point, been no other credible Labour candidate (sorry, Parmjit) should surely have made alarm bells ring. The field had obviously been cleared for her entry.

All of a sudden a big Labour beast emerges.

So we have the motive. We have the means. And today Labour MP’s will get the opportunity.

There is but one caveat. This is the first Speakership election under a secret ballot, with an exhaustive process of elimination, and nobody can possibly predict how that will affect the voting. The system was used electing the Conservative leader – and we all know how that went as David Davis’ declared supporters didn’t actually vote for him…

But let’s face it. Labour MPs are in the majority. They have suffered a defeat at the hands of the opposition when their Speaker got the boot. They have a respectable (in their eyes) candidate. They are completely out of tune with what the public wants (a “clean” candidate with no expenses taint). They obviously didn’t watch Question Time.

If they act as a unit, their choice will be unstoppable.

My prediction is that they will.

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Who Should Be Speaker

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 21, 2009 @ 20:06

For a start, let’s examine the field:

  • Margaret Beckett (Labour)
  • Sir Alan Beith (LD)
  • John Bercow (Conservative)
  • Sir Patrick Cormack (Conservative)
  • Parmjit Dhanda (Labour)
  • Sir Alan Haselhurst (Tory)
  • Sir Michael Lord (Another Tory)
  • Richard Shepherd (Yet Another Tory)
  • Ann Widdecombe (Getting bored yet?)
  • Sir George Young (I know I am)

In one fell swoop, I can dismiss 6 of them.

Margaret Beckett – too close to the government, not independent enough, no real idea of what it’s like to be a backbencher, no reformist credentials, possibly being installed for wrong, partisan reasons, and on, and on, and Ariston.

John Bercow – if rumours are to be believed, he doesn’t have the support on the Conservative benches. And Labour were thinking about about installing him for the sake of partisan bickering. That makes him a very Bad Idea.

Sir Patrick Cormack – sorry, Sir, but your “well rounded” candidacy (his words) is just a bit too modest for what the country needs. Oh, and I find his very proper pronunciation of “par-LEAH-ment” very annoying!

Parmjit Dhanda – has actually impressed me in the hustings. Maybe next time, or the time after that… but for now, too young, probably too inexperienced in Commons procedure.

Sir Alan Haselhurst – would have been good, but has been badly tainted by expense allegations.

Ann Widdecombe – would have been interesting to see her as Speaker, but purely out of morbid curiosity, rather than actually wanting to see it. But her “interim” status rules her out. 10 months isn’t enough time to do anything, making the whole affair rather pointless.

Now… with a little more examination, I can dismiss a couple more…

Sir Alan Beith – good reformist credentials, but, for purely partisan reasons, I don’t want the Lib Dems to lose such a good MP. Losing any MP is bad; losing Alan Beith would be a shame.

Would you like a young shepherd?

Would you like a young shepherd?

Sir Michael Lord – is a very decent candidate; would definitely have the authority to deal with the Commons from when I’ve seen him as Deputy Speaker. But I feel we can do better…

I’m left with a delicious dilemma between two excellent candidates: Sir George Young and Richard Shepherd.

Sir George Young has authority, gravitas, is well-versed in Commons procedures, and is something of a reformist. He supported a fully-elected House of Lords way ahead of the rest of his party. He’s been on the backbenches and a serious committee member for a very long time. In other words, he’ll do a very good job of standing up for the rights of MPs.

But there is something lacking. Something I alluded to in a previous post. Step forward Richard Shepherd. A serial rebel, with sheer bloody-minded independence. A man extremely knowledgeable about the history of the place. A man who stood up for Freedom of Information when all around him his spineless fellow MPs were trying to exempt Parliament from the FoI Act under the pretence of protecting constituents’ correspondence.

But what’s more – he understands that the Speaker is actually powerless; his hands tied by Standing Orders and conventions. That’s why I said it doesn’t really matter who becomes Speaker. He understands that the real problem is the Parliament is weak as hell. The executive (government) is totally dominant. He realises that real reform has to come from the backbenchers rising up and telling the government that this is our legislature. That they and they alone will decide what comes before it for discussion.

Richard Shepherd is beholden to no one. He has authority. He’d knock Margaret Beckett’s faux reforms (“the devil is in the detail” she said; translation: no change) into next week.  He’s consistently one of the lowest claiming MPs. He’s been a backbencher forever. He knows the frustration that all that entails. He could provide the leadership to change all that.

And that’s why he won’t win.  Like I said in the other post, it’s in no one’s interests to change anything too radically in Parliament.

So tomorrow, we will look at who will win…

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Buggins’ Turn

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 20, 2009 @ 16:14

Isn’t it remarkable how so many people come out with a level of prejudiced, ignorant rubbish regarding the Speakership? How many times have you heard this:

“Labour have had the last two Speakers. There’s a convention that suggests the Speaker should alternate between parties. This time, it’s our turn!”

It’s repeated so often that even Labour politicians think it’s true. Margaret Beckett, at the Hansard Society Speakership hustings said:

“there is a tradition that the Speakership alternates between the main parties… and should therefore go to a Conservative. That is a view that I have both held and advocated in the past”

For a person who has been around Parliament for such a long time that is a daft thing to say.

There is no such tradition. There is no such convention. Just because it appeared to alternate between 1965 and 1992, it doesn’t make it true. A cursory glance at the list of Speakers shows that there were also long periods in which the Speaker consistently came from the same party.

Do you think during the time four Tories were elected Speaker on the bounce from 1928 to 1965 the Tory party was saying, “The convention is that the Speaker always comes from the Conservative Party”? Cos, by Ms Beckett’s standards, that one could indeed be called a tradition!

No. Just as my sciencey-type friends say, “correlation does not imply causation”.

What if there was a third variable underneath it all?

Ladies and gentlemen, the answer is obvious. There is much more evidence to suggest that the convention actually is:

“The Speaker comes from the governing party”

From Until Speaker Party Party in Power
1921 1928 John Henry Whitley Coalition Liberal Coalition Liberal
1928 1943 Edward Algernon FitzRoy Conservative Conservative
1943 1951 Douglas Clifton Brown Conservative Coalition (Conservative PM)
1951 1959 William Shepherd Morrison Conservative Conservative
1959 1965 Sir Harry Braustyn Hylton-Foster Conservative Conservative
1965 1971 Dr Horace Maybray King Labour Labour
1971 1976 John Selwyn Brooke Lloyd Conservative Conservative
1976 1983 Thomas George Thomas Labour Labour
1983 1992 Bruce Bernard Weatherill Conservative Conservative
1992 2000 Betty Boothroyd Labour Conservative
2000 2009 Michael John Martin Labour Labour

In fact, with our shiny new variable, there is just one deviation since 1921 in 11 Speakership elections, when Betty Boothroyd was elected Speaker in 1992. It might have gone further back, but things start getting a little messy in terms of who belonged to which party. But even if it doesn’t, I think it would be much more fair to say that my convention is almost 90 years old.

No. The reason why the Conservatives suddenly want to convince everyone that there is a convention is that they’re desperate for the Speaker to be one of their own this time. And that is demonstrated by fact: there are seven Conservatives and just two Labour MPs gunning for the job.

Tory MPs are relying on the good faith of the Labour majority to show them some mercy this time.

Do you think Labour MPs will be feeling charitable after what happened to “their” Speaker?

Do bears shit in the woods?

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Might As Well Go To Richer Sounds

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 20, 2009 @ 10:58

There is much wailing and lamenting in the British blogosphere about how the current Speaker has presided over a terrible system which has left MPs forced to claim hundreds of thousands of pounds against their will because the rules required them to.

Seems like we need a new one of these

Seems like we need a new one of these

So much weeping. So much newsprint.

So little point.

The consequence: on Monday, the House of Commons will choose its new Speaker. Michael Martin, the incumbent for one more day, will jet off into the sunset and land somewhere in the House of Lords shortly after to claim his per diem attendance allowance. Don’t you worry – that trougher ain’t going nowhere.

Because, yes – Michael Martin does have to carry the can to a limited extent, and certainly his own expenses claims are rather dubious. But really, what could he have done about it? “Convention” didn’t allow him to speak out publicly. The hands of the Speaker are tied by centuries of traditions and dusty references to Erskine May and Standing Orders.

But Mr Speaker did not write any of those.

And the new Mr/Madam Speaker is going to be bound by all the same rubbish.

Changing the Speaker is not going to reform Parliament. Reform of Parliament can only come about if enough MPs vote to change the procedures.

In other words, it will take a concerted effort to bring about the necessary reforms that all the candidates are arguing for.

Is that likely to happen? To a limited extent, I expect we will be thrown some token gestures by our political class. Maybe they’ll allow petitions to be debated by a petition committee, instead of now when an MP can present them on the floor of the House for a few seconds, and then they disappear into the ether, until the government responds in writing that actually all is fine and dandy, thank you very much.

In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Because the fundamental principle is that in the UK, the role of Parliament is to deliver the government’s majority to get its business through. Everything else is just window-dressing. As we saw, when MPs discovered they don’t even have the right to put a motion for debate to the House. Why would the government want to do anything to jeopardise it? And more to the point, why would the Opposition want to make their job after the next election more difficult?

Basically – will there be enough independent-minded backbenchers, who aren’t interested in satisfying their party leadership, to do anything about it?

No. Instead, they seem to think that electing a new Speaker will do the job for them. Hey, look we might put Anne Widdecombe in the Chair! Ain’t that a pretty sight! Talk about change for the better! That oughta keep you suckers placated for a while, eh.

They’re in for a shock. Cos we expect more from them than a gesture of a new Speaker. Because it really doesn’t matter who wins on Monday. They are just a small cog in the huge machinery of government.

Enough MPs have to have the bottle to completely rebuild the way Parliament works from the ground up.

Can’t see it myself.

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »