Monday, June 22, 2009

Bercow is a Servant of the House, Not Its Master

The votes are in and we must all now get used to Mr Speaker Bercow. As readers will know, I have expressed huge doubts about John Bercow's ability to do the job, and I am afraid the voting has proved that. He starts in exactly the same position as Michael Martin did nine years ago - with one side of the House almost wholly against him. But those of us who supported other candidates should now allow John Bercow to get on with the job and see what he makes of it. He has a lot to prove to a lot of people. And he has about a year to do it.

It would be churlish for Conservatives not to wish him well. If he makes a success of the job everyone should be happy. But John Bercow must remember that he is a servant of the House, not its leader. If he can succeed in enabling MPs to hold the Government to account more, to scrutinise legislation better and to help backbench MPs regain the power they need, then he will have done a great job. He can't achieve everything in a year, but he needs to reassure all parts of the House that he intends to do a job, and not become a personality. Yes, he can be a spokesman for the House, but he must beware of becoming a media personality. He should remember that interviewers are looking for stories. He has a particular tightrope to walk and must ensure that he remains on it at all time.

John Bercow should start as he means to go on. On Wednesday he should ensure that the Prime Minister answers questions rather than asks them. The first time a government minister announces a policy on the Today Programme, he should be hauled before the Commons to explain himself. Although he must be given a little time to find his feet, he also needs to send a clear signal that the House is now under new management.

117 comments:

Simon Gardner said...

“He must beware of becoming a media personality”

I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you.

Jim Baxter said...

It's to be hoped that he will grow with the job. We always hope that. Sometimes we're let down. But Not by Speakers Lloyd, Wetherill or Boothroyd. Not in my view anyway. I never thought Speaker Thomas was up to it myself.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Just heard Bercow on the news saying: “I continue to believe that the vast majority of members of this House are upright, decent, honourable people who have come into politics, not to feather their nests, but because they have heeded the call of public service.”

No doubt he also believes in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas.

Andy JS said...

I'm afraid the disgruntled expressions of most Conservative MPs at the moment of Bercow's election perfectly summed up for me why they've spent more than 12 years in opposition. They're so wedded to their own beliefs that they've lost the ability to respond with any magnanimousness when things go against them. It's a quality which is most unattractive to ordinary voters.

Andrew said...

I am afraid that I cannot join in the generic rejoicing at the election of the hon Member for Beaconsfield as Speaker.

We now have the third Labour Speaker in a row - except this one did not even have the guts to abandon his 'convictions' to cross the Chamber to join Labour - a point that was hinted at by the Old Stalinist himself in giving his congratulations. No doubt there is much quaffing of champagne socialism in what is left of Labour's fiefdoms, now that there is someone knocking around who will keep proclaiming the Gospel according to St Polly Toynbee after the election, and thereby keep the Labour dream alive.

In his first speech today, he insulted a (then) fellow Conservative MP; in his second, as Speaker-Elect, he played to the gallery; in the Lords, he behaved as if he were on the stage.

Having said that, I hope he does well, for Parliament and our democracy's sake, if not his own.

Simon Gardner said...

Aaargh. Not Beaconsfield; Buckingham!

FloTom said...

The House of Commons goes from Shop Steward to Fuhrer in one goose step

kris said...

woohoo.

Cant they find someone with a bit of personality?

how utterly tedious.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait until at least 200 of those Labour MPs are kicked out. What will Bercow do with his scumbag mates gone.

Praguetory said...

Far from the ideal candidate, but we should wish him well. He simply can't be worse than Martin and I expect him to be an even-handed chair.

Bearded Socialist said...

Andrew said..
"proclaiming the Gospel according to St Polly Toynbee"

Mr Cameron you mean?
I mean, he did set up that commission. And got her to lead the way. I mean, he did sincerely try to involve a leading media figure in a policy programme aimed at mutual ideals, right?

I guess not having Tebbit means a commie on the chair?

PhilC said...

"It would be churlish for Conservatives not to wish him well."
In which case there are a lot of churls about.
Tories showing their spiteful streak tonight despite Iain's temperate post.

Jim Baxter said...

Beaconsfield. Wasn't that Disraeli?

Didn't somebody used to call himself that who wasn't of Beaconsfield?

Bearded Socialist said...

Now, my choice for the chair was Richard Shepherd. Bercow was some way off, but it's madness the way the Tories are coming out aginst him. Let's hope he does well, but I'm not sure if it's a sense of entitlement from the Tories as exemplified by Michael Lord MP or they just like complaining, but either way they should do more than complain that the speaker was popular with parties other than themselves

Doug said...

Bercow is already dead man walking. He has become Speaker by the worst possible politicking. You can't build a house on shaky foundation. His Speakership will end in disaster just like Martin who also only had the support of one side of the House. He is totally compromised. Many, many Tories will not accept his actions however much he professes impartiality. If he seeks to win over Tory doubts then he will been seen by everyone else as being partial. It's a state of affairs that has no solution.

Liam said...

So a Conservative member is chosen and MPs from that party are just as upset if he were actually a Labour member !

Okay, so it's clear that he is more loyal a Labour MP than many Labour whips, and his result is a stitch-up of some degree, but the route from here is to keep the Government in check. Turning all your efforts into trying to defeat the Speaker in the run up to the next election is not the route to take!

Anonymous said...

"It would be churlish for Conservatives not to wish him well"

Don't you think you should mention that to Nadine thought her behaviour left a lot be desired

Andrew said...

Sorry - my mistake. John Bercow is, of course, MP for Buckingham.

Did anyone pick up what David Cameron had to say about his 'annual conversation' as he left to toddle along with the Old Stalinist to the House of Peers?

Simon said...

Open letter to: Rt. Hon. Nadine Dorries MP for Mid Beds. Conservative. House of Commons, Westminster. London SW1

Dear Nadine

We did our best to stop John Bercow becoming the New Speaker of The House of Commons, but for whatever reason it was not to be, as he defeated Sir George Young by just over 50 votes in the final round.

As I watched on TV Nadine your face said it all as the final result was announced as I watched your reaction over his left shoulder. I felt exactly the same as you did as I shook my head in despair. It also was notable how few Conservatives were clapping and the many solemn faces on the Tory benches. It seems his 'greasing up' to New Labour and the Lib Dems has paid off, he has got what he been hoping and 'scheming' for, for along time.

When I think of his disloyalty to the Conservative party and three party leaders over the last few years and his sickening, 'liberal pedantic speeches' especially during the recent Embryology/ Abortion debate, that makes the result a bitter pill to swallow indeed. It will be interesting to view his promised impartiality, especially when moral issues are being discussed. It will be the subtle manipulation of debates I will be looking for and his old habit of shutting down debates if he doesn't agree with what is being said. I fear the worst. However, as a Christian I have no hate for the man as a person, just his duplicity he has shown as an MP and his claimed liberal enlightenment. In fact if he'd crossed the floor two years ago, I would of respected his liberal/ new labour views. However, I could not respect him having those views, whilst he stayed in his safe Conservative seat and continued to masquerade as a Conservative to the local people in his constituency.

I will pray that like Saint Paul he will have a 'Damascus road experience' and that he changes some of his core beliefs, yet again, especially on the need to protect the most vulnerable human life amongst us; the unborn child.

Anonymous said...

well labour has the majority ,so what do people expect, labour are used to getting what they consider to be 'their' people into positions of power.

Bercov has flipped on almost all major issues of the day and expect this to be the case when it comes to the reform of the commons.

If you looked at the election announcement it was cheers all round from the labour and liberal side. stony silence on the tory side.

sums it up really. labour's used its majority yet again to get what it wants .

Labour MP's felt they had to vote for a 'tory' because they couldn't be seen to vote another of their own in, but as they dispise the tories with real hatered they were in a dilemma . The answer was Bercow- who was therefore labour's best tory alternative .

I expect him to be out in the next parliament , as everyone but labour is sick to death of tory stooges.

jd said...

"Turning all your efforts into trying to defeat the Speaker in the run up to the next election is not the route to take!"

No need. We'll just deselect him after the election.

But we must wish him well? Not a chance. He's a nasty, two-faced slimeball. I hope he falls down the side of the cushion on the Speakers Chair never to be seen again.

Anonymous said...

Bercow's election was a total farce. The spite came form the Labour benches, not the Tory ones.

"He has become Speaker by the worst possible politicking. You can't build a house on shaky foundation."

Spot on, Doug.

These chumps have learned absolutely nothing.

Cath said...

@ Simon

your post is a joke, right?

Valleys Mam said...

will he now give up his lucrative second job

Weygand said...

His smug grin, like his acceptance speech, was not that of a man humbled by the responsibility he had acquired.

My guess is that the continued political chicanery of the Commons will lead to further ignominy.

Sue said...

What a sham. They should have chosen someone beyond reproach, someone who didn't fiddle the taxpayer with their expenses!

They're all corrupt!

Anonymous said...

I find all this talk of his rebelliousness and his love of Labour interesting - a glance at his voting record shows a less clear-cut story.

Yes, he rebels. But look at on what. Matters of conscience, free votes, and occasional items where the opposition is clearly in the wrong. Take Harperson's Equality Bill - the Tories offered support and then tried to wreck it, but Bercow supported it.

Rather a speaker who votes with the Tories when they are right, and independent when they are wrong, than a unblinking loyalist.

Thatsnews said...

John Bercow? Speaker? This will go one of two ways...

Thatsnews said...

Just heard Bercow on the news saying: “I continue to believe that the vast majority of members of this House are upright, decent, honourable people who have come into politics, not to feather their nests, but because they have heeded the call of public service.”

Except, of course, he wasn't one of them.

Pol-e-tics said...

Is it not the case that Speakers tend to retire from politics when they leave the Chair? Is this because they tend to be pensioners? If fate allowed Bercow to remain in place for ten years he would still be only 56. Will he cling to the Chair rather than leave Parliament? So much speculation. And Speaker Bercow hasn't even spoke yet.

Mirtha Tidville said...

hope the trougher makes the most of the next 11 months..now is the time for proper planning by the Tories to find someone of quality as speaker after the next election..This tainted little turd will certainly not do..

Anonymous said...

Absolute travesty.
Unbelievable.
How have we let this happen in our country?
The last act of the most self-serving corrupt government this country has seen in a long time.
By no margin was this the best candidate for the job.

Anonymous said...

Dale, you offer a list of things that Bercow must do if he is to convince you and the Conservatives that he is up to the job of Speaker. The problem is that Bercow was elected (by Labour) precisely because he wouldn't do the things you list.

Bercow will no more deliver on the things you want than Thatcher would have delivered on the things a Trotskyite trade unionist wanted circa 1980.

If Labour had been the least bit interested in a worthy candidate, they'd have thrown their weight behind George Young. But they weren't so they didn't. Bercow will deliver what his constituency and his friends want: namely, more of the same, more of the sleaze and corruption that have marked the last twelve years, more subjugation of parliament to the whim of the executive and more subjugation of the public to the whim of parliament.

Bercow is Mick Martin with a different accent, more hair and less flab - and the theoretical (Con) after his name changes not a whit of that. Today Labour politicians showed that they were incapable of rising above partisan point-scoring. They showed the same mentality that Broon showed over the 10p tax rate. They said: "Fuck the proles. We want to score some points against the Tories."

Keith Willey said...

Lovely to see the Tory Party showing just how nice they can be! Not the 'Nasty Party' at all.

Oh you make me chuckle!

David Boothroyd said...

The new Speaker must 'fine' David Cameron one question every time he accidentally-on-purpose calls Gordon Brown "you" at Prime Minister's Question Time.

Paul Halsall said...

"but he needs to reassure all parts of the House that he intends to do a job, and not become a personality"

Wow, Iain. I love you to bits honey, but surely you knew that phrase would come back and yelp!

Paul Halsall said...

He seems to have have shed his "rightist" position simply by supporting the law that allows adoptions by approved gay couples for suitable children.

Surely, Iain, that should get your supportt.

Norton Folgate said...

The new speaker must fine the cyclops every time he lies through his teeth and asks questions instead of answering them at PMQ's.

Andy JS said...

Those who want to see the back of Bercow already shouldn't get the hopes up: if the Tories win a majority of 50 seats at the next election it would still only take about 10% of Tory MPs to support Bercow for him to win re-election assuming the other parties continue to support him.

Anonymous said...

Halsall, if you really believe that Bercow's unpopularity is the result of his resignation over gay adoption, you're obviously ignorant of Bercow's behaviour in parliament over the last seven years.

The reality, of course, is that you're not ignorant. You're perfectly aware of why Bercow is unpopular. You're also aware of why the Labour Party voted for Bercow (viz., as a cheap practical joke on David Cameron) and you can see just how clearly it demonstrates the contempty which your fellow travellers have for the electorate and for parliament.

It says quite a bit about you that your sole response to Labour's revolting behaviour is to make cheap cracks about how the EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEvil Tories are a bunch of queer-bashers.

You're tiresome and I think we'd all be happier if you'd piss off back to the Bronx to teach your derivative excuse for scholarship to a bunch of overprivileged and undereducated American Catholics.

tapestry said...

Bercow campaigned in his constituency against the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and backed Ken Clarke for the leadership.

The Euroluvvies fear Cameron's wish to stop the Lisbon Treaty and his push for a referendum. Appointing the worst euro-luvvie of them all (secretive and duplicitous Bercow), they hope the urine will be flowing over Cameron.

Bring back the open criminality of Martin. It was preferable to the slimy 'I'm your friend, honestly' Bercow variety.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain: You cannot have it both ways...

"Bercow is a Servant of the House, Not Its Master".

"he also needs to send a clear signal that the House is now under new management".

The Speaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Speaker said...

Iain this you have got it wrong with your predictions. Although I would have endorsed Sir Alan aswell, i enjoy the debates that he Chairs and i feel his performance with John McDonell, just demonstrates the control he has of the house.
I think that indeed Bercow will be the slave and not the master and Sir Alan would have most definately been the master.

thespeakeronline.blogspot.com

The Speaker said...

Sorry the removed comment was mine i noticed there were a few typos

dioneo said...

The irony is, Conservative MPs hate him because he has rebelled against the Conservative Whip on the very policies the Conservative Party needs to jettison if it is to build a genuine and enduring majority in the country rather than merely benefit from an unpopular leader and a corruption scandal - the repressive, regressive, out-of-touch issues beloved by the Cornerstone Group. I suspect most Conservative MPs would have rather had another Labour Speaker than a Tory who wasn't tribally loyal to the party, who refused to support the Victorian Values tendency.

And Cameron has shown himself up to be less than I hoped for, again. He supported George Young - someone just as guilty as Michael Martin of allowing the expenses corruption to flourish - because he wanted to make sure there was no real reform of Parliament before the next election. It's pure gaming on his part - he wants to capitalise on the corruption to present himself as the man to change Parliament. It suggests he's not serious about that change, and will be just the same as his predecessors when he becomes Prime Minister, allowing all those bold promises to die a death in committees and commissions.

Anonymous said...

Iain, love the work but you're getting too Cameron....centre middle of the road. this is a thatcher biographer, please , you need some wake up tabs..hi strength and dose. what is you're ulterior motive its fast becoming so obvious....rule of thumb, no one likes conformist, follower of fashion

Jamie said...

I guess this is the law of unintended consequences in politics... Oh dear.
I have to say I couldn't stand any moment he had his mouth open today. Much too smarmy. And why on earth he stops every three words is beyond me. Somebody needs to coach this man how to deliver a speech.

I hope he can rise above the trouble and be a good speaker. I would take his decision to wear a wig (if he does) as a sign that he is acting as the officer and not as the man.

javelin said...

I understand a lot of MPs think it easier for John to become a neutral and that Labour MPs have shown themselves to be as nasty as their leader. John needs to get public support rather than that of the house. I think he may become too popoluarist.

jaybs said...

Iain you are quite correct and you came over well with your viewpoint on TV last night. Shame some childish Conservative MP's behaved so petty, we may not agree with everything from Bercow, but he has been elected and we should give him a chance!

Guthrum said...

Everybody hates the referee

So a discredited Parliament has elected one of its own.

More shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic

Jabba the Cat said...

Bercow as Speaker reaffirms that the whole lot of them are nothing more than self aggrandising hoons.

Anonymous said...

Bercow's first test is to get the right result from the Kelly Inquiry into expenses and to get that widened to take in pay and pensions.

If MPs set themselves apart from ordinary people by continuing with their scandalous pension arrangements and a set of rules for expenses which employees in other businesses could never hope to get past the taxman, then he will have failed.

judith said...

I would suggest that there is every incentive for the new Speaker to get on with implementing his proposed reforms.

If he fails to make a start on them, he will surely face a challenge after the Gen Election.

If he performs better than everyone here expects, then Cameron has one less problem to worry about when he becomes PM.

Michael said...

As an undecided voter I find this theme quite nasty. The speaker election may have been games but the churlish attitude of the Tories doesn't bode well and even Gordon Brown managed to make a more natural speech than Cameron.

Also despite seemingly being adored by many of you, Nadine Dorries is a reason not to vote Tory and everytime she speaks in public (Question Time, Radio 2) she loses votes for the Tories.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

Bercow will do well to overcome the disadvantages bestowed by the circumstances that created the Speakership vacancy and will do brilliantly to meet the ridiculously high expectations that seem to be commonly accepted as now existing, fulfilment of which would require powers well beyond those of the office.

Parliament badly needs a successful Speaker. If Bercow is not he, then Parliament will be even further diminished. In that context, Bercow’s appeal based upon Conservative ideology seems an insubstantial matter.

Flemingcrag said...

Doubts about anyone becoming Speaker of the House are diminished if the person expressing them had reduced the whole process of electing a new Speaker to a gamble at the Bookies.

I know I leave myself open to charges of being a pious prig but, I thought anyone who truly had the interests of the public in mind would have risen above the antics of the House and not tried to profit from a SLUG being elected by a herd of SLUGS.

Another illusion shattered, he who you know wishes to be a Lawmaker, a representative of the little people, could succcessively drop into the cesspool that is still Westminster without creating a ripple.

Not a sheep said...

According to Nadine Dorries only 3 Conservative MPs voted for John Bercow...

Sean Haffey said...

Sir George Young would have made an excellent speaker, but he suffered one fatal flaw - a flaw even worse than fiddling his expenses.

He is an old Etonian.

With about a dozen OEs already among Conservative MPs, LibDem and Labour MPs would have found him unacceptable.

This is a great pity because is a fine man and would have been excellent in the role.

David from Ealing said...

OK, so he may be a servant of the House, but probably more important than that he should be a servant of the people.

All this catty bile about Bercow is worrying. Calm down.

DM Andy said...

I think the idea that Labour MPs just voted for Bercow to annoy Tories is far from the mark - I think he could have been the best candidate of a dire crop of candidates.

If I'd been a Labour MP*. I wouldn't have voted for someone who's just come from Government (Beckett), someone from a marginal seat (Dhanda), someone who was on Speaker Martin's team (Haselhurst and Lord), someone content to carry on in the same way (Young and Beith). I would have been reluctant to vote for a stop gap speaker (Widdlecombe) so that would leave Bercow, Cormack and Shephard. I think I might have voted Shephard first, but once he was eliminated I would have moved to Bercow.

*Of course if I was a Labour MP I would have a much more informed vote having worked with the various candidates for years.

dmc said...

Now is the time to start a campaign for the speaker to be elected by other means.It shows parliament still cannot be trusted.Can it sink any lower?

Doug said...

All of you complaining about criticism of Bercow are hypocritical when you are also complaining about MP expenses and sleaze. Bercow is far from clean on the expenses issue but more importantly he failed the first test of acceding to the Chair. The process and the reasons why he is the Speaker are corrupt. It's not that he is a faux Tory but the wrong person elected under the worst possible circumstances. The only people who are consistent are those who see the obvious similarities between Martin and Bercow. Bercow has no moral authority and no Parliamentary authority. He is a purely partisan choice and history tells us that Bercow's term is far more likely to end in failure than for their to be a highly improbable epiphany resulting in a great Speaker. This just shows the depths that Labour have sunk to corrupt Parliament.

skingers said...

Oh well... easy come, easy go... The Most Inept Speaker award, coveted by Michael Martin, and well deserved, just got some competition... Bercow will have to work miracles if the face of the Tory benches is any indicator of the 'journey' ahead... Looks like the rise and fall of Speaker Bercow could be a short made for TV film not a lengthy epic...

Ye Gods and little fishes said...

"David Boothroyd said...
The new Speaker must 'fine' David Cameron one question every time he accidentally-on-purpose calls Gordon Brown "you" at Prime Minister's Question Time."

I'd agree to that if he was also allowed an extra question every time Brown fails to answer one.

Elby the Beserk said...

His first comment left me worried; he says the job of the Speaker is to be an "Ambassador for the House". No, it is not, it is to run the affairs of the house impartially, actually, not - as his predecessor liked to do - to swan off round the world, with his wife in tow, flying first class to exotic locations, to be - an Ambassador for the House.

What is clear is that the Labour Party has learnt nothing from the events of the past few weeks

Salmondnet said...

Very hard to see that Bercow will be any better tham Michael Martin and he is young enough to be in the job for decades if not thrown out (in which case he will be set up for life).

Nadine Dorries has it right. This is part of Labour's scorched earth policy.

Man in a Shed said...

Labour keep targeting PMQs trying to paint it as some sort of baiting of Brown. It will be interesting to note if Bercow takes a position on this.

We'll see if any deals have been done over the next couple of Wednesdays.

What's sad here is that Labour MPs have gone for narrow party hate instead of understanding that they are just custodians of their positions. As a result the speaker has become politicised.

golden_balls said...

You say the pm or minister should be made to answer questions by the speaker how would that exactly work.
All pms have avoided questions including your your spiritual leader Lady T.

golden_balls said...

Has anyone got a link to the tory front bench acting childish when bercow was elected ian won't deliver so i'm hoping someone else a little less biased will.

Oscar Miller said...

There is a moral here - we always imagine getting rid of a person is like getting rid of the problem. Blair worked for years to get Charlie Whelan sacked - only for him to be replaced by Damien McBride (and even then Whelan lived on with different job titles). Gordon Brown has seamlessly perpetuated the political manipulation of the role of Speaker with Bercow's election. Ditching Martin has obviously not solved anything.

Conservative Friends of Israel said...

Oye Vey!

Another one of us in a position of power! Move over Mandelson, Milliband, Straw, make some more room at the table!

trevorsden said...

The reason for the current expenses scandal is because of regular politically motivated reductions in MP pay recommendations. MPs were encouraged by the authorities (especially labour whips - but I guess the tories were not much better) to treat 'expenses' as an 'allowance' and a substitute for pay.

As such there is no one untainted by the 'expenses scandal' - it shows the pointlessness of an incomes policy. brown himself made great play of not taking a pay rise - but then flipped his house!

So no speaker would have been 'clean'.

But Bercow is just another example of Labours scorched earth policy. A new parliament will be entitled to elect a new Speaker and what is a mere convention should be cast aside and every parliament entitled to put up new candidates and elect a new Speaker.

Indeed since parliament has made such an arse of itself its time for a range of conventions, like 'honourable members' to be thrown away. As a prelude to throwing Bercow out Conservatives should be actively promoting a new modernised set of procedures.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody really care? He's just another bloody useless politician!

Anonymous said...

It is not enough for the Speaker to force Ministers to answer questions. He must address the conduct of MPs on all sides of the House. That means zero tolerance of playground behaviour and opposition by soundbite as well as Government evasiveness at the Despatch Box. It is arguable that an approach to opposition politics rooted in unrelentingly negative criticism of almost everything the Government does as much to destroy trust in the system as Government's own failures.

There is a formal code for MPs that requires MPs to conduct themxselves so as to avoid behaviour that might damage the reputation of Parliament. I noticed that none of the candidates for Speaker promised to enforce it...

William Blake's Ghost said...

Whatever he does he is still 'King Trough' and that is yet another affront to the electorate. Bercow is an arrogant disgrace!

That will not change!

It's shameful that he has been elected and I hope UKIP or an Independent stand and win in Buckingham at the next General Election.

Anonymous said...

And another thing ... he's too bloody short!

Whiffler said...

Bercow on the news said: “I continue to believe that the vast majority of members of this House are upright, decent, honourable people"

That being the case, why does he think it needs reforming?.

I found it difficult to place him, as Alan Duncan's visage kept coming to mind - a bit like knowing the first attempt at resolving a crosswrod clue is wrong but the more you try not to think about it the more it .

However, on seeing Bercow dragging a couple of colleagues to the Chair like drogue shoots on a space shuttle landing, then seeing parts of his performance, I see what an oleaginous onanist he is.

I wait to see whether he is effective or just becomes a grinning jackanape.

Yours with an open mind

Whiffler

strapworld said...

David boothroyd makes an interesting point. Cameron to be 'fined' one question every time he calls the worst prime minister in our history 'YOU'...

What does Mr Bothroyd suggest that Speaker BERCOW. (Is his ebay persona 'COWERbunger')does
about the Prime Minister's asking questions of the Leader of the Opposition?

What about his blatant lies
Will Mr boothroyd suggest what the new speaker could/should do?

May I congratulate DMC. We do need a truly independent speaker and that can only be someone appointed by the Appointments Commission!

It will be interesting to discover just what Bercow does to satisfy those that have put him there!

Sadly, I suspect he will continue, although more articulately, the path worn well by Lord Martin of the Gorbals.

Elby the Beserk said...

@Blogger David Boothroyd said...

The new Speaker must 'fine' David Cameron one question every time he accidentally-on-purpose calls Gordon Brown "you" at Prime Minister's Question Time
//

Oh God. You still around? And what should he do when instead of answering a question, Brown asks one back of DC. Or worse, when he lies through his teeth?

You the Wikipedia guy who got kicked out for fabricating stuff? Or is that another David Boothroyd?

Paul Linford said...

It would be churlish for Conservatives not to wish him well. If he makes a success of the job everyone should be happy.

Would that all of your colleagues were as generous Iain.

I personally think it is sad that neither Sir George Young nor Sir Alan Haselhurst got to be Speaker - both would have been excellent and in retrospect one of them should have been chosen in 2000. But it's time for the Commons to move on from the old guard and for me, that was the main message of last night's votes.

strapworld said...

The best quote of the day comes from that self serving man, our glorious leader! in the Daily Mail!

"But the inalienable truth which must underpin this new politics, one that does not require a new law or endless debate, is that we serve only one master - the British people".

So Cameron must ask this man only two questions.

"IF you now believe that the British people are our master, why have you denied them a referendum on the Lisbon treaty which will ensure, if ratified, that this country will no longer be an independent country"

THEN

"If you now believe the British People are our master, why will you not give them what they are demanding day in and day out A GENERAL ELECTION NOW"

Anonymous said...

Lest we forget:

The MP for Buckingham flipped the designation of his main and second homes between London and his constituency and designated each as his main home at the time he sold it.

It meant he paid no capital gains tax on either sale.

While he insisted that he had done nothing wrong, Mr Bercow said he had decided to “voluntarily” pay to the taxman £6,508 plus VAT - the tax which he could have been required to pay on the profit from the sale of one of the houses.

Mr Bercow, a former member of the shadow cabinet, claimed a total of £143,455 in second home allowances between 2001 and 2008.

Anonymous said...

I thought the speaker wants informal consent from most parties in the commons. Only 3 tories voted for him, why did he put himself up for election with such a low support base.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you are wrong Ian, he won’t reform much at all that’s why he was picked!

A toughing speaker for a rotten parliament.

He says MP's feel hurt, aww diddum's.

Says MP's did not join Parliament to feather their nest's, he flipped he fiddled with the best of them, that seems like feathering to me.

This standard of rubbish may be acceptable to you Ian, but not to me, and I suspect I’m not alone.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 10.05. Seconded.

Chris said...

The reason there is such disdain for Bercow on the Tory benches is nothing to do with his voting record. As has been pointed out, he mostly rebels on moral issues. No - it is their experience of Bercow as a person. Having met him once a few years ago I understand. The occasion was a round table lunch at a policy conference. Bercow's contributions seemed to be designed to attract attention to himself rather than to further the debate. He craves approval from others. Politics is a team game and you have to be able to trust your team mates even if you don't agree. There is plenty of trust and respect in politics between those who disagree provided they are straightforward. Tony Benn said this about Alan Clark: "He said what he thought which is all too rare in the present House of Commons". Bercow typifies this aspect of Blair era politics - being more concerned with the perception of others than articulating strongly held beliefs. That is why those who have the most experience of Bercow doubt he will make a good speaker.

John Moss said...

Each new Parliament should elect it's Speaker and that person should retire at the next election.

The former gives them legitimacy in the House they serve and the latter makes sure they remain impartial as they seek no further enhancement.

Bercow may well be "far too young" in that he may seek party advantage, thinking of a return to the party benches after a "term" as Speaker". That Speakers can now be defenestrated suggests they will always lean to the majority party.

Once again, we have "modernised" something, only to make it worse!

Anonymous said...

AndyJS,

That which 'ordinary voters' find unattractive are shown by recent poll results.

DM Andy said...

Anon 10:05 - I wouldn't repeat Nadine Dorrie's speculation as fact. It was a secret ballot so we'll never know.

Besides, even if Dorries is correct, does it matter? Most contested elections for Speaker have divided along party lines, Speakers Lloyd and Hylton-Foster were elected on party-line votes and even Speaker Boothroyd was elected despite Tory MPs voting against her by 3 to 1.

Hannibal said...

Interesting snap of the new Speaker and Jesse Jackson here - http://donalblaney.blogspot.com/2009/06/caption-competition-speaker-bercow-and.html

Sean Haffey said...

I found the body language in Bercow's acceptance speech interesting.

golden_balls said...

The conservatives and liberals have got away with ousting a speaker this time. If it were to happen a second time after the election then all bets would be off.

to have three speakers in less than a year would show the conservatives being more interested in controlling the house of commons.

It could be done but camerons honeymoon would be quickly over with accusations of control freak if that were to happen.

bercow is safe and i'm sure he'll have fun in his new job. I still haven't got the link to the childish behaviour of the tory front bench from last night can anyone provide ?

Paul Linford said...

Bercow may well be "far too young" in that he may seek party advantage, thinking of a return to the party benches after a "term" as Speaker.

At the risk of giving the Tories another bout of apoplexy, there were at least two Speakers elected at a similarly young age who went on to become Prime Minister!

Oscar Miller said...

Most contested elections for Speaker have divided along party lines

Think you've given the game away here DM Andy - Bercow was elected by his own side - the Labour party.

Twig said...

Jim Baxter said...
"It's to be hoped that he will grow with the job..."
June 22, 2009 10:56 PM


If not, could he claim for a pair of elevator shoes on expenses?

English First said...

And MP`s are servants to the people, but they all appear to have conveniently forgotten that!

PIENOMICS said...

Why are MP'e electing a man who has repaid money for his expenses? In my view he is unfit to hold this office.

When is Gordy going to repay his cleaning expenses?

AProlefrom1984 said...

Nu Lab wanted Bercow just to upset the Tory Party. This is bad news on so many levels. After the next election Tory MPs should chuck him out after his Nu Lab mates would have all been chucked out by the voters.

Paul Halsall said...

@Anon

"You're tiresome and I think we'd all be happier if you'd piss off back to the Bronx to teach your derivative excuse for scholarship to a bunch of overprivileged and undereducated American Catholics."

It's always good to be attacked by someone signed in as "Anonymous".

Although I liked living in the Bronx for 5 years, I was quite clearly born in Manchester.

Some American Catholics are undereducated, although not after they took my classes. But their problems are as nothing compared to the underwhelmingness of many of the posters here.

Anonymous said...

happy days, got bercow at 4/1,thanks to the media.all my winning on a hung parliament, nap.GET ON EASY MONEY

Thats News said...

How long has he got in office?

Mirtha Tidville said...

The Tories really should look on the bright side of this....at least they dont have the disloyal,greasy little twat sat amongst them, on the benches he purports to support every day...

DespairingLiberal said...

I think Bercow will one day lead a revived centrist Tory Party. Once Cameron and his hedge fund buddies have been in office for a few years, people will see them for the sad extremist little englander numpties they truly are and desert them in droves, leaving a gap for genuine centrist politics to return to the forefront.

Nigel said...

Bercow would not have been my first choice, but the Conservative reaction to his election seems to me both unattractive, and misguided.
From the average voter's point of view, slavish party loyalty is not exactly a great concern. Do you want to be seen as an exclusive clique ?
The charge of opportunistic careerism carries a little more weight, but again, voters probably believe that most MPs are opportunistic careerists.
Backbenchers muttering about unseating him, before he has had any chance to show whether or not he is up to the job, is utterly stupid. The personal insults are beneath contempt.

Like I said, not my first choice. I don't know if he will be any good, and it's a shame that Sir George's background probably cost him the win, but Bercow deserves at least a chance to prove himself.

Jim Baxter said...

@Twig

No sizeist remarks on Iain's blog please. who do you think you are? Michael White?

Anonymous said...

Interesting post from Cobden's comments - Bercow first "ex-lobbyist to become Speaker."

http://cobdenscomments.blogspot.com/2009/06/bercow-first-ex-lobbyist-to-become.html

DespairingLiberal said...

I see we are still on Michael White, so that leads me to offer some suggested ripostes to Iain Dale when he accuses you of sexism/racism/other isms.

"At least I don't feature neo-Nazis in my broadcasts."

"At least my columns don't act as a gathering ground for BNP supporters, unlike your blog".

"Some of my comments turn out to be factually accurate, unlike nearly all of your blog headlines, Mr Dale."

"Talk about the pot calling the kettle - Mr Sexist Dale"!

"I know you like to pose as a reformed Tory nice guy Iain, but we all know you're not!"

Jim Baxter said...

That reminds me of the old joke, 'I'd rather have a despairing liberal than a frontal lobotomy'. Ha! Gets me every time.

No, that's not right. Must be suffering from the effects of both.

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing Liberal

"I think Bercow will one day lead a revived centrist Tory Party."

So how does that work then? He's achieved his (reportedly) lifetime's ambition of becoming the Speaker, so what happens? Does he step down to resume his political career? Any precedents here?

Crass, totally crass.

Anonymous said...

Heard Alan Duncan on Today this morning refusing to properly condemn the plot to unseat Bercow after the next election.

Iain-Don't you think Cameron should publicly order his MPs not to plot against Bercow and insist that there will be no moves to unseat him after the election? Cameron has a responsibility to lead by example and show support for the new speaker who was fairly elected after all.

Unsworth said...

Anon 6:55PM

"Don't you think Cameron should publicly order his MPs not to plot against Bercow and insist that there will be no moves to unseat him after the election?"

Utterly moronic. So what if Cameron were to be that bleeding inept? How do you think Brown got into power? Showing support for his party leader? And did Brown 'show support' for Martin when he was in trouble?

Splashitallover said...

Sour grapes, Iain. He was elected by MPs, and he led on the first ballot too. Enough said.

By the way, I think it's very fortunate we didn't get Michael Lord as Speaker. If he was given a peerage, as is customary, he'd be Lord Lord. Sounds like a hymn.

His speech was a prime example of not knowing your audience. Majority Labour house, so he mentions the fact he played against the (apartheid-era) Springboks at Rugby. Nice one.

corporeal said...

Has any speaker intervened in PMQs in such a way?

Seems that many Tories are setting unrealistically high standards for Bercow, which will allow them later to claim they gave him a chance and he failed.

Simon said...

So the man with few principles or deeply held convictions was elected. The man who changed his core beliefs and politics to suit his ambitions. How can someone change from being ultra right wing to ultra liberal 'leftie' overnight? What he calls his moment of 'enlightenment' Did he have Damascus Road experience? I don't think so, more like the minute he realised he would have to court New Labour and Lib Dems.MPs favour, to achieve his ambitions of becoming Speaker of the House. It is then he must of decided to do whatever it took to achieve his goal. Even if it meant being disloyal to his own party and it's leaders and 'greasing up' to the opposition at every opportunity. In other words he was prepared to sell his soul for the 'pot of gold' he yearned for. Close observers of John Bercow knew this; especially his Tory colleagues. No wonder they had such solemn faces when the result was announced. Only when prompted by David Cameron did a few Tory MPs give a slow and weak hand-clap, the rest decided to keep their arms crossed or hands firmly on their laps. One Tory MP shouted, 'Not in my name!' As the labour benches enjoyed their moment of childish spite with their smiling faces knowing they had left their final lasting legacy, by achieving something with their bloc vote that would hurt David Cameron and the Conservative Party when they get into power, long after New Labour sinks beneath the waves; in their rotten and stinking ship.

Knowing John Bercow's liberal views on abortion and hearing about his ridiculous amendment that he tabled for the third reading of the Embryology Bill ( which wasn't heard in the end) reflected his new ultra liberal views on moral issues. I therefore fear for the unborn children in the UK when the emotive issue is next debated in the House. I and many others will be watching for his promised fairness and impartiality on such issues. How will he stop himself from ridiculing people who disagree with him? Will he continue to use his old basic method of shutting down the debate, by personally attacking his opponents to undermine them and perhaps try and get a cheap laugh at their expense? A method used frequently by liberals when they are losing the argument. I and many others will be watching him very closely on important debates on moral issues.

Anonymous said...

A load of dud's elect a dud.

Hardly rocket science to predict the predictable.

Anonymous said...

The Sunday Telegraph 28.06.2009 reveals more details of John Bercow's £40,000 private income. Page 7 Quote by Patrick Sawer & Melissa Kite: 'The new Commons Speaker was accused last night of profiting from his work as a government adviser on special educational needs. John Bercow was paid £40,000 by a health care firm which hired him after he wrote a report that led to a £52 million increase in special needs funding. The MP worked for six months for the Priory Group, which runs a number of special needs schools, giving advice about children who suffer from speech and language difficulties. He attended around five board meetings before he resigned from the post on becoming Speaker last week The payments declared by Mr Bercow in the Register of Members' Interests will now raise questions about the propriety of MPs taking money from firms working in an area in which they have dealt directly in Parliament.
Tory opponents of Mr Berocow, who was voted in as Michael Martin's replacement despite little support from his own party, said the disclosures cast fresh doubts on his suitability as Speaker. " This calls into question his judgement. He appears to have profited from his work as Brown's adviser", said one MP.
Mr Bercow, once a member of the right-wing Monday Club but now on the left of his party, has also been criticised for "flipping" the designation of his second home, enabling him to avoid paying capital gains tax.' Unquote.