Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Michael Martin's 'Phoney' Moment

Michael Martin caused David Cameron some embarrassment today when he forced him to withdraw the term 'phoney' with reference to Gordon Brown.

Well, it is he who should now be embarrassed. At PMQs on 10 October 2007 David Cameron used the term and no one complained, and the Speaker allowed it. Scroll in to 1.31 on the above clip.

Further evidence that Michael Martin is not up to the job.

UPDATE: Louise Bagshawe rightly upbraids me via Twitter that it was she who spotted this and posted it on Twitter. Happy to tip my hat at her!


Unknown said...

This was still pretty below-the-belt stuff from Cameron, but I imagine the Speaker didn't rebuke him on that occasion because he only said Brown "looks" like a phoney.

Anonymous said...

Martin not upto the job, he is a total disgrace to the citizens of the country and the position of speaker. He epitomises what is wrong with this government, stupid, inept, biased, corrupt.

Events dear boy, events said...

Good stuff and well remembered. I have posted on the disgraceful performance by Nick Robinson on The Daily Politics. This bias at the BBC has got to stop.

Enlightened Despot said...

The Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament requires that

"Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament and never undertake any action which would bring the House of Commons, or its Members generally, into disrepute."

On that basis, the Speaker should be constantly pulling up both Opposition leaders and the PM for their pathetic point scoring at PMQs. Do they really believe that this sort of playground behaviour promotes trust?

golden_balls said...

certain lauguage is allowed in parliment and some isn't you either agree or disagree.

i don't want parliment to become just a long list of insults directed at minsters or shadow ministers.

Do you think that cameron should have used that term ?

and to say that because once it was used in a different context that it should be allowed in all circumstances is wrong.

be consistant ian

Unknown said...

Michael Martin clearly isn't up to the job, but I see nothing wrong with his rebuke today.

Today, David Cameron directly called Gordon Brown "a phoney".

In the video you posted (viewed it many times, awesome awesome stuff there from Cameron!), David Cameron didn't call him anything, he said, "Does he realise what a phoney he now looks?".

See the difference? It's like calling someone a liar, which you cant do, and asking someone whether they realise that their actions make them look like a liar, which you can.

Ian Simcox said...

Phoney (n):
a. One who is insincere or pretentious.
b. An impostor; a hypocrite.

Perhaps the speaker would like to explain which part of 'Brown is a phoney' is not true.

Unsworth said...

@ James

"but I imagine"

Yep, you do.

rob's uncle said...

'It is acceptable to use a euphemisim for lying so long as it is merely suggesting that an MP was lying to the people, it only becomes unacceptable to suggest a member is lying to other MPs.'
John Lipnicki

Victor, NW Kent said...

Lovely crack at the pavement bully Dennis Skinner though. Nick Brown was highly amused.

Could someone tell me who the guy was on Brown's right, the one who looks like an undertaker?

Unknown said...


It was Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

There was Scottish questions immediately prior to PMQ's, that's why he was sat so close.

Oscar Miller said...

Strange how the Labour party get so prim and huffily proper when they're under the cosh. They like to dish it out but they just can't take it.

Conand said...

On this and other evidence the Speaker is a phoney too.
Cameron is entirely right to be angry, the Do Nothing Government is giving people false hope and in the most expensive and incompetent way possible.

David Boothroyd said...

Doesn't the original post beg the question of whether the Speaker is obliged to be absolutely consistent in what they allow and do not allow? There is in fact no such rule. Even if there was, there is a significant difference between saying someone is 'like X' and saying that they are X.

The real function of the Speaker is more general, to stop the atmosphere getting too heated and personal, and by that point it was.

Bernard Weatherill allowed Tony Banks to describe Terry Dicks as "living proof that a pigs-bladder on a stick can get elected to Parliament" largely because Banks clearly didn't mean it so seriously and the reaction was amused laughter rather than an eruption of indignation.

Duncan Stott said...

Just done a quick search of Hansard, found this from 12th June 08: Harriet Harman said this of Theresa May:

"I therefore regard the concern expressed by the right hon. Lady to be entirely phoney — as with so many of the issues that she raises."

Two questions:

1. Was Martin sitting in the speaker's chair at the time? (How does one go about finding this out?)

2. Is calling someone's concern 'phoney' the same as calling someone a phoney?

Nicholas J. Rogers said...

Looking at that video from nearly a year and a half ago, what I'm struck with most of all is how Brown has not changed his Commons style one bit! He has stuck with his 'strategy' of not even attempting to answer Cameron's questions and attacking him instead.

So many people have pointed out to him that this is completely the wrong approach to take but Brown simply ignores opinions with which he disagrees.

Am I surprised? No...

rob's uncle said...

Duncan: look up the debate in The person in the chair is clearly identified.

Unknown said...

What a shock hey. One sweaty sock sticking up for another.

nulli secundus said...

Funny how in October 2008 when Gordie accused Cameron of "misleading" people the Speaker only sprung into action when told to do so by the clerks. Even then all he did was call for "temperate language"!

The speaker's robe should be red. Then this pretence of impartiality abandoned.

Unsworth said...

@ David Boothroyd

"There is in fact no such rule"

Of course there isn't - what a remarkably crass observation. Do you seriously suggest that there might be 'rules' in any walk of life which stipulate such consistency? You think Speaker Martin is wrong to be 'inconsistent' only if some 'rule' says he must not be so?

Are there 'rules' also which cover his every decision in (and out of) the Chamber? Where is this job description for Speaker Martin which you seem to be quoting from?

His job is to ensure that 'things don't get too heated'? Where is that laid down exactly? Is that his only function?

Absolute piffle.

David Boothroyd said...

Unsworth, I don't know why you're so angry about everything. Perhaps you ought to calm down some times. It's simply a description of how the Speaker, whomever it may be, will behave in practice - which, as with the other dignified and elegant aspects of our constitution, runs according to uncodified rules.

It's what makes Britain great, and all that.

Jimmy said...

"Phoney (n):
a. One who is insincere or pretentious.
b. An impostor; a hypocrite. "

e.g.:"And we need to change, and we will change, the way we behave. I'm fed up with the Punch and Judy politics of Westminster, the name calling, backbiting, point scoring, finger pointing" said the phoney.

Unsworth said...

@ David Boothroyd

Wild assumptions there. 'How the Speaker will behave'? How the hell would you know that? It'll (it does!) depend on a whole plethora of factors. Some Speakers (witness Martin in particular) have brought incompetence, bias and failure to previously unrealised levels.

You made the statement - and I pointed out the lunacy. You'd prefer not to be contradicted? Of course.

I quite enjoy a bit of robust debate but 'Angry' is not quite the mot juste here, it's more 'Contemptuous'. However I can also do 'Angry' if you'd like - got my MSc in Rage. It's the only thing that keeps me going.

Anonymous said...

All this talk of "phoneys".

So your column (blog) is the fifth entry on the Orwell prize longlist.

Orwell knew a thing or two about fifth columns from his time in the Spanish Civil War.

Knowing the origin of the Orwell prize, are you a fifth columnist for Common Purpose?