Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Becow Has A Job To Do. And It Starts Today.

John Bercow was, as has been reported elsewhere, a firebrand member of the infamous Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) in the 1980s. I should know; I was there.

He was an interesting character in those days, and a leading light in the right-wing "Sound" faction of the FCS. He was articulate, passionate, well-read and obviously very intelligent (I remember him vigorously debating the meaning of Conservatism with Roger Sruton at a seminar on political philosophy at Smith Square). He was a good speaker, although somewhat animated, and the opposing "Wets" used to send him up by repeatedly pointing in the air, football-fan-style, whenever he was at the microphone. I can also vouch for Guido's assertion of his links with Loyalism; I distinctly recall him trying to teach me the words to "No Pope of Rome" on an overnight coach from Edinburgh to London.

Well, we were all young and idealistic then, and perhaps taken in by some we should have left alone. I don't begrudge him those pro-UDF, pro-Unita and pro-God-knows-what-else days - we're all entitled to go off on one in our twenties. He's certainly moved a long way politically since then, but the beauty of his appointment as speaker is that that doesn't matter. What matters now is his ability to get MPs in order.

The House of Commons is a desperate place. Not just in the sense of its shame over expenses, but also because it is so utterly out of touch and out of keeping with the Britain it is supposed to rule and lead. With its arcane practice and procedure, it is out-dated, outmoded and, thanks to the actions of successive governments and the EU, is fast becoming obsolete. It needs new leadership, and a change of direction. And from today, Bercow has a chance to stamp a new authority upon it.

Prime Minister's Questions is a weekly disgrace to our legislature. The shouting, the bawling and cat-calling, the attempts to drown out opposing points of view; these our not ways in which our governors or would-be governors should behave. Today Bercow can start transforming the event, should he want to. He has a fantastic opportunity to restore a little public respect in our Parliament. MPs who aren't called to speak can shut up until they are, those who make speeches instead of asking questions can do likewise, and Prime Ministers who don't answer the questions put to them can be brought to heel.

And he can put a stop to all that "right Honourable Gentleman" rubbish, too.

I wish John Bercow all the best. I don't much care about his history. What matters to me is what happens now. From today onwards.

2 comments:

Mrs Smallprint said...

Dear Womble

Your summer tour seems to be very long, will you be returning to the fray soon?

Mrs S.

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