Monday, June 22, 2009

Good luck Speaker Bercow, you will need it

Okay, so I wanted Alan Beith to win, and I thought Margaret Beckett would win, but on reflection I'm glad John Bercow has won, such was the degree of mindless hostility shown to him by the Tory Party and its apologists in the national press over recent days.

Quentin Letts is without doubt one of our most gifted writers and humourists, and some of his criticisms of the man he christened "Gorbals Mick" were justified, but his recent piece on why Bercow shouldn't succeed Michael Martin was the quite the most vicious and unpleasant outpouring of journalistic bile I have read in many a long day.

It makes me wonder what slight, real or imagined, could have led Quentin to pen such a vitriolic piece? The effect of it, on me at any rate, was actually to induce sympathy for poor Bercow - not an emotion I am accustomed to feeling towards Tory politicians.

As to the well-known right-wing blogger who cheered on the Stop Bercow campaign from the sidelines - I won't bother to link to him - his own dislike of the man was clearly down to good old-fashioned religious intolerance. Bercow does support Rangers after all.

I did wonder if there might have been a bit of religious intolerance of another sort going on in what has been a rather unedifying episode for the Tory benches. But we have to take at face value David Cameron's generous tribute to the fact that Bercow is the first Speaker of the Jewish faith.

In terms of the bigger picture, the Commons now has a Speaker with a very clear mandate for reform. It's a good result for the progressive forces in British politics, a bad one for those who somehow wanted to use this election not to advance the reform process, but to stall it.

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James Higham said...

I drew a parallel at Bob Piper's between the London Mayoral Deputies and the Speakers of the House. Both appear to be endangered species.

Allan said...

What, dear Quentin and bile in the same sentence, surely not...