Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Commons Speaker John Bercow pours petrol on the flames of discontent, MPs are 'embittered and resentful' over their failed political careers!
In 2010, Gordon Brown knew he was on his way out the door, as a parting gift, Labour MPs voted in John Bercow as Commons Speaker.
He replaced Michael Martin who was unsuited for the task, things got so bad he had to go, not one of the Great Speakers of the House of Commons, no Betty Boothroyd by a long chalk.
So, in an act of spite for Labour’s man getting torpedoed, revenge was in the air, and Labour voted for John Bercow because Tories didn’t want him.
Bercow has had a shaky start and that has continued, just as Tories were kicking into Martin, Tories are kicking into Bercow.
In what must rate as a PR gaffe, John Bercow has taken a swipe at MPs who criticise him, accusing them of being ‘embittered and resentful’ because their own careers have stalled.
No love lost in the Chamber, but Bercow just isn’t another, he is the Speaker, the job carries responsibility and he should reframe from these types of attacks, they do him and the office he holds no credit.
Bercow got the job fairly, he stood and got elected; people should accept that, the motives of the voters could be called into question because it was ill will on their part.
The Buckingham MP said:
‘Sometimes people who perhaps haven’t achieved what they want to achieve in their political career can display some sign of resentment. Not necessarily because they themselves wanted to be Speaker, but because they feel, “Well, my talents haven’t been recognised. That fellow was a rather free-wheeling, independent-minded” – perhaps even, in their minds – “disloyal backbench member, and suddenly he pops up as Speaker. And we don’t like it”.’
Rather unfortunate to be pouring petrol on flames and then fanning it.
Funnily Bercow told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One that he did not bear any grudges towards MPs.
Such a thing shouldn’t have to be said.
And of course since it was Labour who elevated him, Bercow has faced accusations that he is unfairly harsh on Tories while favouring Labour during Commons exchanges.
It’s all about fairness and being seen to be fair.
Another disgraceful episode was allowing Labour MP Chris Bryant to call Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt a ‘liar’ and then failing to ask him to retract the insult. There are certain standards in the House that must be maintained to keep goodwill alive, Bercow was wrong to allow that to happen. He undermined his own authority in the process and gave fuel to the fore of discontent.
And of course, his wife has caused the Office of Speaker to be a mockery; she is a Labour activist and reality TV star.
And the press love to plaster her frequently in the headlines for her antics.
He really has a lot of work to do to rebuild bridges but by the same token, Cameron has allowed his crew to fester, he should stamp that out, but hasn’t, he is also to blame for the situation.
Finally, given the role of Speaker in the Commons, the Labour Party should reflect that sticking two fingers up to the Tories was also sticking two fingers up to the House itself and the public.
There was no need for such a petty display by them.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University