...a blog by Richard Flowers

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Day 2611: Sometimes if it flies on a broomstick and cackles then it IS a witch!


Apparently it is all about CLASS.

If you're criticising Mr Speaker of the House Martin, Speaker of the Commons, then you are a BAD person indulging in SNOBBERY.

But if you're defending him, then it is PERFECTLY OKAY to dismiss his critics as "stuck-up upper-class hooray-henrys".

It is no wonder people get confused about the intricacies of our CLASS SYSTEM!

There are only TWO questions that are important, and Mr Speaker's BACKGROUND is IRRELEVANT to either – it is neither proof of fault NOR any excuse, and people should address the QUESTIONS and stop making SNIDE INNUENDOS to avoid them.

One: is he any good at his job?

Two: is he on the fiddle?

There is quite a bit of evidence that the answer to the first question is "No". He is biased and bullying and has even managed to "forget" that Mr Clogg gets a go at Prime Monster's Questionable Time. He has never put aside his tribal affinity for the Labour, even though it is part of the oath he swore when he got the job.

Traditionally, Mr Speaker is picked from the OPPOSITION benches so that he will not favour the government. Typical of the Labour to throw out tradition where a grab for more power is concerned, Mr House-Martin (formerly of the Labour) followed on from Ms Betty (formerly of the Labour) even though Lord Blairimort had a huge majority. If there is a cause for RESENTMENT it is there, in treading on the toes of the House of Commons not in whatever job it was he used to do before becoming a white-collar desk-worker.

But what is most LUDICROUS is that NO ONE is allowed to even raise the question.

Mr Phoney Tony Benn is always fond of saying of people in power: "who gave you that power and how can I get rid of you?" Not that he says it about his MATES like Mr House-Martin.

But Mr Speaker IS a powerful position – if you want to have any chance of making a point in debate you have got to get on his good side. He has huge powers of patronage because of that, and he can make a real difference to the passage of legislation if he chooses to. And as we saw only this week, he can THWART legitimate amendments just by blocking an amendment, and can do so without having to give any reason. Or he can choose to accept the motion on the Iraq war that nearly got Lord Blairimort defeated. But just because we agree that it was GOOD that he did the latter doesn't mean that he should have such arbitrary powers nor that he shouldn't be accountable.

The answer to the second question is something that DEMANDS to be looked into.

Making use of air-miles picked up on the job is something that a lot of businesspeople see as perks of the job, or even a legitimate recompense for HAVING to do all that travelling.

But funding your wife's taxi trips out of the public purse… that is starting to look decidedly IFFY.

Everyone accepts that Mr Martin has followed the LETTER of the rules… but that doesn't mean that everyone is totally happy with those rules in the first place. And particularly that the person looking into whether those rules are satisfactory is… Mr Martin himself.

I WONDER what he will decide about claiming for taxis?

Two of the last three Mr or Mrs Speakers were from "humble backgrounds": a "Tiller Girl" and the son of a Welsh miner. And the other was a tailor whom, despite being a Conservatory, the Conservatory grandees all sneered at because he was only "trade".

It is usual that Mr Speaker serves two terms. That is what the last three did. But Mr House Martin has already done those.

Personally, I think that it might be a bit better if the Speaker served only ONE term. You should pick a new one each Parliament and at the end of that Parliament he or she goes directly to the House of Lords Club for trebles all round. That should stop anyone… er… outstaying their welcome.

Meanwhile, Mr Clogg has come out in support… oh very fluffy dear.

It didn't get him off the hook when he questioned the procedures when the Speaker threatened to ban him for even suggesting such a thing!

This ISN'T a "witch hunt"; this is a very traditional Liberal demand for a bit of openness to answering some legitimate questions.

No one should be above scrutiny. Saying that you (or your muckers in the Labour) are above the law… that is the REAL snobbery. It is the arrogance of power.

And Liberals don't put up with that sort of thing!

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