Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Speaker Rescues Poor Prime Minister Shock

Oh dear. Watching the first few minutes of Prime Minister’s Question Time, today’s out of touch Labour dinosaur and figure of fun that the whole House could see was finished was… Gordon Brown. And, just a day after he was forced to resign presumably because Mr Brown told him he couldn’t protect him any more, the Speaker had to step in and tell the House to stop laughing at a poor pitiable Prime Minister too weak to defend himself. And that was just his hopeless fumbling of a backbench MP’s question – before he jumped into a Tory bear trap.

After sliming praise all over the Speaker he’d abandoned, Gordon Brown was asked about his dismal Royal Mail privatisation plans by Lib Dem MP Paul Rowen. Fumbling and stumbling, Mr Brown talked about the pension fund before going on to claim that “they lose five million letters a year” – and the whole House of Commons simply pissed itself. The more he repeated himself, then tried to correct himself by haltingly finding a way to say that they were losing business rather than sticking sackfuls of letters behind hedges, the more they laughed. To the point where the walking dead in the Speaker’s Chair was forced to plead with the Commons not to laugh at the Prime Minister.

Perhaps it was because he’d been so discombobulated that, when David Cameron dug him an obvious bear trap, he obligingly jumped into it.
“This morning, the Prime Minister said that a General Election would bring chaos. What did he mean?”

“What would bring chaos would be a Conservative Government!”
Mr Cameron looked like all his Christmases had come at once, and who could blame him? Yes, the Leader of the Labour Party had just announced that he wasn’t going to call an election because the Tories would win it. He told Mr Brown how rubbish that was and invited him to have another go. The Prime Minister did, and his second, more rambling but less partisan go was much better, but the damage was done. It wasn’t so much an exchange between them that Mr Cameron won as one that Mr Brown lost, outstandingly.

Labour MPs then howled at Nick Clegg for bringing down their patron in the Speaker’s Chair. Worth more than a standing ovation at Liberal Democrat Conference, that mixture of fear and fury from your opponents was. Unlike Mr Brown and Mr Cameron, who praised the Speaker to the heights with varying degrees of hypocrisy, Nick thanked the departing Speaker… For his resignation statement yesterday. Honest, to the point, and saying it like it was rather than pretending to regret he’d gone. And then Mr Martin, always one to bear a grudge despite his mates queuing up to say how kind he was – to them, no doubt – didn’t call Nick’s second question, and put him down when he stood up for it. The Walking-Ex-Speaker thought it was funny, and so did his Labour mates; to the rest of us, it just looked like either uber-partisanship or incompetence. If only he’d managed to defend all the worst bits of Parliamentary secrecy and corruption at the same time, that’d have been all three of the reasons why he was the worst Speaker in living memory and had to go.

Nick, incidentally, talked about a a once in a generation chance to change politics for good, calling on the Prime Minister to reform the whole system from top to bottom, and (in that not-called second question) pointing out that our unelected Prime Minister wields power at the head of a Labour Government that less than a quarter of people voted for. Wasn’t it true that a system where so few votes give a Government so much power will always breed arrogance and secrecy? And, guess what, Mr Brown flannelled. Though, interestingly, a backbench Labour MP asked about voting reform as well. Has everyone been reading Mark’s reckonings? And, given that I've linked to him before, it’s not just women he’s not spotted, Jennie!

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(Tom Baker voice} ooooh, you have a WOMAN'S not-being-noticed, Daddy (/Tom Baker voice}
Tom Baker! Now why has no-one thought of him for speaker!
Because Brian Blessed would be better than Tom Baker
Could they maybe do half and half? Keep everyone on their toes?
Alan Moore should be speaker. He has a bigger beard than Blessed, a boomier voice than Blessed or Baker, and he's an anarchist and wouldn't put up with anything from any of them. Alan Moore for speaker!
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