Good Riddance, Hobbit

BY JAMIE FOSTER

John Bercow, on a speaking tour in the US, claimed recently that Brexit may take another 20 years to sort out. More nonsense from this silly man. In his speech he claimed that ‘no force on earth’ would stop parliament having the final say about Brexit. While he agreed that the referendum was important, he went on to say that didn’t mean parliament just gave up. He explained that parliament was “taking views on the matter”. More nonsense. He said he thought that even if there was agreement on Brexit there would be debate about the future relationship between the EU and the UK maybe for the next ten or twenty years.  Bercow shames his university – Essex.

Little Bercow’s remarks will likely further inflame his Brexiteer critics. Senior Tory Sir Bernard Jenkin warned that the role of Speaker had become ‘irretrievably radicalised and politicised.’ Tory MP Michael Fabricant said that ‘his bias has brought the office of speaker into disrepute.’

Bercow also cast doubt on Boris Johnson’s claim that we could leave the EU without a deal at the end of October. “Not unless parliament changed the law which I can’t see happening’. More nonsense.

Bercow is the most controversial speaker in living memory – he has finally achieved something in his meandering political career marked by distrust and disloyalty. Furthermore he has convinced Tory MPs during his tenure that he has an anti-Tory bias and Brexiteers that he is equally biased against Brexit. He has never been shy of stating his position resolutely in defiance of all. Now he is about to step down as Speaker the questions are, who will miss him and who will replace him?

To the former, few.

To the latter, is there a candidate who will return to the traditional role of Speaker as an impartial and independent voice of the Commons? It is perhaps impossible to know how Brexit will affect the role of Speaker. As Bercow is so obviously a Remainer should the next Speaker be a Brexiteer? This is, after all, the obvious, new fissure along which British politics divides.

It may appear that Brexit cuts too deep to find anyone above the appearance of bias one way or the other. If we leave on October 31 will this become an academic argument or is Bercow right to imagine that the argument over our continued relationship with the EU could take up the next twenty years? This question maybe only answerable in the fullness of time. For the present we will need someone to do the job of Speaker but who?

The BBC appear to be angling for Harriet Harman to take the role. It is an open question whether someone with her links to the paedophile information exchange ought to be considered for the office of Speaker. If she wasn’t standing down from politics Kate Hoey would be an excellent choice. A leaver and a member of the Labour Party in many ways she ticks all the boxes.

Whoever takes over from Bercow need do little to distance themselves from Bercow’s antics. Anyone who shows impartiality in decision making will go a long way to showing they are not in the Bercow mould. If they are also able to bring a little humility to the role in place of Bercow’s arrogance, that will be a breath of fresh air.

It is possibly worth asking the question whether Bercow is right to say that the UK and the EU’s ongoing relationship will take up the next twenty years in debate. It seems counter-intuitive. While there is a clear split in opinions over whether we should leave or remain, the question of what sort of relationship we should have having left is more straightforward. We will want a cordial trading relationship with as free a market as is possible. Working towards this should not be too difficult, especially when the EU sees the UK striking free trade deals with other countries that threaten its businesses. To say it will generate twenty years of debate is fear mongering at its worst.

So Bercow leaves on an over-dramatic note in keeping with his over-dramatic approach to the job – over-reaching is typical of those who need to strain to reach the mug shelf. Warning us all of the unlikely worst case scenario. Maybe the best we can do is ignore him and his tidings of gloom. Let’s pray that the new Speaker approaches the role differently to this one. Hopefully we can find a calm head who is more interested in the job being done well than their own self aggrandisement. It will be a challenging time for anyone taking up the mantel but it is a rewarding job for the right candidate.

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