Monday, June 22, 2009

Is Speaker Stitch-Up A One Horse Race?

Government favourite, Ma Beckett, could romp home in a stitched-up Speaker sweepstakes, if the whips have their wicked way. Most hopefuls having their grubby little hoofs in the taxpayers' till. A messy game of party political one upmanship is being played out at Westminster as MPs fall back into their bad old ways to elect a new Speaker which will do nothing to restore battered public confidence.

A month after disgraced speaker Martin was booted out in the wake of anger and disgust over expenses, MPs have learnt nothing.

The culture of sleaze and corruption is as bad as ever. The election for a new commons ringmaster/mistress has all the hallmarks of a charade from the start to the finishing line.

For the second time in a row, the government is hoping to install one of its own in the top commons job in its squalid bid to control Parliament. But the Orange Party prays common sense and decency will prevail.

Disgraced Martin's forced removal and a new speaker for a new greed-free dawn was a golden chance to send a reassuring message to voters that the Commons was ready for a fresh start.

Yet many of the candidates are the very MPs who've milked the expenses system with great gusto.

Treating the public and parliament with contempt, MPs are up to their old tricks, trying to juggle their favourite into the top job.

Even before the new speaker takes the chair, The Times reports claims that Beckett could make it because of a Party stitch-up. Turn-coat token Tory Bercow has long touted his speaker ambitions as a New Labour darling.

At a stroke, a bunch of crooks, spivs and chancers are ignoring their responsibility for restoring public faith in democracy choosing, instead, to debase the tarnished reputation of the commons with a Beckett or Bercow expenses cheat and government prop.

All the front-runners have form. Fresh from her gardening leave, Ma Beckett, spent almost £11,000 of taxpayers' money on gardening. All round slimeball, Bercow, 'flipped' his second home and Tory toff Sir George Young, claimed the maximum second homes allowance available for two years running.

All roads lead back to Brown, who shoehorned his pal Martin into the job when Blair called time on respected Tiller Girl turned school ma'am Betty Boothroyd. Now New Labour Party whips are up to their usual arm-twisting tricks to try to stitch-up the contest for Ma Beckett.

In a secret ballot no-one will ever know who voted for whom and that could throw up some surprises. But a likely re-run of the shabby process that put disgraced Martin into the job in the first place is on the cards, with second-rate Brown at the centre of the shoddy skulduggery to put his bod at the centre of parliamentary power and influence.

For the public, the Speaker is seen as a tourist prop, a grand figure in the pomp and ceremony of public life. But behind the scenes the position is all powerful, controlling the heart of democracy, the reputation of Parliament and MPs' expenses.

If any party leader thinks today's messy squalid spectacle is the way to restore public confidence then they will be bitterly disappointed. Whatever the outcome, whatever the spin put on it, the result will only inflame the public mood as voters treat it with the contempt and cynicism the whole squalid mess deserves.

The role of Speaker is supposed to be politically impartial. Tradition dictates that the high office is swapped between political parties so the post can command the respect of the whole of House.

Martin was a New Labour stooge. Ma Beckett, standing for the keep-things-as-they-are-Party, would follow in his shoes. Bercow brings to the contest nothing but shame and distaste from Tories. Sir George is too grand to be the choice for a people's parliament.

Meanwhile as the speaker sweepstakes continue, Brown has the gall to call for a clean up of Parliament with more transparency while at the same time whipping up support for one of his own to make sure power stays in Brown's Big Brother House.

After the expenses scandal and speaker Martin's fall from grace, it seemed for a short time MPs would get their house in order and find someone who could command the respect of the House and the country.

There are some good eggs in the rotten basket but the Orange Party fears they'll be swamped by an out-manoeuvring charade.

How depressing that MPs cannot seize this opportunity to show the public they understand that need for change.

How depressing that MPs still do not realise that the Commons does not exist to serve their own greedy self-serving interest?

Instead, it's politics as usual for a fag-end government trying to put in place a commons lap-dog, as it limbers up for its final lap of power.


John said...

This is just a string of wrong!

Firstly, Beckett won't romp home. She might win in the final round - I think yes if it's against Bercow, probably no if it's against Young.

Secondly, Beckett has support from quite a lot of Tories, it's only about three days since Labour were alleged to be trying to fix the election for Bercow. This "labour fix" is obviously a predetermined meme irrespective of the result.

Finally there is not, and has never been, a tradition that the speakership is swapped between the main parties. Up to 1965 the Conservatives held it four times in a row, and in 1992 Betty Boothroyd won unexpectedly because of a Tory split - 17 Cabinet Members voted for her opponent, pretty odd if you think there's a convention!

I trust if George Young is elected all those claiming this convention exists will be supporting a Labour MP when he stands down?

the orange party said...

John - Good to hear the government briefing line spun so early in the proceedings

John said...

I really don't care what the government briefing line is, my inclination is that George Young would probably be the best choice.

I just find it frustrating when we are expected to have political debates based on fiction. The government whipping for Beckett is a fiction invented by an opposing campaign (very effectively) and the convention of alternation is a fiction too.

When facts are dismissed as spin, we all lose.

John said...

Also a fiction - that this will be the Government installing "one of their own" for the third time in a row. That appears to include Betty Boothroyd - elected at a time when the Conservatives had more than 50% of MPs.

the orange party said...

John - You are correct on one point. I seem to have got carried away over Betty B and have now changed the copy accordingly. So it's installing one of their own for the 'second' time in a row. Still doesn't make it right.

Anonymous said...

This is precisely why we should have held a General Election before a new Speaker is appointed.

All the current candidates are tainted by the past and not one of them is fit to become Speaker.

By appointing Beckett, Parliament will once again be sh!tting on the electorate.

John said...

Beckett just got 74 votes in the first round. So assuming she got only the minimum 5 non-Labour votes, this 'plot' has managed to bring in only 69 of over 300 Labour MPs.


the orange party said...

Hope you are right John -but still some way to go