Tag Archives: Bercow

Starmer out-politicked over Johnson’s lies by new Labour recruit Bercow

John Bercow: more imagination and intelligence than Keir Starmer.

Keir Starmer has been trumped in the row over Boris Johnson repeatedly lying to Parliament – by the new recruit he so warmly welcomed only recently.

John Bercow, the former Commons Speaker, said Labour backbencher Dawn Butler was right to claim the prime minister had lied – and called for “absurd” parliamentary rules to be changed so MPs can accuse one another of lying in the chamber.

In a joint article, written with Ms Butler for The Times, he wrote:

“The glaring weakness of the system is that someone lying to tens of millions of citizens knows he or she is protected by an ancient rule.

“They face no sanction. By contrast, an MP with the guts to tell the truth is judged to be in disgrace. It is absurd.”

Contrast this with party leader Starmer’s response, which was to say he agreed with what Ms Butler had said – but then to insist that Acting Deputy Speaker Judith Cummins was right to order the Labour MP to leave:

“In fairness to the temporary Speaker, Judith Cummins, who was there – she did the right thing, she followed the rules, because parliament doesn’t allow you to call other parliamentarians liars in the chamber. So I don’t criticise the deputy speaker for what she did.”

And not a word of support for changing the system.

This is just more evidence that Starmer is not fit to lead the Labour Party.

He simply doesn’t have the imagination to realise that rules are not immutable and may be changed – despite the fact that he works in a place where the rules that govern the whole of the UK are changed on a daily basis.

Ms Butler’s claims were factually accurate, by the way – the organisation Full Fact has checked them and supported them.

And just to blow my own trumpet, This Writer got there before either Starmer or Bercow: I wrote to the Speaker’s Office last week, telling current Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle the rule must be changed and that he should spend the summer devising a reasonable replacement.

I have yet to receive a reply, which should explain much about the state of the Speaker’s Office under Hoyle.

Meanwhile Bercow – by making the point that has been obvious to six-year-old chldren – has set himself up, already, as a potential leadership challenger from the right of the Labour Party.

He would be far more likely to succeed than a left-winger,under more ridiculous rules that demand a challenger must have a certain percentage of fellow MPs in support before a ballot can take place.

I don’t think he will challenge – at least, not yet – but this was a positive first step, and right-wingers in the Parliamentary Labour Party will have taken notice.

They won’t have been able to avoid noticing that the leader they backed only 15 months ago, and continued to support with nonsense claims ever since… is useless.

Source: Change ‘absurd’ rules so MPs can accuse each other of lying, says John Bercow | The Independent

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Former Commons Speaker Bercow defects to Labour – sideswiping Johnson on the way

John Bercow: he always had a difficult relationship with Tory governments as Speaker – and his observation based criticisms after joining Labour are devastating.

I suggested that we’ll be seeing a lot more pressure on Boris Johnson in the future; I didn’t expect it to be happening as I was writing those words.

It’s not much of a leap for John Bercow to quit Boris Johnson’s Conservatives for Keir Starmer’s Labour; it’s pretty much telling us what we knew all along – that StarmerLabour is a permutation of Conservatism.

No, it’s Bercow’s criticisms of Johnson that are important here:

Bercow says he regards today’s Conservative party as “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”.

“The conclusion I have reached is that this government needs to be replaced.

“I don’t think he has any vision of a more equitable society, any thirst for social mobility or any passion to better the lot of people less fortunate than he is. I think increasingly people are sick of lies, sick of empty slogans, sick of a failure to deliver.

“There is very considerable distrust on the part of voters in the south of England of this government… I think people in very large numbers are disappointed, in some cases disgusted, by what this government has done.

““I regard the government’s treatment of parliament as a disgrace. I believe the truth matters. I believe parliament matters. And I believe that telling the truth in and to parliament matters. There is growing, extensive and incontrovertible evidence that the government is disrespecting parliament, telling untruths to parliament and bypassing parliament. That is wrong. Period.”

Source: John Bercow defects to Labour with withering attack on Johnson | John Bercow | The Guardian

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Johnson’s popularity hits record low – but Bercow says he won’t quit as he’s not ‘accountable’

Speaking out: John Bercow (here piectured at the Bingham Lecture), one of the straight-talkers of recent Parliamentary history.

Boris Johnson won’t quit as prime minister because he leads a government that doesn’t believe in accountability for its failures.

That’s the verdict from former Commons Speaker John Bercow after a poll of Conservative Party members put him second to last among cabinet figures with a record low satisfaction rating of -10.3:

The prime minister recorded a net satisfaction rating of -10.3 in a survey of party members, coming in second to last among cabinet figures.

The prime minister recorded -10.3 in ConservativeHome’s latest cabinet league table, coming in second to last among cabinet figures.

His rating was better only than that of his education secretary Gavin Williamson, who scored -43.1.

I have to include this bit:

Johnson’s rating is likely to be dipping in part because of his initial handling of the pandemic and the number of deaths the UK has suffered.

The urge to be sarcastic and say, “Oh really? Well I never!” is very strong. Of course it’s because he has failed in the principle duty of government which is to protect the people of the United Kingdom.

@RussInCheshire has been brutally funny about it in his regular The Week In Tory tweets:

I’ve quoted some extra tweets in the thread because they support the idea that Johnson doesn’t believe in accountability for himself or his government: he treats us with contempt by repeating a promise that he has already broken; he failed to punish a man (again) for breaking Covid-19 restriction because it was his dad; he treated the deadly threat of Covid-19 as though it was nothing to get het up about; and his own MPs – who are het up about it – turned on him in an expression of frustration at their utter inability to instil in him any sense of responsibility at all.

So we come to former Commons Speaker John Bercow’s appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today (October 6), in which he delivered the home truth we all knew but nobody else seemed willing to say:

(Death Secretary = Matt Hancock, if you didn’t know.)

As if to prove Mr Bercow’s point, Rishi Sunak turned up on Tory mouthpiece BBC Breakfast to sell a load of old tripe to us about Covid-19 tests. He was not challenged on his lie and was therefore not held accountable for it:

Ultimately, the fault for the government lies with us, the people of the UK.

With every new disaster I am reminded of the Joseph de Maistre line, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

The UK had a chance to elect a government that would have been much better than Johnson’s, and didn’t.

I’m thinking particularly of the former “Red Wall” constituencies who switched to Johnson because a majority of people there wanted Brexit at any cost.

Well, they’re getting it. I wonder how many people have to die before they accept that the cost is too high, and their current defiance means my guess is that they will probably have to lose some of their own relatives, or face a risk to their own lives, before the message sinks in.

Source: Boris Johnson’s popularity falls to record low among Tory members

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How Labour turned the tables on the Tory Thatcher tribute

In fact she'll get a military funeral, which is just as expensive and unwanted by the majority of Britons. What this image makes clear is just how badly wrong the current UK government's priorities have become.

In fact she’ll get a military funeral, which is just as expensive and unwanted by the majority of Britons. What this image makes clear is just how badly wrong the current UK government’s priorities have become.

Can anyone imagine the kind of row we would have seen this week if Labour had blocked the recall of Parliament to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher?

It was well within Ed Miliband’s rights to put the mockers on it. Recalling Parliament is a move that has previously been reserved only for national emergencies, and past precedent states that tributes should have come when Parliament returned – as normal – next Monday. That was also the understanding of the Parliamentary officials charged with planning for the former Prime Minister’s death.

Did David Cameron really believe that the demise of his beloved ex-leader was a national emergency? Of course not. This was merely a chance to scrounge some more money off the taxpayer.

He turned the Blue Baroness into a cash cow.

According to the Daily Mirror, every MP returning to Westminster to take part in the debate could claim expenses totalling £3,750 each.

So, if all 650 MPs turned up, the cost to you and me would have been £2,437,500 – for a debate that could have happened next week, at no extra cost.

Was it a bribe, to get more Members to turn up? If so, it didn’t work very well. Sure, the government benches were packed with Tories, climbing over themselves to orate on how great Nanny was – but the Opposition benches were conspicuously empty. It seems 150 Labour MPs had better things to do.

We should all be grateful for that – it took the bill down to £1,875,000.

Should Labour have opposed the recall? The speaker, John Bercow, was reportedly – let’s say – less than enthusiastic about the matter, especially the way it was conducted: The request came in a telephone call from a mid-ranking 10 Downing Street staff member, rather than in writing, according to The Guardian. The Speaker had to remind the Prime Minister that he must follow protocol and it was only then that Cameron formalised his request in writing.

(Cameron seems to have a problem with following the rules. The first time he got up in Parliament as the Prime Minister, he appeared to forget that he must address his comments to the Speaker and put many of them directly to some of the Members opposite – until a few sharp comments from Mr Bercow put him back in his place.)

Bercow then sought a reaction from the Opposition, and it seems the decision not to oppose it was political, in order not to cause a row in which they were bound to be vilified for failing to show due respect.

Given the facts that street parties broke out in several major British cities on the day she died, while ‘Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead’ appeared at number 10 in the midweek charts, it seems unlikely that any Parliamentary party needs to lower itself in that way. The British people have spoken.

So Mr Miliband trotted out a speech about how the Blue Baroness was a woman of strong convictions who held to her ideals (even if he didn’t agree with them) or some such.

Then he sat down and listened, for hours, to the other speeches, including this from Glenda Jackson:

“We were told that everything I had been taught to regard as a vice – and I still regard them as vices – under Thatcherism, was in fact a virtue. Greed, selfishness, no care for the weaker… they were the way forward. We have heard much, and will continue to hear over the next week, of the barriers that were broken down by Thatcherism, the Establishment that was destroyed. What we actually saw – the word that has been circling around with stars around it, is that she created an ‘aspirational’ society. It ‘aspired’ for ‘things’… One of the former Prime Ministers, who himself had been elevated to the House of Lords, spoke about selling off the family silver, and people knowing under those years the price of everything and the value of nothing. What concerns me is that I am beginning to see possibly the re-emergence of that total traducing of what I regard as being the basic, spiritual nature of this country, where we do care about society, where we do believe in communities, where we do not leave people to walk by on the other side.”

And this, from David Anderson:

“She came to power promising to bring harmony where there was discord. In the mining communities up and down the country, she brought the opposite. She believed we were no longer any use to the nation because we were deemed to be uneconomic… because we insisted on running safe coal mines in this country. One of the great disgraces of this country today is we import over 50 million tonnes of coal a year from countries where men are killed, literally in the thousands, and we closed our industry that was the safest, the most technologically-advanced, in the world.

“The other area where the so-called economic justification falls down was the failure of Margaret Thatcher and her government to take into account the social cost… where no alternative employment was put forward for those people who were losing their jobs – and particularly for their children. The village where I lived had seen coal mining for almost two centuries. In a matter of months after closure, we were gripped by a wave of petty crime, burglary, car crime – mostly related to drugs. We have never recovered from it.

“We’ve seen the reaction of people whose frustration is heartfelt because they’ve lost their sense of place in society; they’ve been made to feel worthless; they’ve been cast aside like a pair of worn-out pit boots. They’ve seen their community fall apart. They’ve seen their children’s opportunities disappear. And they’ve not been listened to.

“Mrs Thatcher’s lack of empathy, her intransigence, her failure to see the other side, her refusal to even look at the other side, has left them bitter, and resentful, and hitting out in a way that is uncharacteristic of the miners in our community. Her accusation that the “enemy within” was in the mining areas of this country still rankles people. I wasn’t the “enemy within”… All we wanted was the right to work. We didn’t just want it for ourselves; we wanted it for our kids, and that was taken away.”

David Cameron wanted to pay his MPs huge amounts of money to come back and spend seven and a half hours – and remember, Winston Churchill only got 45 minutes after his death – singing the praises of the Blue Baroness – to the high heavens. He got what he wanted, and it is fair to say his Party members enjoyed telling their little stories.

But the contributions of Labour members like Glenda Jackson and David Anderson are the ones that will be remembered.