Bercow goes: a nation fails to weep

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Bercow goes: a nation fails to weep

Regular contributor Sean Walsh provides us with an analysis of the last week in Parliament.

So this is where we are. A government that sought but never wanted an election has been stymied by an opposition that claims to want one but has blocked it. Please now take a deep breath: a Remain Alliance that has nothing positive to say about any future UK-EU relationship has composed a letter requiring the government to send it , and which compromises the Queen’s Business so that it can have a few more months in which to affirm, again, its position of negotiating a deal that it will then vote against.

And now…breathe…there was no other way of doing it…

If there are too few commas in that sentence then that is merely because they might be taken hostage by the deselected Dominic Grieve, who would amplify an incorrect subjunctive if it were (?) to facilitate his campaign against the British people.

And Boris’ way around this is to suggest that the “letter might be lost in the post”, thereby appealing to Corbyn’s latent suspicions about a privatisation that never really happened.

Oh and I seem to have omitted from this summary of the carnival of the absurd the latest way around all this as constructed by the “genius” Dominic Cummings. Mr Cummings seems to be one of those people who equate chaos with creative opportunity. Unfortunately, he’s leaving the rest of us to pick up the bill. There was always a way to prevent the Benn Bill from becoming law, either by filibuster or by putting a spotlight on the Speaker’s clearly dubious decision to say that a bill that obviously trespasses against the Crown’s residual prerogatives. Mr Cummings missed the urgency and seems to have assumed it to be a bit like a new clause in the articles of association of the local golf club.

If Mr Cummings knows what he is doing at this point, if we are to expect an emerging stability from the quantum situation he has constructed then now might be the time to tell us. I’m beginning to think that, as in the book of Job, it requires God now to challenge the apparent catastrophe as being perfectly normal if only we had his perspective.

Speaking of God, it is one of those pleasing moments in a context of unremitting grimness that he has decided to resign. The current Speaker, as was pointed out endlessly yesterday afternoon- not least by himself-, is a “champion” of the Commons in its inevitable tussles with the executive.

Mr Bercow’s Gwyneth Paltrow moment yesterday, where he looked like the actress who while saying she really didn’t deserve the award but -deep down- thinks it’s long overdue was exquisite. Casual hypocrisy embedded in scripted hypocrisy. A beautiful moment…..for satirists.

But….he has gone too far. It’s in the little things that people reveal themselves. Mr Bercow regularly parks his car in the “customers only” spaces licensed by my mother’s family business in Princes Risborough. Without permission. Were he to drive the car straight into the shop with its “BollXXs to Brexit” sticker (yes it actually does say that) prominently attached then at least our shop would be spared what, figuratively at least, he has done in the House of Commons.

In Princes Risborough at least they are hoping for a “conscious decoupling” from Bercow’s sense of overriding personal entitlement.

But let’s turn away from Mr Bercow’s personal discourtesy, in the direction of his constitutional vandalism.

The Benn Bill is an amplification of the Letwin-Cooper Bill which was a relatively benign aggression against the residual prerogative powers of the Crown. The Benn Bill intrudes on those powers and needs to be challenged. The usual mechanism would be that surrounding the appropriateness or otherwise of Queen’s Assent It’s at this point that Mr Cummings let Bercow get away with things. When the legislature aggresses against the government then the government has an obligation to push back.

Now, Mr Cummings, test this nonsense law in any way you can. The Remainers will shriek. That’s what they do. Make them a disengaged wheel in this process, with nothing to bite against.

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  • Sean Walsh
    Sean Walsh
    Sean Walsh is a former university teacher of philosophy. He has a doctorate in the philosophy of artificial intelligence and his current research interests are in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics and the philosophy of religion. He is also interested in philosophical issues around addiction. He lives in Wiltshire and works with addiction and recovery agencies, and with a homeless charity. He runs a lot.
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