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Take one down, pass it around, 645 snouts in the trough…

michaelmartinSo! Michael Martin has stepped down — the first Speaker of the British House of Commons to be forced out in 300 years. Yes, chillun, that is a very big deal.

Corruption, money; the usual. But there’s a whole nother undercurrent here that you and I, Yanks that we be, are apt to miss.

Did you realize Tony Blair is a Scot? Yup. So is Gordon Brown. So are many of the ‘New’ Labour stooges, butt-munches and ass-wipes they brought to power with them in the last twelve years. There’s a huge sense in which the NuLab triumph has been the political ascendancy of Scots over English.

There’s awfully bad blood there, still. There are huge differences in history, in attitude, in economics. The closest thing in the States would be the urban/rural divide, with the Scots playing the role of resource-sucking inner-city welfare queens. Labour stuck a giant funnel in the South and has spent a decade siphoning resources to the North.

Now the Speaker of the House of Commons is a special role in British politics. Much more so than our Speaker, he is supposed to be apolitical. Even-handed. Fair. A peacemaker and judge. He keeps order, decides who speaks. Knows his historical shit. Wears silly britches and gets a special fru-fru apartment. He is known as the First Commoner of the Land.

The Speaker is elected by the whole House, but there’s a tradition that the office should shift back and forth between parties, regardless of which is in power. The last Speaker — who, by all accounts, did an excellent job — was Labour. So this one should really have been Conservative.

But the Blairites, carried away by the throbbing size of their majority in 2000, laughingly dropped a turd on Parliament. Michael Martin is a Glaswegian son of a sailor and a cleaning lady. He left school at fifteen to work sheet metal, but he aspired to higher things — union thug. From union thuggery, it was a short hop to government.

Electing this man Speaker was like making a Teamster roustabout your Miss Manners. He was a gift to the South, and the label said fuck you, snooty English beeyotches. He performed exactly as you’d expect.

This expenses scandal is big and important and touches all the parties. Martin’s resignation is neither the solution nor the end. But the sight of this porker in the trough, up to his hamhocks and squealing for more, was just too much for anyone to bear.

Even some Labour MP’s got on the bandwagon, but the leadership is madder than hell. The question is, will Labour — still very much in the majority for a little while longer — have the brass balls to shatter tradition and force a third Labour Speaker on the House?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2009, 9:02 pm

With special apologies to David Gillies — who, by his name, is a Scot. Dude, so’s my mother’s family. They got messed up in some…bad…clan thing in the 18th C and fled to North Carolina.

Which, incidentally, is home to the largest Highland Games outside Scotland. My dad has never missed it, until last year when his evil dog knocked him over and broke his shoulder.

Comment from Dawn
Time: May 20, 2009, 9:41 pm

Barry Goldwater:
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.

Comment from TimB52
Time: May 20, 2009, 10:49 pm

Wow. Once again Weaz, you teach me things I did not know.

WTF with the Scots? How disappointing! What the hell happened to FREEEEEDDDDOOOOMMMM!!!!! You know, William Wallace. Fucking Claymores and all that good stuff.

Booooo! Boo on you Scots!

Comment from porknbean
Time: May 20, 2009, 11:01 pm

WTF with the Scots? How disappointing! What the hell happened to FREEEEEDDDDOOOOMMMM!!!!!


There’s a huge sense in which the NuLab triumph has been the political ascendancy of Scots over English.


Comment from JuliaM
Time: May 21, 2009, 12:43 am

“The question is, will Labour — still very much in the majority for a little while longer — have the brass balls to shatter tradition and force a third Labour Speaker on the House? “

No. Not under Brown, who has the swift and cunning political instincts of a dead pelican.

If Blair was still in charge (and oh, how he must be enjoying himself!), then all bets would be off. He had the political nous to charm, cajole and pander to whomever he needed to get things done.

Comment from Roman Wolf
Time: May 21, 2009, 2:40 am

I’m actually mainly a Scot, well, I’m technically an “Anglo”. However, I did notice the large amount of Scots within the NuLabour government. But then again, My father left the UK to get away from socialism and hence I have a strong anti-socialist stance and hence, I hate Labour(and the Democrats, who act like Labour-lite).

So I’ll be happy to see Brown’s political demise.

Comment from Allen
Time: May 21, 2009, 1:00 pm

Lovely work Weasel. All sorts of names pop into mind. Lord Snout, The Marquis of Trotter, The MP from Styesville.

Comment from scubafreak
Time: May 21, 2009, 2:18 pm

Well, that would explain why all of Britain’s naval power and naval construction power has been concentrated in Scotland during Gordie’s reign. There isn’t really a single military base worth the name left in Britain proper.
If Scotland suddenly decided to go it’s own way, Britain would be conspicuously bare of military assets…….

Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 21, 2009, 2:23 pm

My father’s side of the family is from Fife, but I was born in the Isle of Wight, which is pretty much the furthest south you can get from Scotland without being French. I sound about as Scottish as Hugh Grant (another Scottish name).

The overwhelming domination of NuLabour by the Tartan Mafia is a very sore point in England. Out of 60 million Britons, 50 million are English, yet they don’t have the devolved bodies like Scotland, Wales and Norn Irn. England heavily subsidises the Celtic fringe (to the tune of thousands of pounds per capita per year), with very little say in how the money is spent, yet a Scottish or Welsh MP can vote in Westminster on business that only affects England.

Gorbals Mick was a sop to the class warriors of old Labour. He is a man of profoundly limited intellectual gifts, with no concept of the gravity and history of his office. Narrowly tribal, hoggishly venal, he was the worst Speaker since at least the Reform Act. If Labour go down to destruction at the next election (which seems quite likely) it will in no small measure be due to this man.

The convention that the role of Speaker alternate between the two main parties is just that. I would have no objection if it went to another Labour MP, or a LibDem, as long as it was the right one. Kate Hoey or Frank Field would be excellent choices. Vince Cable would probably do a good job. Smart money seems to be on John Bercow (a Tory) at the moment, although it remains to be seen if he is untarnished by the expenses scandal.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2009, 2:37 pm

I’ve heard nothing but good about Kate Hoey. You wonder how some people end up with their party affiliation.

Glad I didn’t offend. I hate to do that by accident 😉

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