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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?

May 20, 2009 — 9:00 pm
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