Could it have been less convincing, less hopeful or more unctuous if he had tried?
I sense I am not the only one disappointed with the appointment of John Bercow as speaker. After all, his own party voted against him. That is not a bad thing per se, as a distressed Tory party is the best thing this country can hope for right now, but the fact that Bercow received so much more support from Labour is a major concern, unless you believe they were acting with totally neutrality as the constitution demands. If you do believe that though, you probably believe they acted ‘impeccably’ with their expenses, too.
Bercow’s words on acceptance were scripted, vacile and tired:
“It has been a difficult time and many of us are feeling vulnerable…”
(We’ve been caught out and are really annoyed about that)
“….but we must remember many of the public are upset and angry…”
(Remember to keep sweet talking until something else big hits the news.)
“…..this is the proudest moment of my career….”
(My salary has never been so high.)
“….I will forget my previous politics…”
(I never cared much anyway.)
And so on. If I sound painfully cynical, it’s because I’ve heard this type of thing said so many times before without substance. Bercow is right about one thing: the need to restore public faith in the house. But what annoys me is the constant talk about ‘reform’, as though the system is at fault. It is not the system that needs changing, it’s the people! The only change needed in ‘the system’ is a tightening of laws on expenses to make abuse clearly illegal rather than just murky.
Anyway, here is an acceptance speech you will never hear, because I will never be house speaker:
“Thank you for your faith in me. I will not talk at length about personal pride because we do not have time for that. I will not thank the previous speaker because I do not believe he deserves praise.
Right now, the public have lost all faith in us for very good reasons. an of us have failed them. It will take time to restore that trust and we should all do what w can to begin that process. For my part, I promise to restore the constitutional role of the speaker. I will not allow police into the house with a warrant. I will monitor and scrutinise expenses and make public all findings. I will practise personal diligence inside the house during Parliament and outside the house with personal expenses. I will work tirelessly to restore the reputation of the house as this is the role I have been appointed to first by the public, next by my colleagues and finally by the Queen. Thank you once again”.
Hopefully I wouldn’t sound as fake as Mister Bercow when speaking.