UKH

/ John Bercow; hero or villain?

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pasbury on 09 Jan 2019

Standing up for parliamentary democracy or remainer fifth columnist?

balmybaldwin - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

I suspect if the Government had not delayed the vote in the manner it did and been "discourteous" to the house, or already been found in contempt of parliament then this amendment wouldn't have been picked. Personally I think he was absolutely right to do so. the government are clearly trying to run down the clock and prevent Parliament having it's say. This amendment reduces the time wasted by the delayed vote to 2 weeks instead of 5 especially as the expectation was if she lost the vote she would simply try again... I'm not sure what waiting 3 weeks would have done to help.

5
Ian W - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

I think the very fact that the amendment passed means his decision was vindicated.

5
pec on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

The speaker is supposed to be utterly impartial. Clearly he isn't, as speaker we shouldn't know his views yet he's openly flaunting his bias.

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/03/bercows-bollocks-to-brexit-sticker-is-a-disgrace/

But in the long term todays events are more damaging, not only is the referee biased but he's changed the rules in the middle of the game.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/09/john-bercow-decision-endangers-the-office-of-speaker-and-our-democracy

And of course it play straight into the rhetoric of the leave side as they can point to yet another establishment figure denying the will of the people.

Its not like he has an impeccable track record

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45874284

He is unquestionably the most arrogant and divisive speaker in living memory.

 

31
MG - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

What rule has he changed? Does anyone here know?

Difficult to see the problem given the amendment passed 

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Ian W - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

 rhetoric of the leave side as they can point to yet another establishment figure denying the will of the people.

But isnt the will of the people to regain parliamentary sovereignty?.........

NB. he is fairly well up the scale of self absorbed arrogance, even for parliamentarians.......

1
Mr Lopez - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

How is allowing MP's to vote on an issue that greatly affects the country not "being impartial"? He did not do anything to affect the result AFAIK, just allowed the MP's to do what they are meant to do, which is vote with regards laws affecting the country.

 

For a gang that keeps banging about 'democracy' and Parliament being 'sovereign' you lot don't seem to take nicely the idea of democracy and Parliament being sovereign

2
sg - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to Ian W:

Personalities aside, he, reasonably enough, sees it as his role to ensure the sovereignty of parliament. Given the contempt in which it has been held by TM, I think he's determined to do his job. Like the majority of MPs across the house, he's not prepared to let the government take us to the brink.

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pasbury on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

> The speaker is supposed to be utterly impartial. Clearly he isn't, as speaker we shouldn't know his views yet he's openly flaunting his bias.

> But in the long term todays events are more damaging, not only is the referee biased but he's changed the rules in the middle of the game.

> And of course it play straight into the rhetoric of the leave side as they can point to yet another establishment figure denying the will of the people.

> Its not like he has an impeccable track record

> He is unquestionably the most arrogant and divisive speaker in living memory.

Really?

The amendment was passed. It seems to me to be a necessary redress to the way parliament has been kept out of the decision making process.

 

3
pec on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Did any of you actually bother to read the second link I posted, I chose it from the Grauniad especially for you all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/09/john-bercow-decision-endangers-the-office-of-speaker-and-our-democracy

"John Bercow was widely reported to have ignored the considered advice of the official guardians of the rules of procedure"

"The rules that govern debate and law-making in parliament are theological both in their density and history. For those who think in such terms, they are the nearest thing to a written constitution that Britain has, and the clerks, the men and women whose job is, among other things, to make sure the rules are observed, have a certain priestly status."

"The Speaker takes a grave risk when he appears to ignore the rules. At the least, it makes it harder to insist the government observes the rules next time."

And regarding the sovereignty issue, the idea of returning sovereignty to parliament is not so that they can hand straight back to Brussels which is basically what they are trying to do.

Post edited at 23:52
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RomTheBear on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

The take away from this is that Westminster is a completely dysfunctional, shot institution.

In that regard, giving away sovereignty to Brussels is a good idea.

 

17
Mr Lopez - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

 

> And regarding the sovereignty issue, the idea of returning sovereignty to parliament is not so that they can hand straight back to Brussels which is basically what they are trying to do.

 

Right, so Parliament is sovereign but only when they use that sovereignity to take decisions that you want.  Gotcha

 

7
Martin Hore - on 09 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

> The speaker is supposed to be utterly impartial. Clearly he isn't, as speaker we shouldn't know his views yet he's openly flaunting his bias.

Did you hear his response to this? The sticker is in his wife's car. Surely his wife is free to display her own preference. Or do you think a wife's opinions should be governed by her husband's

Martin

 

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Timmd on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

> Did any of you actually bother to read the second link I posted, I chose it from the Grauniad especially for you all.

> "John Bercow was widely reported to have ignored the considered advice of the official guardians of the rules of procedure"

> "The rules that govern debate and law-making in parliament are theological both in their density and history. For those who think in such terms, they are the nearest thing to a written constitution that Britain has, and the clerks, the men and women whose job is, among other things, to make sure the rules are observed, have a certain priestly status."

> "The Speaker takes a grave risk when he appears to ignore the rules. At the least, it makes it harder to insist the government observes the rules next time."

I read it, and nothing in there says that he 'did' do anything untoward, it only talks about how things appear to have happened.

> And regarding the sovereignty issue, the idea of returning sovereignty to parliament is not so that they can hand straight back to Brussels which is basically what they are trying to do.

The idea of returning sovereignty to parliament - is to return sovereignty to parliament. 

 

5
Timmd on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> Really?

> The amendment was passed. It seems to me to be a necessary redress to the way parliament has been kept out of the decision making process.

That was my take, too, due to Mrs May reneging on her commitment to give MP's a say.

Post edited at 00:35
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Ian W - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to sg:

> Personalities aside, he, reasonably enough, sees it as his role to ensure the sovereignty of parliament. Given the contempt in which it has been held by TM, I think he's determined to do his job. Like the majority of MPs across the house, he's not prepared to let the government take us to the brink.


And rightly so. I might put a slightly different slant on it. It wasnt really his 'job', but he has forced the executive to actually do theirs, rather than let them boot the problem further and further away until the position becomes irreperable. By making TM et al face up to things NOW, he has done a very good thing.

3
MG - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

My grandfather was a civil servant (and therefore couldn't express political affiliation).  My grandmother was politically active.  They agreed 1st floor windows were hers, and therefore had posters in during elections, ground floor windows were his, and therefore didn't!

MG - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

That's an opinion piece on the Guardian. Here's another saying the opposite

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/09/power-struggle-ministers-john-bercow-dominic-grieve-vote-parliament

It doesn't mean either are "right".

 

john arran - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to MG:

It also shows that the Guardian publishes a range of opinion, rather than the one-sided propaganda it is often accused of publishing.

bedspring on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

I was just going to start a thread with the OP, "Is a Dictator OK, so long as they are doing what you want" then I saw your thread,
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46818428

wercat on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

If you have a totally impartial speaker you do not have a check and balance against an over eager executive diminishing parliament and acting ultra vires in a Parliamentary context.   He is absolutely right to defend Parliament against its subset weakening Parliament.

Given that the executive is steering us into dangerous waters and has confused acting for the people and the nation with doing, allegedly, what the people want and is signally failing to act in the national interest he is absolutely right

Post edited at 10:22
1
Michael Hood - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pasbury:

If the government is annoyed with the speaker of the house, then you know that at least in one respect, the speaker is doing a good job.

2
Bob Hughes - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to wercat:

> If you have a totally impartial speaker you do not have a check and balance against an over eager executive diminishing parliament and acting ultra vires in a Parliamentary context.  

The speaker should act in support of Parliament but should be impartial on questions of policy. the Leavers' accusation is that he is favouring one side of the argument over the other. I don't know if that is the case but its notable that JRM - while disagreeing with yesterday's decision - hasn't accused the Speaker of partisanship. 

 

wercat on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Bob Hughes:

One point worth keeping in mind out is that a side asserting partiality needs to have "clean hands"

neilh - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Bob Hughes:

Because there is a minority government the amendment has passed. if the government had a decent majority then Bercow would not have had to make a decision. In making the decision he decided to stick with Parliament and ask them to vote on it which is reasonable.

Hardly rocket science.

And let us look at it another way, its for 3 days, not 3 years.Again hardly a delay.

1
jkarran - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

> And of course it play straight into the rhetoric of the leave side as they can point to yet another establishment figure denying the will of the people.

But... but I thought the will of the people was for a sovereign parliament?

Or have we moved past that version now too? I can't keep up with what type of brexit we all clearly unambiguously voted for with one voice, it changes so frequently these days as the unicorn herd gets thinned.

jk

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jkarran - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

> "The rules that govern debate and law-making in parliament are theological both in their density and history. For those who think in such terms, they are the nearest thing to a written constitution that Britain has, and the clerks, the men and women whose job is, among other things, to make sure the rules are observed, have a certain priestly status." "The Speaker takes a grave risk when he appears to ignore the rules. At the least, it makes it harder to insist the government observes the rules next time."

Those 'rules' were created and have been revised as needed by individuals establishing new norms to suit the times in which we've found ourselves. That would be the case were they written or not but at least with a written constitution we would have a clearer historical record of change and an idea of how far our government, parliament or monarch is departing from established norms in times of challenge.

> And regarding the sovereignty issue, the idea of returning sovereignty to parliament is not so that they can hand straight back to Brussels which is basically what they are trying to do.

That is exactly what a sovereign parliament made up of our representatives has the right and indeed the responsibility to do if it in the best interests of their constituents and our broader national security. If a version of brexit exists that is in the national interest then their responsibility is to pursue that, if as it appears there isn't then their responsibility is to keep all options open until such time as we/they can agree on the least worst option. May is evidently intent on denying parliament and the electorate that option by forcing a false choice between bad and worse while other options remain legally and politically deliverable.

jk

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krikoman - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

 

But they voted, so isn't that a democratic process, "democracy in action" one might say

neilh - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to jkarran:

Or May has tactically forced the whole issue as now they only have an extra 3 days.......that is 3 days for everybody to decide.

 

1
Bob Hughes - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to neilh:

> Or May has tactically forced the whole issue as now they only have an extra 3 days.......that is 3 days for everybody to decide.

my reading is that the 3 days is for the government to come up with an alternative. not sure if there is a timeline for parliament to approve (i.e. everyone to decide). 

neilh - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Bob Hughes:

No doubt it will be overtaken by events anyway so its probably a fuss over nothing in the grand scheme of things.

1
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to neilh:

According to todays S*n he's "Speaker of the Devil!", which is much more even-handed than I was expecting.

jkarran - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> According to todays S*n he's "Speaker of the Devil!"

That doesn't even make sense!

jk

Trevers - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

I'd read this article previously, and it doesn't actually spell out the detail of what Bercow did that was wrong.

Did he break any rules? Did he act beyond his remit? It's not clear to me that he did.

From where I stand, it appears that he empowered Parliament in the face of an executive that is hellbent on keeping Parliament locked out of the decision-making process in the defining issue of today.

I accept that this happens to coincide with his personal stance on the issue. But if the way in which he acted is fair and right, then until you can point to an equivalent situation in the other direction where he empowered the government pushing a position he agreed with over a parliament opposed to it, then his personal stance is neither here nor there.

Post edited at 14:09
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Bob Kemp - on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to pec:

The Guardian article just presents one opinion, and is not definitive. Try this for an alternative view:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2019/01/what-does-john-bercow-s-unprecedented-action-mean-brexit-and-him

"What matters is if they are supported by the one rule of British politics that does matter: do you have a majority in the House of Commons? If you have a majority in the House of Commons, it doesn’t matter if you are found to have misled MPs, provided that majority is willing to sustain you in office. It doesn’t matter if you are upending centuries of precedent, because the only precedent that matters in our constitution is that Parliament can do whatever it wants."

Post edited at 16:37
RomTheBear on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to Bob Hughes:

Things Brexiters think are democratic:

-EU referendum in 2016

-A Blind Brexit

-A No Deal Brexit

 

Things Brexiters think are undemocratic:

- EU referendum in 2019

-The sovereignty of Parliament

-Elected MPs voting

-The Speaker (elected by MPs)

-The Scottish Parliament

-IndyRef2

3
Andy Hardy on 10 Jan 2019
In reply to neilh:

> And let us look at it another way, its for 3 days, not 3 years.Again hardly a delay.

 

They haven't got a plan together in 2 years, there's no chance of finding a credible 'plan B' in 3 days. In light of which the decision by TM to allow MPs a full 90 minutes to debate plan B is totally reasonable: there won't be anything to debate. What a total fustercluck.

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Pete Pozman - on 11 Jan 2019
In reply to Bob Hughes:

The hard brexiters want Parliament to prat about ineffectually until we stumble out of the EU on 29th with no plan and no future so that they can complete their takeover of Britain before handing it over to the Americans.

Thank goodness there is one just man at least left in Westminster  

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