Bercow is yesterday’s man, why is Labour indulging him?

by Kevin Meagher

I am not sure what voters will make of John Bercow’s defection to Labour at the weekend. I suspect the answer is “not much.”

It is hard not to interpret the former commons speaker’s move as a fit of pique over the prime minister denying him a peerage, rather than some damascene conversion to socialism.

Spurned by his erstwhile colleagues, he’s just trying his luck on the other side of the political aisle, isn’t he?

Bercow implies this is not the case.

Speaking to Trevor Philips on Sunday, he claimed there had been ‘absolutely no conversations whatsoever’ about a peerage, either with Keir Starmer or his team.

He added: ‘And if I may very politely say so, and I do, the people who make what they think is that potent and coruscating criticism of me are operating according to their own low standards.’

Of course, denying there have been recent talks about Labour putting him forward for a peerage is not the same thing as Bercow rejecting the very notion that he would accept one.

Indeed, this morning’s Times reports that he met with Jeremy Corbyn’s team in the days following the 2019 general election to discuss his nomination to the Lords:

‘He then wrote to Corbyn’s office with a reference in which he boasted of his four honorary degrees, “no fewer than five shadow ministerial roles,” a stint as deputy leader of the Tory group on Lambeth council, and experience as a tennis coach.’

In his defence, Bercow was undoubtedly a fine speaker, certainly when it came to checking the authority of the executive and championing the rights of backbenchers.

However, does this wipe clean his previous form as a grisly ultra-right-wing Tory, on the lunatic fringe of his party. A former member of the fascistic Monday Club in his younger days, no less. The group that supported ‘assisted’ repatriation of Commonwealth migrants and loyalist terror in Northern Ireland.

Granted, Bercow’s politics seem to have undergone a dramatic conversion; the mellowing of middle-age, perhaps? Alas, his insufferable pomposity remains.

When asked if Keir Starmer would become prime minister, he told Trevor Philips that ‘the jury is out,’ adding that the Labour leader was ‘decent, honourable and intelligent,’ although not in the same league as Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.

Man of the people, Bercow is not.

There is also the fact (how can I put this delicately) that he’s a has-been.

Joining Labour straight after he quit the speaker’s chair, or as soon as Keir Starmer was elected Labour leader might have created a bit more of a stir, but it is hard to see what Labour gets from this move at this stage.

Apart from a few die-hard Remaniacs, who credit Bercow with trying to stymie Brexit, and a few constitutional bores who think it is somehow a big deal that a former speaker has not automatically been elevated to the peerage, who cares what he does?

Having ‘generally voted’ for a wholly elected House of Lords, according to TheyWorkForYou.com, perhaps Bercow can avoid any charge of hypocrisy and check his future ambitions by waiting  until there is an elected second chamber?

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut 


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15 Responses to “Bercow is yesterday’s man, why is Labour indulging him?”

  1. A.J. says:

    The ‘Monday Club’ was not fascist or anything like it. Utter drivel. It was simply a group of right wing Conservative MPs who were (for instance) keen on retaining links with certain parts of Africa. They resisted the liberal instincts of the ‘winds of change’ people circa 1950-whatever (post-Suez), and were well within their rights to do so. Their opposite numbers on the Left would have been pro-Soviet Labour MPs and their hangers-on.
    As for Bercow – a slimy toad. The so-called ‘Conservative Party’ is better off without him, though I doubt whether he’ll be greeted with open arms by the more stick-in-the-mud Labour rank-and-file. Tories are very tolerant if you were once Labour – the same can’t be said the other way around.

  2. ExLabour says:

    For those of us who saw the light some years ago and have moved right, Bercow has always been viewed not just as a pompous arse, but a pompous arse of the left. He massively over-stepped his remit in the commons on Brexit and did everything in his power to thwart the will of the people, often siding with Labour in doing so. Its therefore no surprise that he is now squirming his way into the party sucking up to Starmer.

    If you have this self-indulgent buffoon in your ranks, you deserve every bit of ridicule that comes your way. If he gets his peerage then more fool you.

  3. Alf says:

    I think our Tory-lite wing would like to see Bercow as Labour leader They think Starmer, Nancy etc are too left wing. This is a clever move by them to make sure he’s available should Starmer lose again in Bately and Spen.

  4. Tafia says:

    Bercow is a man with an ego bigger than Everest, who thinks there is no way Parliament (Commons or Lords) can possibly function without his presence. Really, his political inclination is Lib Dem but he is a man of no honour who expopits for personal advantage and knowing the Lib Dems will never gain power, decided to switch to Labour.

    In reality he is poisonous, highly divisive dwarf totally lacking in morals, scruples, honesty or decency..

    He will whine and moan and beg and grovel until Starmer with nominates him for a Lordship or gives him a seat to contest.

    He is an unashamed ‘rejoiner’ who will cause Labour no end of problems and it is going to be very very funny to watch and is entirely self-inflicted and entirely avoidable..

  5. Vern says:

    that Labour would even consider bringing in Bercow suggests an astonishing lack of judgement. He is more toxic than the party itself just now. Crazy decision, the party seems intent on self-destruction.

  6. Anne says:

    Don’t think people will think very much about this – he is disliked by many members of the Tory Party. Not sure what his motives are. Didn’t Michael Hestletine vote LD at the last election- he was against Brexit and also dislikes Johnson. Bercow is also anti Brexit, but we have left the EU – so this is not relevant. Think he would have made a better presenter of Question Time than Fiona Bruce.

  7. richard mackinnon says:

    It says it all about the state of British politics when deranged, malcontent, far right conservatives are welcomed into the Labour Party.

  8. A.J. says:

    At least some members of the Monday Club would have been pro-hanging and against mass immigration – just like most of the Labour-voting old men in the working class suburb where I grew up.

  9. Tafia says:

    Batley & Spen by-Election, Thursday 01 July.

    Full declared list of candidates.

    Bickerdike, Paul – Christian Peoples Alliance
    Davies, Mike – Alliance For Green Socialism
    Fransen, Jayda – Independent(*)
    Galloway, George – Workers Party
    Gordon, Tom – Liberal Democrat
    Hirst, Thérèse – English Dermocrat
    Hope, Howling Laud – Monster Raving Looney
    Laird, Susan – Heritage
    Leadbetter, Kim – Labour & Co-Op
    Purser, Ollie, – SDP
    Robinson, Corey – Yorkshire Party
    Smith, Andrew – Rejoin EU
    Stephenson, Ryan – Conservative
    Thomson, Jack – UKIP
    Tilt, Jonathon – Freedom Alliance
    Waters, Anne Marie – For Britain (*)

    The Green Party candidate – 29 year old Jamiacan origin Ross Peltier, a highly succesful internationally capped Rugby League professional playing with Doncaster as a ‘prop’ was withdrawn after an anti-LGBTQ A-Z tweet from over a decade ago and not replaced.

    *Jayda Fransen is actually one of the leaders of the neo-nazi party Britain First. She is actually a ‘spoiler’ candidate keeping Labour’s failings over grooming gangs in the spotlight.
    *Anne Marie Waters is formerly of UKIP and stood as a leadership candidate a couple of years ago.

    ——————————————————-

    Comment
    This seat, comprising of wards of the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, was historically Tory until 1997 when it swung Labour. It would almost certainly have fallen to the Tories in 2019 but for the presence of a highly respected anti-EU independent and the Brexit Party who between them polled more than twice the Labour majority.

    This is a straight fight bewteen Labour & Tory who will account for over 80% of the vote on the day. Galloway will probably take third place, and the Lib Dems in fourth losing their deposit along with all the rest.

    There is a significant lack of interest in the by-Election by national media, who all appear to have written-off Labour holding the seat.

    Current Betting odds make the Tories easy favourites:-
    Con – 1/3 to win
    Lab – 5/2 to hold
    100/1 bar.

    Specific polling for the constituency shows:-
    Lab: 41%
    Con: 47%
    Workers: 6%
    LDem: 3%
    Oth: 2%
    There are now just 14 days to polling day, and Labour are fading in the opinion polls and do not look like they will close the gap – quite the opposite.

    In recent days, Team Leadbetter have mass leafleted Pakistani (muslim) & Indian (Gujarati Hindu) areas with a leaflet proclaiming their support for Palestine and Kashmir, however the muslim community – along with the MCB, have issued a leadlet condemning Labour for endorsing a lesbian candidate (a massive sin in the eyes of the muslim faith. Islam is virulently anti-gay in doctrine) and calling for the muslim community to vote anyone but Labour in protest, and Starmer is coming in for a fair amount of flak over the fact his wife is jewish. 20% of the electorate in this constituency are working class muslims of mainly Pakistani extraction, usually the bedrock of the Labour vote locally, but leaving it in droves and so incensed is their community over things like this that labour councillors and party members are actually helping Galloway’s campaign (in theory an expulsion matter for party members but I bet Starmer lacks the bottle to do anything at all about it). Starmer also appears to be distancing himself from the probable result, declaring that it isn’t about him.

  10. A.J. says:

    Mr.Meagher speaks of the suggested repatriation of immigrants as if it was something akin to the Third Reich: overegging the pudding. Labour resisted (to some degree) the coming of the Windrush generation (see, for instance, the comments of Hugh Dalton). By Harold Wilson’s time it was too late (see, in this instance, the comments of Philip Larkin). Labour – doubtless responding to Griffiths et al. – were set on a collision course with that section of the electorate who dared express concern over what must have seemed an endless invasion at their expense (the white working class whose children eventually discovered Farage and even the BNP). Now, according to the polling for Batley and Spen, the Muslims are turning against Labour. Ironic, no? As for my Sikh chum down the road, he made certain his children got a decent private education.

  11. Tafia says:

    France is to be given €40bn from the EU’s recovery fund, spread over 4 years after agreeing to the terms and conditions.

    Two things:-

    1. Over the 4 years, France would pay in just over €80bn anyway and without agreeing to the T & Cs would have received nothing.

    2. In return for the money, France has had to agree to reform it’s generous state pensions and unemployment insurance, raising the contribution cost to the worker and reducing the benefits.

  12. Or will some unlucky CLP in an upcoming by-election find him on a long list of one?

  13. Tafia says:

    Sturgeon has just shafted Andy Burnham.

    They had a private head-to-head meeting last night (weds) and she’s not only released all details of what was supposed to be a private conversation to the media today (Thurs), but called Burnham “incoherent & absurd”.

  14. Tafia says:

    A.J. – As for my Sikh chum down the road,

    Sikhs are wondeful people as a rule. Very very family and culture oriented, high levels of personal discipline and personal responsibility, big big believers in working hard to get what you want and where you want to be and that you are responsible for your own life and responsible for your own family (it is the ‘norm’ to see Sikh elderly cared for and kept within the family) and and very proud of their ‘warrior’ heritage. Within their families they are very very traditional.

    You rarely see a Sikh on benefits and you rarely see a sikh in a crimninal Court (other than as one of the legal teams). They also help the poor, the sick and hungry (irrespective of colour or God) from their own pockets and physical efforts and regard doing so as a sacred duty of all Sikhs. Sikhs regard it as a duty to help the needy with actual giving up of their spare time to do it.

    Culturally incompatable with the modern Labour Party though and natural Tory voters.

  15. Joun P Reid says:

    Tafia-Sikhs exactly

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