|Mountebank and popinjay John Bercow|
I really liked the featured post by coloniescross a couple of days ago with a suggested text of a letter we should send to our MP, sorry, ‘Candidate’. It got me thinking about my own situation and a few pointless, fruitless and dispiriting exchanges I’ve had over the last couple of years with my constituency MP.
My MP is the ridiculous, pompous dwarf, John Bercow, ‘Mr Speaker’. In my constituency of Buckingham at each General Election, none of the main parties field a candidate, ‘by convention’ against the sitting Speaker. Bercow had to leave the Conservative Party when he became Speaker and now sits as an Independent MP. He ‘fights’ this forthcoming General Election as ‘John Bercow, The Speaker seeking re-election’.
In addition, Bercow never votes, never makes speeches to the House (other than pompously putting down MPs in the Chamber), never lobbies and never takes sides on any issue, again, ‘by convention’. I know this because I have written to him on various topics several times and always received a similar reply informing me that he is ‘neutral’ and cannot and will not take part in votes, or make a speech on any subject ‘by convention’. (He notably did take sides on one topic, when he publicly stated that he would not support the POTUS being invited to speak to Parliament due to Trump’s “racism and sexism”, something for which he was rebuked and should have lost his job, but outrageously the PM and the HoC shirked away from dealing with it). I wrote to him telling him he was a disgrace and “Apart from insulting the US President, you have embarrassed and insulted the Queen and the British people. You should apologise and you should resign as Speaker immediately. I am ashamed and embarrassed that you are my constituency MP.”
I never received an acknowledgement or reply.
So, I have a ‘MP’ who is Independent, but never takes part in debates or votes. So in what way does he ‘represent’ me and the other voters of the Buckingham constituency? It means, in effect, 75,000 registered voters are disenfranchised. It is outrageous.
What is even more outrageous is that we voters of Buckingham constituency cannot remove him because none of the main parties stand against him. UKIP and the Greens did field candidates in 2015 and did fare better than previous elections, but Bercow still won with a landslide:
This brings me to another point. Buckingham constituency and indeed the Shire of Buckingham is solid blue – Labour and the LibDems are a tiny minority and the recent rise of UKIP whilst being exciting for a while, was never enough to be a serious contender and as we have all seen, sadly their support is slipping away. A green frog wearing a blue rosette would get elected here. And yet, the frog, or in this case, John Bercow is not wearing a blue rosette. He is an ‘Independent’. What is going on here?
I have written to my local rag and got a letter published recently pointing out that ‘John Bercow, The Speaker seeking re-election’ is not a Conservative anymore, he is an Independent and did the voters of Buckingham constituency know this and did they know that there is not a Conservative candidate? The few responses the paper published showed that indeed, they did not!
My friends and neighbours in my village are used to hearing my rants down the pub about politics, Brexit, mass immigration, how useless all the Party ‘leaders’ are, how Mrs May is selling us down the river and how rotten this country is right now etc. etc. and many agree, some disagree but most let it waft over their heads and can’t be arsed to engage. But a few weeks ago I got a bigger than normal reaction whilst chatting to a bunch of friends when I casually said “anyone here, other than me, vote UKIP?”
“Never”, “Don’t be stupid”, “Not on your life”.
So I said, so is it LibDem then? (Because, seriously, round these parts, Labour voters are as numerous as Dianne Abbott’s brain cells).
“Nah”, “Not those twats”, “You ARE joking aren’t you, John?” etc.
So, Greens then?
“Fuck off, you’re being stupid, now”, “Be serious!”
I said, “Listen, I am being serious. If you’re not going to vote UKIP, Labour, LibDem or Green, then who?”
“Are you being deliberately obtuse, John? You know that almost everyone around here is a Tory, it’s been Tory for decades”.
With a slight flourish, I slowly, and deliberately said, “It may have been Tory for decades but it’s no longer Tory, hasn’t been since 2009”.
“What? The MP is John Bercow! He’s a Conservative! What’s the matter with you?”
“Yes, the MP is indeed John Bercow and as you also know, he is also Mr Speaker and when elected Speaker in 2009 he had to leave the Conservative Party and since then he is an Independent. We no longer have a Conservative MP and neither do we have a Conservative candidate at this General Election.”
The look on their faces! They didn’t know! They really, bloody well didn’t know. I went on to explain what I explain above, about ‘by convention’ the main parties don’t put up candidates against him at General Elections and that he can’t/doesn’t vote, doesn’t take sides etc. Only one of them knew this about Bercow, being Speaker, was neutral and couldn’t vote or take up constituency issues in the HoC, but he thought he was still a Conservative!
This really struck home. This tiny sample of voters in the Buckingham constituency thought they had voted in a Conservative and they were even more outraged when I pressed the point that in reality, he doesn’t ‘represent’ us in Parliament and that in effect, we have a fraud of an MP.
Of course, there will be many people more informed and perhaps more engaged than my friends and will know the reality of the situation but I’m fairly sure there will be many, many others who are just as ignorant or perhaps just don’t care. Of the 75,000 registered voters in this constituency, I wonder how many thousand think they have a Conservative MP?
To be fair to Bercow, his website and his MP listing does clearly show that he is an Independent and his Wikipedia entry also clearly states that he was a member of the Conservative Party and resigned from it in June 2009. But you have to dig around a bit to discover that he doesn’t take part or vote on any issues, Acts of Parliament, Bills, etc. in the HoC. I bet many thousands of voters of Buckingham don’t know this and yet 34,617 people voted for him in 2015 (and get this, his vote increased by 17.2% over 2010) and no doubt a similar number will vote for him again next month thinking they are voting for someone who ‘represents’ them in Parliament and is still a Conservative. I only know this myself because of my exchanges of letters with Bercow in which he states this in his replies. Tellingly, in one such exchange, I asked him who ‘represents’ me in Parliament as he clearly doesn’t. I never got a reply.
So, Buckingham, a ‘solid blue’ constituency, actually isn’t. And I’d wager most of the Tory voters in this ward don’t know this.
So it’s UKIP again for me then, because even if I wanted to vote for a party to make May, Corbyn or (God help us), Farron to be Prime Minister, those parties are not on the ballot paper. UKIP won’t stand a chance in Buckingham of course because thousands of voters either don’t support UKIP or more likely, they think they are voting for a Tory and for someone who represents them in Parliament.
© John Booth
(A Disenfranchised Voter)