Of the Speaker candidates, John Bercow, who won last night, looked like the best of a rather dull bunch. On the extreme left of the Tory party - targeted as a possible defector at times, but probably too left-wing to be comfortable with New Labour (the same phrase was also used by early 1990s late night TV stalwart Jerry Hayes, who was the MP for Harlow until he got bitten by a dog, punched, and finally voted out in the ill-fated election campaign of 1997. But I digress...)
For sure, Bercow hasn't been the most consistent figure in UK politics... but when your initial views put you in the far-right Monday Club, maybe inconsistency is to be encouraged? He stands a good chance of doing well in the post, although in the event of a Tory majority at the next election, deposition looks likely... the Conservatives really hate him. Perhaps because he is a real liberal rather than a fake one.
It was something of a comedown, then, that the brave new era for British politics began... exactly like the old era, with the Speaker being "reluctantly dragged" to the chair, as if he was doing everybody a favour. Really, this kind of overgrown prep school nonsense should be abandoned at the earliest opportunity. Along with all the crap about the correct form of address - "the honourable member" and all that balls. MPs should just be called by name, like in any other walk of life. The more we demystify and de-clutter political procedures, the more chance there is that they might make sense to the vast majority of people rather than seeming like some weird 18th century ritual.
Tradition always has been a dirty word as far as I'm concerned. Greg Dyke was right all along, as were The Clash... "Cut The Crap".