Thursday, 31 January 2008

Speaking For The People

The knives are out for Michael Martin because he used to be a sheet metal worker and because he is Glaswegian (he is not in fact from the Gorbals, but what if he were?). It is notable that no one with that sort of background could ever make it to Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly; indeed, it is difficult to imagine any such person being elected to either of those bodies in the first place.

The ridiculous Quentin Letts is leading the charge, but he is has backing on all sides of the House and the Lobby. Speaker Martin's working-class, heartland, economically left-wing but totally non-Marxist, morally and socially conservative Catholicism is absolutely everything that the people now running all three parties are against.

He is undoubtedly a convinced Unionist at least where Scotland is concerned (Northern Ireland might be a different matter, but it very well might not be), and he is probably something of a Eurosceptic. Views like that would endear him to Brown if it weren't for everything else; they make him utterly repellent to Cameron and Clegg.

Well, Cameron and Clegg are utterly repellent to me, and Brown is scarcely any better. How about you?

Save Our Speaker!


  1. "Our" Speaker?

    Speak for yourself - the man is a disgrace and yet another member of the Scottish Raj. His so-called "Unionism" is just a euphemism for a determination to keep England under the Scottish Jockboot.

  2. I lived in Springburn for a short-time - Red Road flats to be exact, the unionism practiced there concern people who are a bit hostile to Catholics. On the other side there is more than a few Irish tricolours and "IRA" graffiti there.

    Concerning the Speaker being Glaswegian, there are in fact two Glaswegian Speaker in the British Isles. The Speaker of the House of Keys in the Manx Parliament is from Glasgow also. The Honourable Stephen Rodan. He used to be a member of the Scottish Liberal Party. (I am sure as absolutist parliamentary soveriegntist you want to put him out of a job).

    Concerning the membership of the Scottish Parliament. I cannot be bothered looking into the background of every single member. Depends what you mean by "working class". Do you mean that their parents were working class or that they had working class jobs?

    For example Culture minister Linda Fabiani worked in housing before being elected. Her father was a sugar boiler in sweets factory.

    Tommy Sheridan and his crew anyone - now of course no longer members. But that is their fault.

    As the son of a building worker, the grandson of two farm workers, the great-grandson of two farm workers, one road-worker and an estate worker, being raised in one of the poorer areas of Aberdeen, I think being lectured in these areas by the son of the clergy living in a nice big vicarage is a bit rich!

    Concerning presiding officers, well I will give no judgement.

    David Steel - former journalist
    George Reid - former journalist and NGO official
    Alex Fergusson - farmer

    Steel and Fergusson I know for a fact are sons of the clergy. Fergusson's father was minister at Crathie and of course Steel's father was a missionary for many years in Africa.

    Of course you must think that sons of the clergy should be banned from high office - do you David.

    (You will probably not publish this!)

  3. Who would you have instead, Wildgoose? Derek Conway?

    The Aberdonian, it depends waht you mean by Unionism. Are not Catholics the people least likely to vote SNP, and have they not been given more than enough reason for that aversion?

    As for Ireland, Irish Catholics over here are increasingly like very many of them in Northern Ireland: aware of just how fiercely secular and harshly capitalist the Irish Republic now is. Expressing an ancestrally (and not very realistically) Irish culture is one thing. Wishing to destroy both public Catholicism and social democracy in Northern Ireland, as has largely happened (insofar as the latter ever existed) in the Republic, is quite another.

    As for the Isle of Man, not a bit of it. I've heard it suggested that Shetland (just another Realm of the Scottish Crown, of course - the whole question was most easily ignored at the Union, but it has never gone away) might become a Crown Dependency if Scotland ever became independent.

    I mean people who have actually done working-class jobs (as I have done, more than once), and I think that my point stands. Nor have I ever lived in "a big vicarage", except for a brief and unhappy period - one door opened onto a sheer drop of two floors, and my baby brother literally turned blue with the cold.

    Calling Alex Fergusson a "farmer" wouldn't appear to do justice to him, although of course appearences can be deceptive where that sort of thing is concerned.

    And there are clergy and clergy, in Scotland as in England. The late Dr David Steel was a one-time Moderator of the General Assembly, not a position that any old country or inner city minister could expect even today, I suspect. And certainly not at the time.