Monday 26 February 2024

Speakers' Chairs

Prime Ministers come, and Leaders of the Opposition go, but the Speakership of the House of Commons has spent 32 years and counting in the gift of the machine personified by Betty Boothroyd and Lindsay Hoyle. That machine has also pulled two of its favourite tricks, the candidate whom it could sell as left-wing because he was working-class, and the one to whom, "They can't object, because he's a Tory."

In reality, while no Blairite, Michael Martin had supported Roy Hattersley after having been Parliamentary Private Secretary to Denis Healey; so much for the suggestion that he lacked intellect or culture, deficiencies that Healey would have found insufferable. As for John Bercow, he had well and truly been on a journey since his days as Secretary of the Race and Repatriation Committee of the Monday Club.

If I were the 66-year-old Hoyle, then I would say that I was standing down at the General Election and relying on Rishi Sunak to send me to join my 94-year-old father in the House of Lords. At 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon, Hoyle's only reason for calling Labour's amendment was that Standing Order No. 31 was "outdated". But by 7:04 that evening, it had become about "the danger" and "the security of Members, their families and the people involved". There was no such threat then, and there is none now.

Even the state employee sitting alone who convicted the Paraglider Three gave them 12-month conditional discharges, thereby announcing that he did not believe for one moment that they really were supporters of Hamas. Following their wrongful arrest in November, Dr Ranjeet Brar and his companions were completely vindicated on Friday. Two people, one sixth of those arrested, have been charged in relation to 17th February's march of at least a quarter of a million for a ceasefire in Gaza, on which the Police had been ordered to crack down ostentatiously. One with failing to remove a face covering when required, and the other with obstructing a constable. So much for inciting racial hatred. So much for support for a proscribed terrorist organisation. So much for assaulting emergency workers. Specifically, so much for assaulting the Police.

Only the other side, such as it is, does those things, answering the call of Suella Braverman by going to the Cenotaph equipped to stab the Police and then by doing so. Ask the Police. Liz Truss has lately concurred that the ringleader besides Braverman, "Tommy Robinson", was a "hero". How does Truss or Braverman still have the whip?

I have not been to London in a while, but Sadiq Khan was Mayor when I was last there, and if that was a city run by Islamists, then, in their own terms, they were not making much of a job of it. Braverman has seen Lee Anderson and raised him, claiming that the whole country was now controlled by Islamists. That that cannot be true if she can say it in a newspaper will be entirely lost on her, as most things are. I spent Saturday at rather a good beer festival for a caliphate. Israel founded and long funded Hamas, and against Assad Israel gave IS a Golan Heights field hospital to which Priti Patel diverted British public money, but a country under Islamist rule would be most unlikely to be returning the compliment and arming Israel, as Britain is.

Even if this threat to MPs were real, and do not put it past them to fake an attack, then it would not be worse than a genocide, or even than the endorsement of a genocide. The total absence of any popular support for Israel in Britain does not only annoy the Axis of Evil in Parliament, the legacy media, and the Establishment thinktanks. It genuinely frightens the components of that Axis, since it brings home to them that they bear no resemblance and have no connection to the country that they hold as a colonial possession, as Occupied Territory, purportedly under threat from Shamima Begum while unable to stand up to the United States over Julian Assange, and with a submarine-borne nuclear "deterrent" that does not work in the damp.

If the SNP's new motion did not repeat the words "collective punishment", then that party would have sold out, and if it did not repeat Humza Yousaf's call for an arms embargo on Israel, then that would also be an abrogation of responsibility. Will that motion be called before George Galloway was back in the Commons? Eddie Dempsey seems to have left social media, but if anyone can get in touch with him, then unless he were doing his home patch of Islington South and Finsbury, making it possible that he might become Boris Johnson's MP, then he might contest Chorley if Hoyle did again. Someone should, and the RMT is back in the market. Mick Lynch did not say "Vote Starmer". But he did say that the RMT would be supporting Jeremy Corbyn at Islington North. That means money. This is on.

Meanwhile, Keir Starmer is facing that rare thing, a candidate for whom the only reason not to vote was plain old political disagreement. Andrew Feinstein is one of the best-qualified parliamentary candidates in living memory. No wonder the media are ignoring him. Imagine him in a face-to-face debate with Starmer. Leanne Mohamad is making the weather against Wes Streeting at Ilford North. Promising to bang up anyone from "certain communities" who criticised Israel, Rachel Reeves is expected to contest the new seat of Leeds West and Pudsey, which has a projected Labour majority of only 5,222. To have more direct responsibility would be Yvette Cooper, whose projected majority at Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley is only 758. And so forth.

Reeves's side could not even elect Luciana Berger at Finchley and Golders Green last time. There is no constituency where it is electorally decisive. Not a single one. Ian Mearns is retiring, but he would not have lost Gateshead, or the new seat of Gateshead Central and Whickham, because he had voted for a ceasefire in November. Rebecca Long-Bailey will not lose Salford because she had voted for a ceasefire in November. With or without the Labour whip, Diane Abbott will not lose Hackney North and Stoke Newington, whether on this issue or any other. Abbott misspoke, and she has apologised. Kim McGuinness said far worse, far less articulately, and she is unrepentant.

When I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair’s Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. The only MP to be stabbed to death in Britain (Conservative David Amess) was murdered by an Islamic extremist.

    Yet the leftwing media is more worried about Lee Anderson.

    1. In his dreams is anyone worried about Lee Anderson.

      Jo Cox was murdered by an internationally important Far Right activist, and a hardline Zionist tried to murder George Galloway when he was an MP. Sir Stephen Timms voted for a ceasefire in November.

  2. On Shamima Begum, you sound like Jacob Rees-Mogg.

  3. Even Guido's showing Anderson and Truss in tinfoil hats.

    1. Remember, there were people who really did make Truss Prime Minister, and they now think that Anderson should be. They walk among us.