Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Douglas Carswell for Speaker

The name Douglas Carswell will go down in history as the man who changed the course of British democracy by initiating the Great Reform of Parliament in 2009. By nailing his 95 theses to the door posting his motion upon his blog, he confronted Parliament’s indulgences and disputed the erroneous claim of MPs that freedom from punishment by the gods of the electorate could be purchased with patio sets, bathplugs, plasma televisions or mock-Tudor beams.

It is only because of his dogged determination, his noble tenacity, his self-sacrificial campaign for accountability and his desire to restore honour and integrity to Parliament that we have witnessed the ejection of only the second Speaker of the House of Commons in Parliament’s long history. Any who reflect upon the first occasion in 1695 will hear the name of Speaker Trevor, but those who exposed and deposed him are long-forgotten; shrouded in the remoteness of yesteryear. But Douglas Carswell will long be remembered as a true Whig who sought to restore the sovereignty of Parliament; a noble Roundhead who confronted the courtly fashions of a cavalier rump of self-serving politicians; and a radical reformer with the virtue and zeal of Josiah.

Douglas Carswell has only been in Parliament since 2005. In just four years he has achieved more than the vast majority achieve in forty. His passion to restore honour and integrity to Parliament has not been pursued for selfish ends: indeed, David Cameron informed him that, as a consequence of his political beliefs on European Union, he would never serve on the Conservative Party’s front bench. And neither has Mr Carswell pursued his quests for party political purposes: he defies the party whip when he needs to, preferring to prioritise the interests of his constituents. In short, Douglas Carswell is an independently-minded democrat and a true servant of the people. He may be a ‘maverick’ or a whip’s nightmare, but he is a politician of conviction and Parliament needs more of them.

So Cranmer is bemused that all the emerging lists being drawn up of those who may succeed Speaker Martin exclude the name of Douglas Carswell. It is unthinkable that any politician who has indulged in excess or supped with the devil in defrauding the taxpayer could possibly be elected to the Speaker’s Chair. And that rules out many of those names presently being bandied about. Most are utter dullards in any case. The thought of Alans Beith or Haselhurst becoming Speaker will only perpetuate the appearance of a parliament on mogadon. John Bercow is utterly sullied, not to mention odious, and Sir Menzies Campbell could never embody what can only be achieved by a generational paradigm shift. Cranmer would be delighted to see Frank Field installed, but it is unlikely that a third successive Labour MP might be elected to the Chair, and the Prime Minister loathes him in any case.

So Cranmer wonders why no-one has thought of Speaker Carswell. He is a manifest moderniser and a man of action, scrupulous in his expenses, untainted by scandal, untarnished by excess, liberated from partisan squabbles, unblemished in record, distinguished in service, and is a man of unimpeachable integrity, honesty and conviction.

Cranmer would have only two conditions: firstly, that Speaker Carswell restore the wig to the pate. One then ceases to talk to the man, or chat with a mate, but instead addresses the office which possesses a visible authority. And secondly, he must assert the sovereignty of Parliament. The solution to the present crisis is not to create yet a further quango to dictate regulations to which Parliament would be subject: one might as well go the whole hog and delegate the task to Brussels. Such a body could only serve to further emasculate the Mother of Parliaments. It is unacceptable that a prime minister as weak as Gordon Brown should be making proposals which would be binding upon all future parliaments, for that itself would be unconstitutional.

If Speaker Carswell were to embrace these caveats (and Cranmer has no doubt about the second), then there is no doubting he is the man for the job. And when one remembers how David Cameron emerged as leader of the Conservative Party completely out of the blue, while the ‘big names’ were the principal focus of the media (pace ‘The Spectator’), one might consider that Mr Carswell has every chance of achieving a similar coup. Cranmer shall be writing to him with this proposal, and shall let communicants and readers know of his response.

UPDATE (25 May 2009)

Cranmer has received an email from Mr Carswell. It reads:

Your Grace,

Thanks so much for your email and your kind blog - I really do value your support.

I hope that the fall of Mr Speaker will give rise to reform; we urgently need to change the way Parliament holds those with power to account. Even more important, we need to change the way we decide who gets to sit in Parliament in the first place.

This is an agenda for radical change that I'm keen to push forward.

While flattered by your suggestion that I should be Speaker, I don't think it would be good for either me or Parliament for me to hold such a post.

I'd not be able to drive through the full range of reforms that I'd like to see if I was to sit in the Speaker's chair. (In addition, I'd almost certainly have to stop blogging!)

There are other candidates for the role of Speaker who would be able to push through some of the much needed reforms. Watch this space, but I suspect we might see some interesting candidates for the role who have yet to emerge.

Change is coming to Westminster - and the election of a new Speaker is only the beginning of the changes we need to make.

Keep up the good work!

Warm regards,


PS. I should mention that my real political ambition is to be Britain's last Minister for Europe.


Blogger Gnostic said...

No, no, Your Grace. Douglas Carswell for Prime Minister!

20 May 2009 at 09:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, he is badly needed in the Conservative Party.

20 May 2009 at 09:48  
Anonymous oiznop said...

@Anon 09.48.

Actually, the Conservative Party has already told him he'll never make the Front Bench under Cameron (because of his support for 'Better Off Out'), so they've already rejected him. He's wasted on the backbenches.

Parliament's need is greater than that of the Conservastive Party. Cranmer, this proposal is excellent and I wholeheartedly support it.

20 May 2009 at 09:59  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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20 May 2009 at 10:11  
Anonymous Donna said...


he's much better being a leading figure where he can be a shining example to the house, then mired on the backbenches. Cameron's refusal to promote him shows how utterly UNrevolutionary Cameron's party truly is. Let this man have a chance to do some real good for the House and for the country.

Cranmer, superb idea.

20 May 2009 at 10:12  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

You put the case for Mr Carswell as speaker with enthusiasm. We have seen and heard him much on television; the family falls silent when he speaks. He is clearly a man of great integrity.

He also seems a man with humility as he is unafraid of asking great men if he can sit on their shoulders – so that he can see like the watchmen on Liberty’s wall – a little further and be vigilant in guarding our freedom and security.

Let us then, extend the right hand of fellowship to him.

Men should arise to greet him.

20 May 2009 at 10:20  
Blogger Manfarang said...

He looks more of a squarehead.

20 May 2009 at 10:25  
Anonymous TBF said...

When I first read this, I though no, no, no - too young, too much promise, too valuable on the Tory benches.

But you're right.

Cameron has already discounted Carswell as a minister and scuppered his career. He'd be perfect to defend Parliamentary Sovereignty against the encroaching EU and he's a true democrat.

I second this proposal. I hope enough Tory MPs read your blog Cranmer, to see the sense of it.

God forbid we get Bercow.

20 May 2009 at 10:28  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Carswell has a great future in politics. He is a creative and radical thinker (see 'The Plan'), and might therefore be wasted as Speaker; besides which, his parliamentary experience is too short. A better alternative would be Richard Shepherd (my MP). Shepherd shares the qualities you have identified as favouring Carswell. He was among the first to sign the Carswell motion. He has a deep, historically based understanding of Parliament, is a man of principle, whose defiance of Major over Maastricht led to the withdrawal of the Tory party whip from him (among others). He has gravitas, commands respect, and was the pioneer of the Freedom of Information legislation (from which Martin tried to block details of MPs' expenses). I'm sure he would wear the wig. Shpherd's the man. Whaddya think, Cranny?

20 May 2009 at 10:28  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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20 May 2009 at 10:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hannan and Casrwell have emerged recently as two who could lead the Conservative Party with honour, with real leadership and with the ability to entice people to listen to them...not this half-arsed eejit who cant command a speech without squinting down every two seconds at it.

If Cameron wants to ignore Carswell for slimy toads such as Duncan, more fool him.

Carswell for Speaker then.

20 May 2009 at 10:52  
Blogger Ayrdale said...

Your Grace, a moment to savour. An end of the beginning perhaps...for surely there can be no doubt that the old left is over, the 3rd way is gone, and whatever evolved from it is decrepit, disgraced and discredited.

Ave, ave, ave...

20 May 2009 at 11:05  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Tut-tut, Cranny; It is England that is the Mother of Parliaments, not Westminster.

20 May 2009 at 11:06  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

Anon 10:52

You have stole my thunder. I absolutely agree that Hannan and Carswell should be leading the conservative party.

I want very badly to vote Conservative in the next General Election but their stance on Europe,immigration and Islam make me see them as no different to Labour. I want a party that celebrates our independence, Christianity and population problem and so far that only leaves one.

20 May 2009 at 11:11  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

If I had a vote, it would be Frank Field for me Your Grace.

20 May 2009 at 11:15  
Anonymous otacilia severa said...

All that Your Grace says of him is true; he is a remarkable Parliamentarian. But he has more work to do in campaigning for the restoration of British sovereignty, and his loss to this cause would be a great pity. There are other good candidates for the post of Speaker who could more easily be spared.

20 May 2009 at 11:28  
Blogger Dave said...

If Carswell becomes Speaker it'll protect his slender majority at the next election, but I think he's better "outside the tent pissing in, rather than inside the tent pissing out" as LBJ might have put it.
Can I suggest my MP Philip Hollobone? Ultra clean, hard working MP and County Counsellor for Kettering. Above reproach.

20 May 2009 at 11:38  
Anonymous John Malcolmson said...

I'm with Anabaptist regarding Carswell, although I'm not familiar with Shepherd's record.

I think that Carswell has far more qualities than just integrity, important though that is. For me he has something of the inspirational about him, and for that reason he would not only be wasted as Speaker but is already wasting his time in the Tory party.

I would like to see him leading a truly independent new batch of MPs whose agenda would be radical and issues based, rather than clinging to the tired, discredited Westminster consensus of political expediency in which survival matters above everything.

The only qualities that matter in a Speaker are integrity and impartiality. I don't see why this would mean a "Parliament on mogadon" as Cranmer puts it, but even if it did, that would surely be preferable to one on the fiddle.

But it's all pretty academic these days anyway as we don't make our own laws any more.

20 May 2009 at 11:52  
Blogger Mark Reckons said...

Cranmer - great post.

I was thinking the same thing last night and was going to post about it myself but you have beaten me to it!

Carswell would be an excellent Speaker and would be able to take the HoC into the next generation. He fully understands the new digital world and the problems with the existing system.

It won't happen of course. Despite all the rhetoric, MPs would never allow such a radical to lead them. It will be a more established and safer figure.

Of the realistic runners I favour Frank Field. he is a man of integrity and great intelligence but of course Gordon Brown hates him so it won't happen.

20 May 2009 at 11:52  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

20 May 2009 at 11:56  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Agree with most of your post your grace , whilst he deserves some praise , he has fought to not become suffocated into a position , and like many prophets useally finds any office a bind.

i think experience is what is needed but with a reformist outlook and outreach.

any person who forgets history in the rush to modernise will do more harm than good , the oragnic nature of our constitution is in tatters as it is.

it is also unfortunate that labour having suffered there deserved loss of authority are now seeking to put a quango implant into parliment and try and call them selves the reformers whilst about the business of serving the UK up for EU rule.

i sense grand double speak as arrived yet again in all its duplicitous glory

20 May 2009 at 14:00  
Blogger Timothy Belmont said...

Douglas Carswell seems a good egg to me. Direct and to the point; none of this ducking and diving from some other types.

20 May 2009 at 14:34  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Such a body could only serve to further emasculate the Mother of Parliaments.I always understood England to be the Mother of Parliaments and not that building in Westminster. Was it not John Bright in 1855 who uttered the phrase ?

Long after your time Your Grace I know, but facts as they say, are sacred.

20 May 2009 at 16:18  
Anonymous Kay said...

There are a lot of good people that could take position of speaker...but none of them are in Westminster. They are nowhere near it. Sorry, I don't think there is one honest person amongst them.

20 May 2009 at 16:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The speaker at his best is a manager. Carswell has huge potential, gutsy, with good judgement, and a thinker. He should not be wasted. The Conservatives are going to be in need of a Conservative at some point.

20 May 2009 at 17:31  
Anonymous not a machine said...

on a side note your grace , the catholic childrens home abuse seems to be in the news , in that none will be prosecuted !!

the history of childrens homes is not being told properly as people are forgetting that post ww2 there were many orphans and families grieving and struggling and a legacy of dysfunctional families .

1950s Britain was very different place , and i would imagine anyone under the age of 30 will never have felt the ruler across the hand .

I dont know how we can articulate it in the modern context or if we should as the eras are so different , does your grace have a view??

20 May 2009 at 17:36  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Well yes, Your Grace. But we need someone to lead us out of europe - or rather, to get them off the doorstep and make that foreign-sounding 'border agency' mean something!!!

That Cameron has destroyed Carswell's career with the Conservatives could now be turned to the disadvantage of Cameron and the advantage of Carswell...

wv nonou

20 May 2009 at 17:49  
Blogger ZZMike said...

"... firstly, that Speaker Carswell restore the wig to the pate."

How quaint, you British. But the distinction between man and office does seem to have disappeared. Over here, judges still wear black robes while sitting in court. But they do not don the black hat when imposing the death sentence. (In point of fact, it is much more likely that the judge will have died long before the criminal.)

But it does look as though change is in the works for England. Never abandon hope, but in the meantime, do what you can to nudge it along a bit.

20 May 2009 at 18:13  
Anonymous Gone said...

I think we have seen the word 'mote' enough is time to go now.

Everything else will fall into place Cranmer.

Don't give up.

20 May 2009 at 18:48  
Anonymous no nonny said...

ZZ - "but in the meantime, do what you can to nudge it [change] along a bit.

So maybe that'll give the US time to catch up and kill the death penalty?

20 May 2009 at 20:32  
Anonymous Ramsden said...

Carswell would be a brilliant speaker of the HoC but he'd never get cross-party support. He who wields the kinfe and all that. Has he agreed? If you've contacted him and he agrees, I think there'll be a huge media support for the nomination.

I support this, Cranmer. But is Carswell prepared to be a Cromwell or a Luther?


20 May 2009 at 22:03  
Blogger ZZMike said...

no nonny: "So maybe that'll give the US time to catch up and kill the death penalty?"

Not any time soon. I do admit it's a last resort, but the fact still remains (as Socrates pointed out) that there are some people that are human in shape only. Exile doesn't seem to work any more - no other country will take these people.

All anyone has to do is read the histories of these people. Most states put online the details of the horrific crimes committed by those in death row.

Arguments pro and con are long and emotional, and I hesitate to use our gracious host's premises for something off the original topic.

20 May 2009 at 23:31  
Blogger Andrew said...

If Douglas Carswell or Daniel Hannan were the leader of the Tories, I might even consider voting for them and forsaking the Libertarian Party ( which is at present one of the few parties any sane person can vote for.

21 May 2009 at 11:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear, hear.

Why Carswell is not mentioned as a potential Speaker is beyond me. He, alone, has been a shining beacon of probity in a sea of misrule.

Maybe it just tells you that 'no change' is really the mantra. It'll be much more comfortable for the majority in Parliament to have a time server as Speaker.

23 May 2009 at 09:07  

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