Monday, June 22, 2009

Richard Shepherd for Speaker

This man is Cranmer’s choice to be the next Speaker of the House of Commons.

It is unacceptable that there should be a third consecutive Labour Speaker, and objectionable that anyone embroiled in the expenses fiasco or who opposed Freedom of Information legislation should be elevated to the role. It is equally inconceivable that anyone should be proclaimed the First Commoner in the Land with the whipped support mainly of one party. Having forced out Speaker Martin because of his inept partisan behaviour, his own financial scandal and his own attempts to block the disclosure of MPs’ expenses, it would be scandal upon scandal to elevate someone who is guilty of the same sins, vices and crimes. With the reputation and standing of Parliament at an all-time low, today’s choice is constitutionally too important and politically too sensitive to play partisan politics with the process. The next Speaker must not only carry the confidence of the House but restore the trust of the people; he or she must possess integrity, be scrupulously moral and beyond reproach.

Richard Shepherd is not a favourite; indeed, he is completely beneath most people’s radar. But he is independently-minded, understands the meaning and importance of sovereignty, and loves Parliament. He was selected as 'Backbencher of the Year' in 1985 and was The Spectator’s 'Parliamentarian of the Year' in 1995. In 1989, he was identified by his peers to be one of the ten most effective MPs in Parliament. He is untouched by scandal, has consistently supported openness and accountability, and has not fleeced the taxpayer. His radiates humility, and expresses a genuine warmth and respect for his fellow man.

Today’s choice of Speaker is quite possibly the most significant in the entire history of the office. And it is an opportunity for Parliamentarians to break with the past. The ‘old faces’ are not going to persuade anyone that anything will change; indeed, pace Ann Widecombe, they are most likely to represent the continuance of patronage and the perpetuation of the dominance of the Executive. The next Speaker must not only promise change but must be symbolic of it. This requires the sort of manifestation of transformation which can only be attained by a discontinuous incarnation.

Cranmer is not alone in this choice.

Douglas Carswell MP is also of the opinion that Speaker Shepherd is the right man to clean up Parliament:

Firstly, his own expense claims have been very modest. Secondly, he campaigned for Freedom of Information law years before it became fashionable. Together that gives him the moral authority to force transparency on an unwilling tribe in SW1.

Better than anyone else I’ve met in four years in the Commons, Richard understands that sovereignty of Parliament is shorthand for sovereignty of the people.

Too many in Westminster see the Speaker’s contest through the prism of self-interest. They seem to want to elect a shop steward for politicians, rather than a Speaker able to restore public faith in the political process.

Richard grasps that change must also mean making those we elect effective at holding government to account. Parliament needs back its purpose. He’s ideas on how it is to be done.

Speaker Shepherd would be no apologist for indolent politicians blinded by a sense of entitlement – but he would make them answer properly to you.

Guido Fawkes observes:

It is a shame that Richard Shepherd is not in the running. A thoroughly decent man with a longstanding record of support for freedom of information who is also among the lowest expense claiming MPs. So he won’t win of course…

While Speaker Shepherd is not a likely outcome of today’s vote, it is certainly not one which should be written off. Parliament could, and probably will, do a whole lot worse.


Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

They'll 'never' elect a man whose righteousness contrasts with their moral degradation.

He does understand the importance of parliament; see his speech on the Bruges Group's website.

22 June 2009 at 09:24  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Could Brown possibly believe that best person to preside over the sewer that is the House of Commons is another rat? Margaret Beckett fits the profile to a T. And it seems the Labour whips are doing their best to see that it happens.

And while all this goes on Cameron is biding his time, hoping he doesn't find himself in office prematurely. I'd love to be a fly on his office wall if the Irish vote NO a second time...

22 June 2009 at 09:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope the ugly (in all senses of the word) bitch Beckett is not elected. If she is, then all hope is gone for any return to normal, civilised behaviour in our seat of government and hence in the country as a whole.

john in cheshire

22 June 2009 at 09:53  
Anonymous Orwellian Prophet said...

Down on Animal Farm the Ruling Council are about to elect a new Chair-being.
Those greedy piggies are in the majority regardless of Party allegiance, so the inhabitants are laying odds that the winner will be – guess what – another piggy!

22 June 2009 at 09:57  
Blogger McKenzie said...

The dilemma I have is that I would like to be able to say that I will pray that Richard Shepherd shall get the job, but it's not good that I pray for things because the exact opposite happens. I know why this is, and it has nothing to do with the futility of prayer, quite the opposite. It is all to do with my own selfishness, which is what I am here to learn about.

So, instead, I will simply state, "do as you please oh Lord, but please do what will best make us serve you." (I know, but this is my dilemma).

22 June 2009 at 10:06  
Blogger Joe50 said...

Your grace,

A well argued case. Richard Shepherd would be my second choice after Sir Alan Beith, whose case I argue at . Shame I'll be backing two losers then.

22 June 2009 at 11:36  
Anonymous oiznop said...

My choice is Ann Widdecombe, even though she would be interim. If the case for a temporary speaker isn't strong enough, Richard Shepherd would make a remarkable speaker. As a Maastricht rebel, he is likely to refuise to preside over debates which impinge upon the soveregnty of Parliament.

22 June 2009 at 12:05  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I think it is a great shame that the Church cannot produce someone who can communicate with ordinary people. I can appreciate why the ABC would not want to say something which would open up accusations about superficiality, and it is indeed important that he is able to demonstrate his depth and breadth of understanding as a senior Bishop of the Church. Breadth of understanding is an expression of the ability to operate across disciplinary boundaries in a coherent and productive way, with principles drawn from different disciplines. Depth of understanding depends upon mastery of a body of knowledge, but it is not to be confused with knowledge, and is not necessarily commensurate with the number of courses taken in a subject.

Complete understanding would have to include the understanding of how ordinary people think about their world. This would have to include an understanding of the busy nature which secular society places on all of us, and the demanding nature of the pressures we face, which forces us to prioritise a large degree of our daily thoughts giving over to the superficial and mundane.

We have witnessed recent outbursts of judgment from church leaders with regards to political parties. Where then is the voice of heavenly wisdom now with regards to this extremely important event; the selecting of a new speaker.

I have no doubt at all in my mind that if we do not have a new and fresh face, who, as His Grace says, "must not only promise change but must be symbolic of it", the public will sink into the depths of hopelessness.

The world has grown up on a staple diet of capitalism, which has shown great advantages in some respect, but it has been a dark and bloody trade off. I can understand why the church would not want to encourage the mill grinders to be too enlightened and throw down their tools and 'follow Him' in blind submission. But neither should the role of the church be that of repression and misinformation at the level which has handed over the souls of the flock to Satan's deceptions. Man cannot live by bread alone, and going into business with Satan simply to keep the mills turning is not in any way representative of what Christ had in mind for His church leaders.

22 June 2009 at 12:12  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

Your Grace -

Fine sentiments indeed but I feat we're going to get another Labour party hack, tainted by sleaze.

How this equates to Mr Broon's stated wish to "clean up parliament" is unclear, but nevertheless this is the usual divergence between the walk and the talk.

Business as usual. Scandals? What scandals?

22 June 2009 at 14:06  
Anonymous not a machine said...

your grace has rediscovered his origins , let us hope it is contagious , parliment has become corrupt and the people are poorer as a result

22 June 2009 at 14:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pathetic electorate, composed as it is, of MPs remarkable only for their supine and corrupt qualities, are unlikely to vote for someone noted for honesty. I am amazed that some of these swine are saying that the whips are bullying them. Are they so totally abject that they dare not disobey, even though the vote is secret? Words fail me about this miserable mob.

22 June 2009 at 14:55  
Anonymous Mouse said...

Speaking for animals, I am deeply insulted at all the symbolism people use to deride their lords and masters. I never met an animal who was as contemptible as such people: unless people made the creature so.

22 June 2009 at 16:39  
Anonymous TBF said...

Your Grace,

Now Shepherd is out, who is your 2nd choice?

22 June 2009 at 18:26  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


Insofar as Ann Widdecombe is offering herself to serve for less than a year (which is a very great pity, but her impending retirement is apparenly non-negotiable), His Grace's choice falls to Sir George Young.

He is an honourable man who should have been appointed instead of Michael Martin 9 years ago.

Bercow is not a Conservative; a further decade of Beckett would be a constant reminder of this awful Labour government; Beith is boring; and Haselhurst would yield Iain Dale a win of £4000 and lead him into a life of gambling and debauchery.

22 June 2009 at 18:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace.
Mr Bercow may or mat not be a conservative, but it is now beyond dispute that he is Speaker of the House.
Methinks there are more interesting times ahead !

22 June 2009 at 22:53  
Anonymous non mouse said...

So the 'story's actually made it to the American news - NPR and computer reports from AP.

Their explanations style MPs as 'lawmakers' and the problem as expenses. Clear ignorance/ blackout of the euSSR, sovreignty, referendum issues.

Apparently Bercow fooled around pretending reluctance after his election - which fits with my interpretation of the pic Cranmer posted: an overgrown child.
Just Ducky.

22 June 2009 at 22:54  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

A dreadful double-whammy: the noble and entirely suitable Shepherd rejected by a huge majority, the slimy toad Bercow elected by the House of Fools. Unless the Tories gain a large majority at the next election, and throw out this unprincipled fraud, then any last hope for this country's parliament has disappeared. Was this yet another act of wanton spite by the Labour tribe, nother act in their ghastly unpatriotic scorched earth policy? It is difficult to think of any other reason for this self-serving creep to have been elevated. Believe me, he'll make Martin look good! Ichabod; Ichabod: the glory has departed.

22 June 2009 at 23:04  

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