Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John Bercow's coat of arms

Speaker John Bercow has commissioned his coat of arms. So tackily implausible is the design that His Grace thought the whole thing was a bit of gilded mockery. Perhaps it ought to have come as no surprise that it is, in fact, deadly earnest.

The symbolism is utterly banal: blue and red are the colours of the main political parties, representing John Bercow’s own journey. The ladder (regressing right to left) represents his ascent from humble beginnings to one of the highest offices of state. The balls represent his fondness for tennis: they are four to represent the constituent countries of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The sabres are not a nod to the Arab-Muslim world, but are drawn from the Essex coat of arms (where Mr Bercow went to university). The motto – All Are Equal – is interspersed with pink triangles, this being the symbol on Nazi concentration camp badges to identify male prisoners who were sent there because of their homosexuality. It has since been appropriated by the gay rights movement. The banner is lined with the spectrum of the rainbow, signifying the Speaker’s support for lesbian and gay rights.

If you aren’t yet retching with incredulity (not least at this £15k waste of taxpayers’ money on such an absurd vanity project), His Grace would like to explore the motto a little. ‘All Are Equal’ – what does it mean?

That all should be treated equally when similarly situated in morally relevant respects? Which of these similarities count as relevant? What constitutes treatment? Is the equality concerned with the same basic human rights, or is it about fostering a more general equality of condition? Is this equality before the law? Equality of political power? Equality of opportunity for social and economic advancement? Equality of resources? Equality of welfare? Equality of freedom? Equality of respect?

Is not inequality natural? Are we not born unequal? Are not some gifted with genetic advantage? Since complete equality is impossible for all people, the only meaning of the motto can be the aspiration for a reduction in inequality. This being so, His Grace would urge all MPs to treat the Speaker as their equal: not to accord him reverence or respect; not to get out of his way as he walks down the corridors of the Palace of Westminster; not to obey his commands in the chamber; and not to believe he is in any sense superior to them, for all are equal.

Unless, of course, John Bercow is more equal than others.


Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

Silly vain little man. What a memorial to the ignorance of our age and the venality of the Labour criminal cabal that destroyed so much of the little that was left of what was worth having in England.
He wants us to believe we are equal to him?
Yeah, right!

29 November 2011 at 09:18  
Blogger Kiwi said...

"All are equal", except, some are more equal than others - maybe that's the real message.

29 November 2011 at 09:23  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Kiwi, Amen.
Obnoxious little man that he is.

29 November 2011 at 09:51  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

"That all should be treated equally when similarly situated in morally relevant respects? Which of these similarities count as relevant? What constitutes treatment? Is the equality concerned with the same basic human rights, or is it about fostering a more general equality of condition? Is this equality before the law? Equality of political power? Equality of opportunity for social and economic advancement? Equality of resources? Equality of welfare? Equality of freedom? Equality of respect?

Is not inequality natural? Are we not born unequal? Are not some gifted with genetic advantage?"

I doubt if JB has the space on his coat of arms to include all this detail, any more than the Prince of Wales is inclined to set out an exhaustive list of who he serves, and how, and under what conditions.

I suggest all new coats of arms incorporate a QR code (it would look perfectly in place on the flank of a Friesian Rampant) so that the curious can be directed to an appropriate Facebook page.

29 November 2011 at 10:07  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I like the fact that as a well known short-arse - he chooses a ladder and produced a complete golden balls-up.

29 November 2011 at 10:08  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Come, come, Your Grace. Perhaps a little charity toward this rather amusing and colourful representation of a man's rise from humble and socialist beginnings to the supposedly grand status he now occupies (I'm afraid my bind moggles at suggesting "dignifies").

A pity he has not had the courage to include the full Biblical passage as his motto - "All men are equal in the eyes of God." But then again, perhaps that would upset those to whom Parliament bows in servile acquiescence on all matters of religion, that cabal of non-believers who claim that faith is a "delusion" for the weak of mind ...

As Kiwi reminds us, some are indeed more equal than others - who must pay for those who masquerade as our "leaders."

29 November 2011 at 10:14  
Blogger him said...

Yes, inequality is natural. So are cancer and toothache.

29 November 2011 at 10:15  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

To spend £15,000 on this .....thing...at this time...a crime.

29 November 2011 at 10:19  
Blogger Harry Hook said...

Where's the vibrator?

29 November 2011 at 10:23  
Blogger Berserker said...

Are the 'balls' meant to signify the LibDems as well as his tennis derring-do and the England, Scotland, Wales and NI of our Nation. Are the golden squirming roundels meant to represent the LibDems?

The portrait (see flickr UK Parliament's photostream) which goes with this (£22,000) shows Bercow without tights but I think gown and looks to me just like a photo roughed up a little in Photoshop.

Maybe the unemployed should take note. Find a 'celebrity' snap them and do a bit of creative photoshopping... a nice little earner.

Mind you, do we know what say the last speaker's portrait cost or the lady's before?

29 November 2011 at 10:43  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

For such a loathsome creature to achieve the status that he has must mean he has the dirt on a lot of people around him. How else could he have got to be speaker? He is a poor representitive of Parliament or perhaps, these days, a true representative of Parliament.

29 November 2011 at 11:19  
Blogger Timothy Belmont said...

Methinks little Bercow is a closet socialist.

Heaven knows why the man is tolerated as Speaker; worse still, he'll doubtless be offered a life peerage when he finally goes.

Is he a hypocrite? Modernizer, teacher's robes in lieu of traditional attire; and yet a coat-of-arms at the taxpayers' expense.

29 November 2011 at 11:21  
Blogger David said...

Come on Your Grace! Haven't you forgotten the most obvious meaning: equal before God, or, translated into secular language, of equal worth and dignity? What's so hard to understand about that? It's simplicity itself in its banality.

That doesn't stop him and his wife being vainglorious berks, of course.

David, aka Britology Watch

29 November 2011 at 11:50  
Blogger Oliver Nicholson said...

"Tennis balls, my liege". Anyway, pink is not a tincture known to heraldry.

29 November 2011 at 12:00  
Blogger Cheese Messiah said...

@him You seem (perhaps along with mr Bercow himself)to make some logical fallacies, in your glib comparisons, that inequality is a 'disease' that can cured by 'progress'. A toothache (like any pain) is actually a useful warning of a deeper problem. Although its unpleasant effects can be reduced by pain-killers, it is not entirely clear what benefit eradicating toothache would had, except causing more problems. Cancer is caused by malignant and unregulated growth. Perhaps a comparison to Islam would be more apposite?
Again it is not clear what this has to do with 'equality'. Treating the cancerous cells equally to the healthy ones would result in them multiplying.
Cancer and other diseases can only be treated by discrimination, not equality.

29 November 2011 at 13:25  
Blogger Gnostic said...

So the ladder isn't because he's a shortarse with a complex then?

29 November 2011 at 13:40  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I see Dreadnaught beat me to the shortarse quip! LOL

29 November 2011 at 13:42  
Blogger Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Ghastly, totally ghastly.

Are the little triangles and rainbows a signal that Golden Balls is on his way out of the (Speaker's) closet?

As Your Grace knows, I find Sally rather alluring. Do you think there's a chance Mrs B. will be back in the game, sometime soon?

29 November 2011 at 13:47  
Blogger Oswin said...

'Snakes and ladders'? I see the game counters, but where are the snakes hiding; lurking behind the Saracen scimitars perhaps?

Alternatively: a plan view of a ladder and four buckets, denoting his true vocation, as a window-cleaner? (apologies to ALL window-cleaners!)

29 November 2011 at 15:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Suggestion for a new parliamentary coat of arms…

A lion lying prone, half dead, under a jackboot with a white flag flying over it. Motto “EU uber alles”

29 November 2011 at 17:58  
Blogger Alison Bailey Castellina said...

The Speaker is correct in that the emblems on English heraldry are subjective, bearing no continuity of meaning from one generation to the next. I presume, he does not have any inherited symbols with which to emblazon his arms. No matter but this design seems to have somehow missed the point (arms=true nobility) in that the design seems to lack humility, wit and an authentic Christian motto. "God has pulled me up" (in Latin) would be the appropriate motto for a ladder and heraldic animals might pun on his name. A bit of self-deprecation and genuine wit would have gone down well.

29 November 2011 at 21:45  
Blogger Dodo's Gay Way said...

Is he a mad man or a jumped up little nobody trying to impress?

Pink triangles, balls, ladders and rainbows and sabres- deary me.

Is he a homosexual, a confused hetrosexual or a political opportunist?

30 November 2011 at 00:11  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

This poison dwarf should be treated with utter contempt.

It would be very easy for MP's to make him such an object of ridicule that his position becomes untenable.

An investigation into his expenses should throw some light on the situation as would his expulsion from the Conservative Party.

30 November 2011 at 08:23  
Blogger Jon said...

I don't object to the coat of arms at all - given that most of the others seem to be just trophies for supporting a Norman king or getting buggered by James 1st, I don't see what's so great about them.

I do object to having to pay for it.

30 November 2011 at 14:30  
Blogger Dodo's Gay Way said...

Jonsaid ...

" ... getting buggered by James 1st ... "

Sir, I don't believe King James I sodomised anybody. What an outrageous accusation!

30 November 2011 at 17:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...


30 November 2011 at 18:03  
Blogger Oliver Nicholson said...

In heraldic terminology the pink triangles are piles

30 November 2011 at 18:41  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo @ 00:11 - well, he is, for his sins, married to the 'Burco Boiler'!

1 December 2011 at 16:17  
Blogger Dodo's Gray Way said...

Oswin, even so, there are limits! Good Lord above, he could take up a hobby like model railways sets. Surely more fulfilling than the direction he appears to be taking?

1 December 2011 at 18:43  
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