I have a scoop. It has been brought to my attention by a reliable source (this is what he tells me) that the Speaker John Bercow is make a surprise statement to Parliament today. I do not know the exact words but it goes something like this. I hope you don’t mind but I have dramatised the occasion. Here goes, The Speaker says, ‘I have decided that it is in the interests of this house to further clean up our act. Numerous communications have been addressed to me from the public complaining about the appearence, demeanour, and behaviour of Members. It is said that Hon.Members look bad, they are over-weight, unkept and unfashionable. Their posture is awful: they slump and lounge and are louche. Behaviour is atrocious: Hon Members shout, interrupt and hurl abuse to the other side. Some correspondents make the point, not to mince words, that Members have been poorly brought up and should be ashamed of themselves. I confess to Hon Members that from where I sit I agree, absolutely, I agree. At one time I do most sincerely believe that most Members cast a diffferent glow upon the world. I believe that they wished to please and some to serve. When they courted the attention of others they washed behind their ears and had regular haircuts. Some Members will have engaged in popular sports that require a degree of fitness. Their mothers were proud of them. A summer recess gives an opportunity to make amends to the public. However, it is an unfortunate aspect of the recent difficulties on expenses that the foreign fact-finding tours to exotic places are no more. Members cannot rely on adventures abroad at public expense to sharpen themselves by relaxation and excercise. I am taking an intiative. I have set up a series of four-week Summer Courses for Members designed to get them fit by regular outdoor exercise along the lines of Military Training Camps. It will be hard for many Members but the medical facilities are first class and we have made appropriate arrangements with the Emergency Services. These Camps are not voluntary. I have the powers (Order, Order) to insist that Hon Members attend (Order, don’t wag your finger at me Sir). I intend to Suspend any Member who declines my invitation. (Order, Order). The Member clearly believes I don’t have the bottle for it. I am not interested in his so-called ‘family holiday’ in the Seychelles. Try me, Sir, Try me, if you dare. I know the Honourable Gentleman used to be much respected in this House for his outstanding record of service to others. But a long time ago, sir, a long time.’ (Loud noises off stage). Words of abuse will be shouted. ‘If it good enough for Old Etonians and louts from sink Council estates, why not for us?’ can be heard. There is a rush for the entrance, ‘It has come to this. Nothing quite like it since Neville Chamberlain’. ‘That’s done it.’ ‘This is what you get when you buy Lib Dem votes.’ And some such.’ The Speaker can be heard shouting, ‘This is inevitable. We have been given no choice. It is a legacy we inherited for the Honourable Gordon, of Blessed Memory.’ The vision is lost and confusion reigns.’ Can you believe it, it has come to this?
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