Tory plotting begins against Bercow

THE collective hissy-fit of Conservatives MPs following the election of John Bercow as Speaker seems to be based on that famous put-down from the days of Thatcherism: He's not one of us.

Graham Dines

THE collective hissy-fit of Conservatives MPs following the election of John Bercow as Speaker seems to be based on that famous put-down from the days of Thatcherism: He's not one of us.

Bercow's “crime” is that he is seen as a consensus politician, who supports equality, gay rights, and state intervention to help people who can't help themselves. He's a Tory, well to the left of the party, a true One Nation Conservative - and there's not many of those around these days.

Tory MPs are now threatening, if they win the next election, to kick Bercow out and replace him with one of theirs - that is, a Tory who understands class and privilege. Defeated candidate Sir George Young, an old Etonian, fits the bill nicely.

I hope the excitable clots engineering a post-election coup are dissuaded from this dangerous course of action by David Cameron who was, as he reminded the Commons last week, Speaker Bercow's tennis partner in the post-2001 parliament. To chuck out a Speaker because you don't like his politics, especially if he's from your own side, will be to set a precedent that future parliaments will follow to get rid of a Speaker.

Much has been made of Labour's unconstitutional activities in recent years. Removing the Speaker is far worse than chucking hereditary peers out of the Lords.

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In any case, if Bercow is perceived to be too left wing, then why did the good burghers of the Conservative association in Buckingham, where he has been MP since 1997, decide to keep him on as their candidate? Buckingham is one of the bluest areas of the Home Counties, where in 2005 Bercow was elected with 57.4% of the vote and enjoying a majority of 18,129, or 37.53% - one of the safest seats in the whole House of Commons.

So if Tory MPs want to blame any group of people, they should stop pointing fingers at Labour, which is accused of foisting an anti-Tory Tory on the Commons, and ask Buckingham Conservatives to explain themselves.

“FREEMASONRY and the French Revolution” is the title of what promises to be a fascinating exhibition which opens tomorrow at Freemasons' Hall near London's Covent Garden.

Freemasons, as speculative masons (meaning philosophical building rather than actual building), use symbolism to teach moral and ethical lessons of the principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth - or as translated in France: liberty, equality, fraternity.

Thus freemasons were blamed for causing the Revolution and the consequent political and social unrest - not dissimilar to today's critics who regard Masonic institutions such as the Order of the Secret Monitor as sinister.

The year after the uprising in France and the mass cull of the aristocracy, the Prince of Wales - later King George IV - was elected the Grand Master of English Freemasonry, and almost ever since, the Royal Family has had connections with the society.

The exhibition runs until December 18 (Mondays to Fridays).

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