How Bercow Turned Against the Clerk of the House

The Clerk – commonly regarded as one of the great Clerks – has only been there for two and a half years, remember. It’s a premature retirement for Sir Robert Rogers.

“It’s been very gruelling for him,” said one with a view of the action over the period. The Speaker turned against the Clerk in a very affirmative way. “Temper tantrums and childish behaviour every Monday morning. I’m not surprised he’s going, it’s exhausted him.

“The tragedy is, Robert helped the Speaker a lot in his campaign to get elected. If he (Bercow) had decided to work with him rather than against him, who knows what they could have achieved.”

Notice, the Clerk’s letter to the Speaker didn’t tender his resignation. It notified the Speaker he had already resigned (to the Queen). Nor was there any expression of gratitude to the Speaker or personal feeling towards him. An unprecedented absence.

The bullying hotline announced by Bercow will be interesting. There has been at least one complaint about him made to the internal system in the Commons – but it’s a brave person who complains to the Prince about the Prince.

Another witness said, “I wouldn’t speak to a dog in the way Bercow spoke to X (a senior member of the hierarchy).”

It’ll be interesting to see how many complaints it gets from the Speaker’s behaviour. No doubt the information will be closely held, accessible only by the highest office-holder in the Palace. Uh oh – the Speaker himself.

New Clerk

The Clerk of Clerks has two jobs. To be 1) head of procedure and 2) chief executive of the Commons.

The prevailing idea is to split the role into two. Some perfectly sensible people urge this (they’ll be disappointed when an outside CEO – some apparatchik who’s run an NHS trust – fails to cope with the peculiarities of the Palace of Westminster).

But the Speaker will like the idea for another reason. The job of Clerk as head of procedure is reduced enough to put in a diversity candidate who isn’t strictly speaking up to the job. It’s a sort of Lawrence Ward appointment (the Serjeant at Arms) – loyalty is more important than stature.

The Speaker will be able to push such a candidate around, as well as being able to manoeuvre the outside CEO appointed to run the estate.

It’s Divide and Rule, but yet more clever – Diminish and Rule.



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Quote of the Day

Former Miliband guru Arnie Graf reveals Labour’s disconnect with the working class:

“On one of my trips to the U.K. in the autumn of 2013, I bumped into one of Ed’s strategists in Portcullis House. He asked me if I was assisting the staff on Ed’s trip that was to take place in a few days to one of the regions. I told him that I did not have knowledge of his planned trip.

He told me that Ed was going to give a talk at the region’s annual fund raising dinner and that prior to the dinner he had invited the media to join him at a local coffee shop to listen to a conversation he planned to have with a minimum wage worker. The point of the conversation was to show how difficult it was for a minimum wage worker to get on in life.

There was only one problem. No one had been able to locate a minimum wage worker for Ed to talk with.”

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