Monday, 18 May 2009

Vince for Speaker - another dastardly Tory plot

Iain Dale suggests that, at this time of scandal, the House of Commons needs someone with integrity to act as its figurehead and suggests that it might be time to cast party preference aside and choose Vince Cable to be the new Speaker (as and when Michael Martin quits).

I'm sure Iain proposes this with the best of intentions, but it does seem to me that, if it happened, it would suit the Conservatives very well indeed.

At a stroke the Lib Dem's top points scorer would be taken off the field of play. No longer would the 'man who predicted the downturn' be able to predict anything at all - for Speakers are required to maintain neutrality. Vince may have landed many blows against the Government, but he is also a threat to the Tories and has outperformed George Osborne for many months now. If the media want an opposition speaker on any economics issue then it is Vince they turn to, not George. If I were a Tory strategist then I would be leading the charge for the Vince for Speaker cause.

But I'm sure Iain proposed this because he thinks Vince would be a good Speaker. And if this is the case then it deserves consideration.

I have no doubt that Vince would make a fine Speaker and the public would respect him. But I'm not entirely sure that it is his longed for job, nor that he would be happy in the role. Speakers must be neutral and cannot speak up about any political issue - however expert they are. Unless we are to completely redefine the role then I cannot see the likes of Vince being up for it. And even if he did, once he got the expenses thing sorted, where would the fun be. Sitting in a big chair shouting 'Order, Order' is not the passion of any sane human being over the age of 8.

As Millennium suggests instead - perhaps it should be Norman Baker who takes the role.


Alex Wilcock said...

Bless you for being kind to Iain's motives. But he's a very accomplished political stirrer, and when I saw him suggest that he'd like us to neuter one of our biggest assets, I just laughed and said 'I bet you would'.

It is right, though, that one of the usual suspects grandees would be a disaster.

My vote's for Frank Field, not because I like the man but because he'd have some clean-up credibility with the press. And no party would miss him ;-)

Iain Dale said...

There is no plot. No one put me up to it. I genuinely believe that the next Speaker must be someone the public can respect. Vince fits that bill. I happen to think his reputation is a little undeserved, but that's irrelevant. He would command the support and respect of the nation.

Colonel Smedley said...

Norman Baker is one of those mired in expenses sleaze - claiming for an office he already owns, plus excessive claims for food.
He has yet to explain himself. How on earth people would think that he would be a suitable speaker, I don't know. Could this be a LibDem plot to ensure that Lewes doesn't get retaken by the Tories and Baker can continue to trough it for another 5 years ?

Pete Wass said...

Vince Cable's reputation is of course largely based on repeating, after things started to go down, warnings that Peter Lilley made a decade ago. That said, if he were able to return us to the standard of speakership we enjoyed a decade ago he would be doing us all a tremendous favour.