miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
I am indebted to Stephen Glenn ([syndicated profile] stephen_glenn_feed) for his masterful summary of the running order for today:
The timetable of events today is:
  • 9:30 Candidates have an hour to submit their nomination papers with 12-15 signatories (at least 3 from outside their party)

  • 11:00 Names will be published around Parliament and on their website

  • 14:30 Father of the House Alan Williams will preside over the speeches of the candidates

  • Approx 16:30 The voting takes place. There are 30 minutes for MPs to cast their vote in each round.

    Any candidate getting less than 5% or who comes last is eliminated. New ballot papers will be drawn up and second and subsequent votes will take place. (Expected time per round of voting 2 hours voting, counting and reproducing fresh ballot papers)

    Once a candidate is successful there will be a motion put to the House that X shall be speaker. If contested there will be a vote. If motion is agreed to the traditional dragging to the chair will take place of the successful now, suddenly less than willing volunteer to the Chair will take place.
So, the runners and riders have been announced, and we are waiting (with bated breath) for the speeches which have just started to be over. While we wait, I thought I would give my personal assessment of the candidates, which will likely be quite a lot shorter than some of the others ;)

I'm going to order them alphabetically, unlike the parliament website, which seems to have selected a random order. This is good for the white women, but not so good for the sole BME candidate, who is tagged on at the bottom like an afterthought...
  1. Margaret Beckett
    I see a lot of posts springing up on the Lib Demosphere titled anyone but Beckett. Now, I'm no fan of Beckett, but I think Anyone But is a bad plan. For one thing, that would mean supporting Widdecombe Unfair. Still, I agree with most of the reasoning as to why it shouldn't be her - she's a traditionalist, not a reformer; she's too slavishly loyal to her party; it's another party's turn, etc. Beckett gets a no from me.

  2. Sir Alan Beith
    The solitary Lib Dem. Although we haven't had a Liberal speaker in nearly a century, I don't think Alan is the right man for the job. Sorry Alan, but you're just too NICE. Plus, you're a white middle-class man with a knighthood. That is NOT going to play well to the peanut gallery who are aching for reform. No.

  3. John Bercow
    He's the one out of the front runners who looks to be most of a reformer, and I have always liked him since he formed that cross party coalition with my local MP and Evan Harris in the abortion debate. Sure, he's a Tory, but there are worse Tories (Widdecombe unfair, for example). I'm not going to support Bercow, but I won't be terribly upset if it's him. Maybe.

  4. Sir Patrick Cormack
    Is another white male knight. No.

  5. Parmjit Dhanda
    Hasn't appeared on my radar before, but seems to be an OK guy. Is distinctly different from all the other candidates, and has made the right noises about angling for reform. Also has a pleasant voice, which might seem like a superficial reason, but if we're going to have to listen to it every day for X number of years, I'd rather a pleasant voice than a screeching harpie like Widdecombe Unfair. The fly in his ointment is that he didn't respond to TheyWorkForYou. Maybe.

  6. Sir Alan Haselhurst
    Is another white male knight. No.

  7. Sir Michael Lord
    Is another white male knight. No.

  8. Richard Shepherd
    A solid member of the Tory Awkward Squad, and looks to be a reforming candidate too. His downside is that he's only planning to be speaker until the next election, and then stand down, which seems a bit of a waste of time to me. Maybe.

  9. Ann Widdecombe
    Here, I think Daddy Alex has it exactly right: A partisan bruiser with a reputation for being slightly unhinged isn’t the most obvious choice for Speaker... her record on reform is the most shameful of any of the potential Speakers, persistently voting in Parliament to prevent any of us finding out about MPs’ expenses. She’s also only standing to be Speaker until the end of this Parliament. What’s the point of that? Sounds to me like her USP is ‘vote for a media personality to get you through this mess while everyone’s glaring at you, then you can vote for the usual stitch-up in a year’s time when all the fuss has died down’. Her only plus point, AFAIK is that she's female, but anyone who doesn't understand WHY she was selected for a cameo in Doctor Who as a cheerleader for the evil politician character is probably a bit too dim. And that's without even going into her political beliefs, which I find abhorrent, or her voice, which is like fingernails down a blackboard. No, no, please Cthulhu, NO.

  10. Sir George Young
    Is another white male knight. No.
Grouchy ([syndicated profile] crust_of_the_grouch_feed) has done a very interesting illustration for this today, by the way. Go and look, and then add her to your reading lists. Go on, you know you want to. I for one, will never look at RHPS the same way again...

Anyway, regardless of my disappointment that Diane Abbott isn't standing (yes, I know, she's Labour) because a black woman speaker would send out a CLEAR message that parliament is ready to reform, I think my wishlist from the available options goes like this:
  1. Parmjit Dhanda
  2. John Bercow
  3. Richard Shepherd
  4. Margaret Beckett
  5. Sir Alan Beith
  6. Sir Patrick Cormack/Sir Alan Haselhurst/Sir Michael Lord/Sir George Young
  7. Ann Widdecombe
My prediction is that either Young or Beckett will get it, Shepherd has an outide chance, but I'm still hoping for Dhanda or Bercow as the least worst options.

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