Monday, 22 June 2009

John Bercow – Public Speaker

I remember occasional meetings with John Bercow ten years ago, when he was a eurosceptic speaker.

He was known then as a principled eurosceptic Thatcherite Tory, with a stoical resistance to traditional 'one nation' Tory pressures. I also learnt that he had a photographic memory, enabling him to quote freely from whatever, deliver forceful speeches without notes and confound opponents through his expert precision with words.

While an MP, Bercow also developed his media training business, which undoubtedly assisted the presentation skills of many fellow politicians over the years. He has also been used by the Labour government to report into facilities for children with communications difficulties.

John Bercow married in 2002. Since that time, his political views (with the possible exception of his euroscepticism) have been reported as progressively turning nearly 180 degrees. It is rumoured his wife is a Socialist.

I was always aware he was an ambitious MP, accepting junior Shadow Cabinet positions that appeared to override political reservations. But, while his political views have clearly changed over time, he has still been able to place personal principles above preferment, as with his resignation from the Shadow Cabinet over his party's support for Section 28.

His ambition to become Commons Speaker has progressed through a long campaign. It was probably sparked on first hearing the incomprehensible Glaswegian tones of Speaker Michael Martin expounding his knowledge of parliamentary procedures to the floor of the House.

The MSM, especially the BBC, consistently claims Bercow's frequent sneering from the backbenches, and his association with Labour MPs, has made him a hate figure among the whole of his party. Yet he wouldn't be where he is today if a good number of his party colleagues hadn't acknowledged the talents he has.

We await with interest to hear how Speaker Bercow's public-speaking skills are used to enhance the public interest.

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