The essential badge of success for social climbers

The Speaker's new crest (complete with ladder and balls) is an example of a wider trend

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Never renowned for his modesty, Speaker John Bercow has outdone himself this week: unveiling not only his £22,000 official portrait, but also its £15,000 frame, which includes a new Bercow coat of arms. Above the motto "All Are Equal", the coat of arms depicts a ladder, four balls and a pair of curved 'seax' knives.

The ladder represents the Speaker's climb, from his humble beginnings as the son of a north London taxi driver to the political top-flight. The balls represent his love of tennis – a youth champ, he used to best David Cameron on the court regularly.

The Saxon knives denote Essex, where he was a student, while the rainbow colours and pink triangles on the scroll refer to his championing of LGBT rights.