Simon Carr: Celebrations then, but the real work starts now

Truth to tell, it is a triumph for him, the complete fruition of a long-term plan

Share
Related Topics

One funny thing – after the penultimate round of voting I developed a little view of what might happen and went round saying, “It’s Bercow. By 20 votes.” There was no evidence to support this. Others were saying with equal assurance it was mathematically impossible for Bercow to win. Tory optimists were talking up the “momentum” George Young was developing. No one knew anything.

But passing Nick Robinson talking to Michael Gove I said it to them as well. “It's Bercow, by 20 votes.”

An hour later, a gallery colleague came into the room and said confidentially: “It's Bercow by 20 votes.

Michael Gove says so.” We don't laugh enough these days, but that helped the deficit.

The Tories were looking pretty sick thinking about the 20 votes they’d all come to believe in suddenly.

Hell, it was Bercow - but by 50! Fifty!

The applause from Labour was immediate, loud, celebratory, and not a little malevolent. Nearly all of Beckett’s votes had gone to Bercow. The payroll vote had been deployed from one to the other – I dare say on Gordon’s direct instructions.

Harriet beamed – a little vindictively I thought – in the direction of the Gallery. Mary Creagh became quite dewy. The Prime Minister smiled (and that’s a sad event these days). Ed Balls nodded approvingly at another little dose of poison in the wells.

But for public consumption it was great gay abandon. They had done it!

He had done it! The Clean Break Candidate was in place. The Tories were trying to smile bravely – well, some were – and a small coterie of them were actually applauding. He is, after all, not entirely without friends in the party, but supporters are few and enemies are everywhere. That’s what makes it so delicious for Labour.

When the Speaker-elect said, “My first thoughts were of my –”

“Your pay!” heckled a Tory woman MP.

Oh! Low blow! But it’s true the pay and conditions do improve markedly for the Bercows. They'll be millionaires.

Well, good luck to them.

The more Labour applauded the more the Tories ground their teeth (they hate applause in the Commons).

The louder the applause – and the Lib Dems were doing it too – the stronger was the case for Bercow “representing the whole House”.

Bercow’s acceptance speech was (technical term) all right. It was the greatest moment in his professional career, he said. That would be true for anyone.

He stood there in the throne a little diminutively and savoured his triumph.

Truth to tell it is a triumph for him, the complete fruition of a long-term plan. Seven or eight years ago he first ventilated his ambition. And through two elections and many career mutations he has sure-footedly and deliberately gone step by step to his throne.

His behaviour seemed so egregiously false to some of us, but perfectly reasonable to others. But that’s another important thing in politics – given time you can believe anything you set your mind to believe.

Having said that, what was Gordon thinking when he ribbed him saying, “you said you were now going to put aside all your political views. Some of us thought you’d done that a long time ago.”

Bercow laughed. Labour laughed. I laughed. “Should he have said that?” I asked the Mirror. The Mirror laughed. Gordon, incidentally is looking worse.

Yesterday he was tripe-white, with sunken eyes and a thousand mile stare. His joke was funny because it was true. The man must be on the wrong edge of exhaustion. Cameron made a graceful, amusing speech. Etona floreat.

Bercow's campaign isn’t yet over.

He has to demonstrate his “complete impartiality”, if he is to avoid being ejected by the incoming Tories next year. There will also be the traditional tests to his authority in the House.

But very many Tories will like to remember the words of Bercow’s old hero, Enoch, when he warned of “the Tiber foaming with much blood”.

Equally though, Bercow will change, as people do when they achieve high office. And sometimes they change for the better (excuse the note of surprise in my voice).

That’s something to look forward to.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
The Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, has been dubbed ‘Bibi’s brain’  

Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire

Patrick Cockburn
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz