Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Great Speaker

Arthur Onslow, known as The Great Speaker, held that office from 1728 - 1761, the third member of his family to be Speaker. His speakership was distinguished by his great integrity in a corrupt and jobbing age, and his lasting achievement as Speaker was to assert the independence, authority, and impartiality of the post. Onslow saw his role to be the protection and defence of Parliament in the tradition established by the Glorious Revolution, and he insisted on the rigid and detailed observation of parliamentary forms and procedure, which he viewed as a protection to independent MPs. He considered that "the forms and proceedings as instituted by our ancestors operated as a check and control on the actions of ministers, and were in many instances a shelter and protection to the minority against the attempts of power".
It seems to me that recent events have proved that Labour's disdain for history and tradition and what they teach us leads to the sort of nightmare we are currently witnessing in Westminster (which is by no means over). This is a good example. Combine it with Tony Blair's disastrous tinkering with the constitution and the fact that the House of Commons is totally emasculated by our involvement in Europe, it is no wonder Parliament is in a mess.

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