It's not what you wear.
I suppose the choice of the current occupant of the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons—Lindsay Hoyle—sorry, Sir Lindsay Hoyle was a natural choice following his rambunctious predecessor, John Bercow. A bit of calm, a little less grandstanding. Hoyle is a small ‘c’ Labour conservative who likes tradition. He was on the radio displaying his credentials as Mr Tradition this evening. Which is to say he decried the way our current crop of MPs use their mobile phones and laptops in the chamber. Perhaps he should ban them from doing so. Nevertheless, he for a traditionalist also permits male MPs to enter the chamber half naked (i.e. not wearing ties). If he wants to preside over a place full of scruffy, disinterested legislators that’s up to him. His claim that nobody seems interested in the business of the chamber is however laughable. It more often than not had fewer than a dozen members present at any given time. Most ’debates’ were unengaged, with the biggest question being whether you, as an insignificant backbencher would be called to speak after all the grandees had had their say and then buggered off until the ’summing ups.’
Now Speaker Hoyle is opposed to there being an elected second chamber, a la Gordon Brown’s suggestion that the House of Lords should be replaced with a slimmed down, elected chamber. He believes such a thing would challenge the primacy of the House of Commons. This is bollocks. The powers of such a new second chamber would be proscribed by law, and that would seriously contain any challenge to the primacy of the House of Commons—which is in effect the highest court in the land. Hoyle is the voice of the establishment in a way which Bercow wasn’t, which largely explains why Bercow wasn’t elevated as is the norm to the House of Lords. Hoyle seems content to assume that letting MPs’ sartorial standards decline is modernisation enough. This is the shallowest nod to ‘democratisation’ imaginable. The irony is that Hoyle likes to wear the robes of office himself. He wants respect. As the establishment’s chum, presumably.
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