A vignette from this afternoon's bizarre, almost surrealistic session in the House of Commons is only partially caught by the embedded video-clip. I watched the proceedings 'live', tearing myself away from the afternoon's activities of putting away garden decorations and furniture and sweeping the patio and other outside tiled areas in preparation for my departure from Spain tomorrow, alerted by the television on pretty high volume when it came time for Speaker Michael Martin to make his statement to the House. He was nervous. He was blustering. He was (as usual of late) querulous. The vignette I refer to above, however, came when Speaker Martin asked the Clerk of the House for legal guidance - the poor old buffer, Speaker Martin that is, is obviously a little hard of hearing and failed to understand immediately what the Clerk said, so Speaker Martin asked him to repeat his comments. Maybe I am reading too much into what happened next, but I don't think so - in any case it seemed to me that the Clerk irritatedly half-turned to speak to the Speaker again with a somewhat dismissive tone and gesture, before turning back to face forward. The whole 'body language' of this gesture seemd to scream at me that the poor Clerk was tired of having to defer to this nonentity and pretend that the Speaker is his nominal surperior and accordingly gave him the bare minimum of respect and deference.
This is what we have come to in the 'Mother of Parliaments' - procedural delaying tactics being used [by the Speaker, by the Government, you decide] to thwart the clear view of the House and what seems to be an overwhelming view (if you believe the media) in the country that people are totally 'fed up' (that's a euphemism given my self-imposed injunction against profanity in this blog) with our whole political class and their cheating and lying. I don't think there's too much time left for Parliament to sort itself out, lest the firestorm I wrote of a few days ago really takes hold. Britain is a pretty stable country politically, but I reckon there is a real danger that matters could spiral out of control, given the parlous state of the economy and the growing numbers of the unemployed, if our Government and Parliamentarians don't 'get a grip', and soon.