(Please see UPDATE at end)
I wrote here a few weeks ago my general reaction to the fact that the good lady was considering putting herself forward as a candidate (an interim candidate, thank God[!], as she is to stand down at the next General Election). My earlier article was not a positive endorsement.
Since then, amazingly, her canditature has not been laughed out of contention and the final 'proof' I need that I now live in a world that has completely lost touch with reality is here - if he says it's the right outcome then for sure it's a complete nonsense! The 'evidence' of her perfomrance in a cod-reality show would be laughable if it were not so seriously stated; my recollection of that particular show is that whilst she, naturally enough, showed robust 'common sense' in a number of the episodes the overall impression was that she completely failed to understand the protagonists, and they her, as they were from two completely alien social environments; the whole premise of the programme was exploitative and even more than most reality shows was designed to highlight the bizarre nature of both parties. And in her case they succeeded! Although it was not a surprise in her case either.
Ms Ann Widdecombe has been on the 'reactionary' side of political argument for all of the time she has been in Parliament. Now people seem to think it a good idea that she be assigned the role of 'referee' there, albeit for a relatively brief period. Her campaign slogan that she has the "vulgar attributes" seems to be regarded by her as a positive characteristic, but I think translates in the vernacular to a recognition that she is likely to appeal to the electorate's (i.e. the real voters, not the actual electorate in this particular little 'stitch-up') baser and more 'reactionary' instincts. Hence, I suppose, her appeal in this particular quarter.
The only genuinely worthy candidate, Frank Field MP, is unfortunatley not standing, having effectively been black-balled by the present Labour government hierarchy - he's far too honest and impartial for their liking! Of the actual candidates, I'd have to say my personal favourite would be the LibDem Sir Alan Beith and failing him Conservative John Bercow, the current 'bookies favourite'.
The idea that we need an 'interim candidate', which is what Ms Ann Widdecombe aspires to be, is itself more than just an anachronism; all that will be achieved by selecting her is to postpone the selection of a 'real' Speaker for at most 11 or so months until the next election is over, whereas a Speaker needs already to be in place to preside over the newly-elected House of Commons. If they choose her it will be an abdication of responsibility - indicating even more forcefully than recent events in relation to the Government's poor management of the country and its economy , not to mention the scandal surrounding the unjustifiable expenses claims of MPs, that a General Election is already long overdue,
UPDATE: (Tuesday 16JUN09 08.37 BST) There's an excellent article here, with which I agree broadly; see also the link from there to this excellent analysis of the merit/demerits of each candidate.