There is a fiction that parliamentary sketch writers like to peddle…that the British House of Commons is at it’s best when it ita speaking with one voice on a great national issue.
Simon Hoggart and others are unlikely today that tomorrow on the debate in the Commons today on the issue of Tributes to Margaret Thatcher.
Neceassarily at a time of death , there is a conventional decency. David Cameron and Ed Miliband spoke well in the conventional manner of politicians whose speeches have been written for them by experts. The Tory speeches verde from emotional (Tony Baldry)…sycophantic (some woman from Epping Forest) to a sideswipe at the Coalition (Christopher Chope)
On the Labour benches…and not all turned up…Frank Field was effusive in the way that cross-party politics is supposed to be. Gisela Stuart was the epitome of New Labour and the very worst of party’s-party politics.
But the besof speeches were by Glenda Jackson, Michael Meacher and David Winnick who were not prepared to sacrifice their integrity to be nice about Thatcher. Indeed all this integrity led the pompous Tony Baldry to make a point of order to the Speaker as clearly Labour people were not playing nice…breaking established convention.
So full marks to the Speaker for slapping him down and pointing out it was a parliamentary debate.
Increasingly it looks like the funeral and it’s cost might become an issue. At a time odd austerity the funeral costs (£8 million ) of a multi millionaire party politician is being met by the Taxpayer.
And just three weeks before English Council Elections, this is effectively a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party.