Did you know Michael Martin was voted into his Springburn constituency in 1979?
I wasn't even alive then but I did grow up next door to that constituency and it never struck me as the best place to go to spend my pocket money. I did play golf there once and was chased down the 18th by a group of angry neds. Thankfully Buckfast is an impediment to athleticism and I lived to tell the tale, it helped that we only had about 3 clubs each at our disposal too, lightening our load as we beat a hasty retreat.
Anyway, four wood wielding thugs is not Michael Martin's doing but I can't help a slight tinge of schadenfreude at the sight of a man clinging onto power, his fall from grace chiefly due to being seduced by the trappings of power very far removed from the red road flats of his constituency. A lot of people, myself included, will be thinking this has been a long time coming.
So will the frustrated and impatient MPs run The Speaker out of his position for the first time since Pitt the Younger was running around in shorts? I don't see it myself. Even if there were the same calls last year for the man to jump since he can't be pushed, the main reason Gordon Brown won't let him go is the by-election such an overdue eviction would throw up in Glasgow North East.
After 3 decades of power, Michael Martin has built up a majority of 10,134 (35.7%) over his nearest challengers (the SNP) but an even bigger majority of 13,507 (43.7%) was overturned in Glasgow East almost a year ago so this constituency would be well within the Nationalists' radar if it was to become vacant.
This is not to mention the fact that Labour would probably struggle to drum up a decent candidate at such short notice and also the Tories and Lib Dems did not stand against the Speaker in 2005 giving the SNP even more of a head start in a constituency where they have finished second since 1987.
A by-election would be a wonderful way to keep the political chattering classes chattering throughout the Summer but sadly it won't be happening. In allowing the Speaker to stay on with such reduced confidence in the man will add to the crushing weight of inertia at the heart of Westminster.
A General Election would be plan A, a clear out of the Speaker and the worst expenses offenders would be plan B but sadly we're too far down the pecking order to get anything other than Plan F, a Government and Parliament twisting in the breeze, lacking direction and thoroughly unable to lead.
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