Bercow, Speaker, dunderhead
Dunderhead, 1st class

John Bercow MP and Speaker in the House of Commons, raised himself to the dizzying heights of dunderhead, plus half wit hypocrite, by unilaterally declaring President Trump Persona non grata, in the Palace of Westminster. Thus raising interest on social media, especially Twitter. The block on Trump came as a surprise to Lord Norman Fowler, speaker of the House of Lords, as he had not been consulted on the subject, which is the normal constitutional procedure on these occasions?

much like a performing dog on two legs

Indeed Bercow has made himself look foolish in the extreme. The first point is, the Speaker is supposedly apolitical, and traditionally remains neutral, so as to be above the politicking of the Commons. Another main point is that any comments about Foreign dignitaries visiting Westminster, especially with a view to speaking in Westminster Hall, is done after consulting with the Speaker of the House of Lords, in this instance, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister, Norman Fowler. Bercow got on his hind legs and spouted his gob off, much like a performing dog on two legs, in this case also doing the neat trick, of making himself look like a clown, from a down market Circus.

In the process the clown Bercow, has made Westminster, sound like a Circus.

Radio sounded better when it was the Wireless

The first Speaker of the House of Commons I knew about, was George Thomas, later ennobled to Lord Tonypandy. This was in the days when Parliament was only Broadcast on the Wireless, not Television. I found the Radio sounded better when it was the Wireless, I often caught Prime Minister’s Questions, while I was driving, certainly when Speaker Thomas called ‘Order, order’ one sat to attention, his voice had ‘Authority’.

House of Commons
UK Parliament, the House of Commons

From the beginning, dunderhead Bercow has had difficulties keeping the House in order, George Thomas had no such problems, he cut any disorder with a handful of well aimed words. The point being, one knew he could be deadly and he was not a person to be trifled. This made Speaker Thomas popular, he could easily have been unpopular, but George Thomas was consistent, so MPs knew their position, stay orderly and they would be fine. Step out of order and they would face the Speaker’s wrath, and he could devastate, indeed all Speakers can, they hold the keys to MPs being able to speak in the House, upset the Speaker and an MP has no voice in the House.

It is clear that dunderhead Bercow has never been able to convey that same authority. He has improved his performance in recent years, but even at his best Speaker Bercow, is a poor imitation of what a ‘good’ Speaker should be.

put himself in the dunderhead class

John Bercow has just put himself in the elite dunderhead class, and nailed some partisan political colours to the mast, he is the one out of order. Should he go, that is not a consideration of one miscalculation on his part, but it does cast a shadow on his ability to command enough respect, to stay longer than the nine years he has flagged, he would like to reside in the position of Speaker?

Bank of England Interest Rate

Bank of England
The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London
Pic courtesy of Bank of England

On the subject of dunderheads, Mark Carney at the Bank of England has, is placing himself in the running, as predicted, the BoE via the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) kept interest rates at 0.25%, utter madness. There is every opportunity by the Government to change savings and investment culture in UK, Bank deposits are too low.

Currently Sterling is languishing, a splendid situation for H.M. Treasury to signal to BoE that it is a good time to raise interest rates, as part of a wider strategy to increase savings in UK. This would have the effect of raising business investment, after all if people are saving, they want to see their hard earned do$h sweating hard, and where better, than being invested in hard working trade and commerce. Actually this is precisely what Macro Economic theory makes happen, hence why Japan after over 20 years of being in the doldrums of economic stagnation, still has high industrial output, high industrial investment, high employment and a trade surplus, supplying the Japanese Government with tax income to service the domestic budget deficit.

Lexus Honda cars
Japanese Luxury cars, many still made in Japan and exported.

the Japanese were obsessed with savings

Japan has slow growth, but Japan still has a vibrant economy, purely because from the 1950s right through to the 1990s, the Japanese were obsessed with savings, as a consequence, industry has the borrowing capacity, because the Banks have the liquid assets to lend to new and old Industries. The Japanese people themselves have high liquid assets, unlike UK they do not have a high percentage of their wealth tied up in housing.

All UK Governments since 1945 have been on a spending spree, but worse, have encouraged the British people to do a Viv Nicholson and ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’.

The point of this succession of Government policies, has been to prop up high street spending, with a view to stopping the next recession, it clearly fails. Recessions still happen, but worse, it has meant the Balance of Trade has run a continual deficit since the 1980s, hence all the British companies flogged off cheap to Foreign concerns.

The BoE follows Government Policy, but it is disconcerting that the most Political Governor of my recollection, has no concerns over British Industry, and UK future investment. The Monetary Policy Committee has given no signs it would like to see higher savings by the UK populace, it should, if only to make H.M.Treasury consider the better alternative. On that moot point I suspect Mark Carney and the majority of the MPC, will disagree, that is their prerogative, but they will be wrong.

HSBC Park Row Leeds
HSBC 1 of many high street banks who would lend more if people saved more

And as if to prove it, 8th February 2017, Sir Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor Financial Stability, Member of the MPC, gave a speech in Birmingham on the subject of Business investment. The speech is available online here. Sir John Cunliffe speech But makes sad reading, because it is full of what amounts to platitudes and doesn’t address the core problem, savings with which to lend to Business.

UK doesn’t need platitudes, it needs higher commercial investment, to reduce imports, increase business efficiency, raise productivity, and so increase the number of jobs. Sod the so called next recession, it will happen soon enough, what is more important is, that British Industry is in a position to fight it with better tools, namely Efficiency and Productivity. That ensures a shorter recession, and higher job numbers when we come out of it.

nor alas in his remit

For this it needs higher savings and less consumer spending, H.M Treasury are the people to make this happen, but putting up interest rates so that people can get a return on their savings would be a start, will this happen? Not any time soon, and the Bank of England under Mark Carney won’t make it happen, it’s not in his Politics, nor in the mindset of the MPC, nor alas in Governor Carney’s remit, which is the most important point.

line of trucks
How long do I need to bang on this theme, Efficiency is what pays our wages.

H.M Treasury is focused on #Brexit, and will not change savings policy, which is odd, considering, it is future investment, requiring a higher savings culture, that is part of what will make or break the outcomes of any #Brexit deal.

Author: John Ashtone

John Ashtone, aspiring author, on Politics, Economics and History, with a few dashes of humour thrown in for good measure. I currently live in Wakefield, just south of my Home City of Leeds, both are in West Yorkshire, England.

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