Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 June 2009


A Parliament of celebrities and a speaker of integrity

The feverish debate raging about the parliamentary pig-fest is having a curious effect on the chattering classes.

Tony Mulhearn, Merseyside

The problem is that the absence of a mass party of the working class, with authority to provide a home for disaffected voters, is producing all kinds of peculiar solutions to the chronic corruption of parliament.

A list of 'changes' is being peddled such as four-yearly parliaments and a reduction in the government's power. The idea of a parliament of celebrities, a sort of 'I'm a celebrity - get me in there' also appears to be gathering momentum. The current frontrunners are Joanna Lumley, fresh from her karate chop victory over Gordon on the Gurkha issue. She emerged from the fracas praising Gordon Brown's integrity. Obviously she is an outstanding judge of character.


The white-suited Martin Bell is coyly letting it be known that he wouldn't resist too much if he were dragged kicking and screaming back into the chamber. His qualifications are that he challenged and defeated a corrupt Tory in 1997 and agreed to serve one term which, to his credit, was an undertaking he stuck to.

The problem was that he sank without trace once in the Commons, and now, by his own admission, regrets giving up his seat. When asked on Question Time on 21 May what he thought would improve parliament, his response, "Bring back Betty Boothroyd", was telling. Ms Boothroyd, it will be recalled, was amongst the most enthusiastic of New Labour witch-hunters.

Fair enough, some celebs, such as Ken Loach, who last year spoke on a CNWP platform calling for a new mass party of the working class, make the occasional erudite observation. Ricky Tomlinson holds similar views. Unfortunately, celebrities like these are a rarity.

The Observer list of possible celebrity MPs contained Richard 'I don't believe it' Wilson. He could represent the grumpy old men. Tony Robinson, Baldrick from Blackadder, would no doubt produce many a cunning plan to solve the country's economic turmoil.

Then there's Anne Robinson, former scribbler for Robert Maxwell and cheerleader for former Labour leader Neil Kinnock's attack on the Liverpool 47. She could seek out socialist MPs who had somehow slid under the radar and entered parliament as a result of PR, and accusing them of being the weakest link, she would turf them out, as befell Dave Nellist in the 1990s.

New speaker

Linked to the claims fiasco is the departure of 'working-class' Speaker Martin. Who will be his replacement? The idea that MP for Birkenhead Frank Field, a man of so-called integrity and moral rectitude, should be the next speaker of the house is being assiduously cultivated by the media on Merseyside.

But what is the sainted Frank's stance on the major issues facing the mass of the working class? Apart from being very keen on coming down hard on 'scroungers' - benefit scroungers that is, not the scrounging bankers, his voting record on the big issues receives scant attention.

Here is a flavour of Frank's political views: he voted for introducing ID cards, foundation hospitals and student top-up fees; He voted very strongly for the Iraq war and very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war; He also voted very strongly for replacing Trident, but never voted on laws to stop climate change.

This is not to suggest that Frank is any worse than the rest of the Blair/Brown herd that has hijacked the Labour Party and turned it into a grotesque imitation of the Tory Party. But is this the record of an MP possessing moral rectitude?

To be fair to Frank, the Commons is unlikely to vote for him because he is way down the list when it comes to directorships and expenses claims. But history shows that sometimes right-wing ascetics are useful to the ruling class when it comes to defending and cleaning up their system.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 5 June 2009:

Action to defend union rights

Visteon pensioners battle on

Vauxhall jobs threat - unions must organise a fightback

Workplace news and analysis

Royal Mail sell-off - Time for action!

Fast news

Tube workers vote to strike

Bristol refuse workers strike

Battling against the blacklist

Glasgow care workers' success

Socialist Party election campaign

Prepare now for next election challenge

European elections: Putting forward a workers' alternative

A Question Time carve up

Challenge these disgraced MPs

A Parliament of celebrities and a speaker of integrity


Aston University socialists fight for student democracy

Sussex University: Save Linguistics campaign

Socialist youth conference and protest

Youth Fight for Jobs: Fortnight of action 27 June to 10 July

Socialist Party feature

NATO anniversary: 60 years of aggression and terror

Socialist Party review

The Frock-Coated Communist: the revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels

Marxist analysis: history

Tiananmen Square 1989: Counter-revolution crushes China's democracy movement


Home   |   The Socialist 5 June 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleLondon: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangleLondon demo: May Must GO! Protest the Queens Speech

triangleLondon: Cuts Cost Lives #ToriesOut national demonstration

triangleGeneral election: what you thought about it

triangleCorbyn could re-win Scotland with a socialist approach to independence

Tony Mulhearn:

triangleSupport for socialist programme in Labour Liverpool rally

triangleFight the cuts: Demand no-cuts council budgets

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments


Port Talbot

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle


Russian revolution

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'


Theresa May

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares



Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks


The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox



Shocking insight into Isis



Hugh Hefner's exploitation of women



Women's football - Sampson allegations



The Socialist Inbox



Interview: the "socialist John Le Carré"



Refreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward



New documentary asks women how their bodies are sexualised and policed



The Socialist inbox


Che Guevara

Intimate insight into a revolutionary icon



Bosses' pensions robbery

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice