… two of my heroes in the UK parliament …

Ken Clarke – Getty image

This is an unusual post, for me, living as a European in the UK since many decades, loving the idiosyncratic country, yet having no political affiliation. That said, I want to express my thanks to the people who offer lightness and intelligence through these crazy Brexit times. Here – mainly to the politicians, men and women from various UK parties I respect and admire for their passion, sincerity, common sense and wit. In fairness, I should also name a number of politicians from the other side of the House of Commons, especially some amazing  women …

But I’ll limit myself to highlight two men whose passion, sincerity, wit, wisdom and imagination I value:

Kenneth Clarke – the Father of the house. Below, he typically clarifies his point of view in the House of Commons in … his speech from January 31st 2017

And here Kenneth Clarke on 13th July 2018 in an interview on Channel 4 re: the Brexit chaos.

Ken has been a Member of Parliament for almost five decades. As the longest serving MP, he talks to Krishnan about why Brexit is in such chaos, his long-standing Conservative views and why he thinks it’s important politicians talk honestly to the media.  Recorded: 4 July 2018.

John Bercow in session

The other person lightening up my days is …

John Bercow – chair of proceedings at Westminster MP – a British politician who has been the Speaker of the House of Commons since June 2009. Most famous for calling the house to ORDER.
In addition to the qualities of common sense and wit, he also provides comic relief and excellent entertainment value during these turbulent times.
In this video from recent procedures the Speaker takes points of order for one hour and seven minutes. A pivotal point in the play of powers, one might say. It’s clear that he absolutely loves his job. This session is well worth watching to the end.

Here John Bercow is sharing the passion for his job with students, the Speaker gives a talk to the Oxford Union

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “… two of my heroes in the UK parliament …

  1. I’ll concur about Kenneth Clarke… but not about John Bercow ;–)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob Leech

    Hi Ashen
    Ken Clarke…..our good friend, the late Aranth, had some dealings with him and gave him a high rating for intelligence and competence.
    Personally, it’s difficult for me to imagine ever voting Tory but there are fair-minded people and ideologue nutters in every walk of politics…and life. Ken’s definitely in the former category I would say. Don’t agree with him on everything but certainly feel he’s up for meaningful discussion and has a heart.
    Yes…decent cove!
    I’m off to South Africa tomorrow (Monday)….back in late May. All being well I’ should have pretty regular access to my email. Deliberately chose to leave before 29th March by the way. The claustrophobic jingoism….I’m more than happy to leave behind.
    Go well
    Rob

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well put, Rob. I like Ken because he has a reassuring integrity.
      Wishing you a good journey and a pleasant stay with your friends in SA …
      BTW, wondered if you managed to get the box with books to Z.?

      Like

      • Rob

        Thanks Ashen
        I saw Z last weekend and asked her if she could give me a date and time to deliver the books to her but she hasn’t come back. I think she barely has time to spit!
        But they are quite safe, warm and dry in Alim’s vestibule!
        Rob x

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hate the way in this country you have to vote for a party instead of the individual. What if the MP of your chosen party is incompetent and the candidate from the opposite party is efficient? I’m a lapsed Lib Dem I wouldn’t vote Conservative, but I have high esteem and regard for MP Rory Stewart (Penrith & Borders). A sensible, respectful, intelligent man.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Although I’m a green with a red stripe (and last voted Plaid Cymru), I’ve always respected Kenneth Clarke as a statesman and speaker. I find myself agreeing with some things he says – although far less than I did Tony Benn.

    John Bercow is in a different league, but his job is tough and demanding. He rises above the petty squabbles with a mix of humour, dignity and firmness. One of the best Speakers.

    I may be an ex-pat living in the US, but I try to follow things back in the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes I heartily agree. I could listen to John Bercow all day and Ken is always calm and dignified. I also find it a little calming to listen to Keir Starmer on the other side. True he always looks rather worried – and sure why wouldn’t he – but he is professional and clear in his stance and stands above many of the braying donkeys.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Ashen
    I have always appreciated your sense of fair and showing the ability to see good in difficult situations.
    It has become a national and international sport to be the first to critique and/or dismantle the many fine institutions we have come to respect.
    Whilst times change and some of those those very institutions have become less than worthwhile, it is also important that we hold them to account.
    That said; the easy course is to constantly bring down all and sundry. So to you I say thanks for stepping into the pit.B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, B. Authentic and balanced people are plenty, though the media, on the whole, gratifies a public desire for sensationalism and blame – the present collective psychological state, which individuals mirror.
      Anger is energy, a powerful force, which can potentially be used for good. But where creative channels for expressing anger are not made available, violence is inevitable, either against oneself and one’s body, or through acting out the anger towards others.
      Not an easy balance to find. I tend to swallow anger, with short depressive phases during which I transgress my self-imposed limits re: smoking roll-ups, or I drink that third glass of red wine I promised myself not to.

      Like

      • I fear the creative channels for expressing anger are becoming diluted ponds of political correctness. Your wise words should be heeded as the success of PC madness removes every last bastion of expression.
        My personal favourite channel is poetry. Not as anger but as beauty.
        Cheers Ashen. B

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome. 🙂 Wonder who the American counterparts would be…or could be, if we had any…

    Liked by 1 person

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