Well today is by-election day. Remember, way back in the mists of time, well May, wasn’t it, when the Speaker resigned because the Commons had lost confidence in him... the first time for three hundred years... because he had been fiddling his expenses and encouraging an atmosphere where others could do the same?
It took a long time and much backbench muttering but eventually the party leaders, led by Nick Clegg, turned on him, he was disgraced and he had to go.
So very quietly they sent him packing to the Lords, where there was much muttering about him bringing Their Lordships’ House into disrepute, but where in reality, there are so many other thieving old gits that another one won’t be noticed. And they did nothing about replacing the man in the Commons, on the basis presumably that they didn't have enough volunteers to fill in all the Mickey Souris and Donald Canard postal votes.
Well, today, having seen (I read somewhere) an increase of 4,000 applications for said postal votes, Glasgow North East goes to the polls. After 70 odd years of Labour domination, it is one of the most deprived areas of Scotland, indeed of Europe.
It comes at the bottom in just about every single possible indicator, as you can see from this information copied from Mr Burton's excellent The Universality of Cheese blog.
School leavers with no qualifications - 300 per cent higher than the Scottish average.
Teenage pregnancies – 60 per cent higher
Deaths from lung cancer – 94 per cent higher
Heart disease – 40 per cent higher
Folk on income support – 130 per cent higher than the national average
Unemployment rate – 140 per cent higher.
Looking at the photograph above, it makes you wonder, when you consider that, until May of this year, the most powerful commoner in the land, The Speaker of Her Majesty's House of Commons was their MP. There is no doubt at all in my mind that he could have got things done. When he spoke people listened. He wasn't just a little unimportant MP that civil servants treated with disdain. He was MR SPEAKER. No one wanted to be on the wrong side of him. If he asked, he got.
Instead he used his huge power and influence to line his nest, and that of his taxi loving wife and of his children and grandchildren. He claimed expenses that he had no right to and he used his enormous power to block investigations into all MPs' expenses, including spending vast amounts of taxpayers' money to ensure that taxpayers would remain in the dark about MPs' tastes for all that is expensive.
He misused the power that he could have used to make life better for people in his constituency.
Today the voters of this benighted place go to the polls.... and in all probablility they will vote Labour, because, after 70 years of there being a Labour MP in that area, they still think that Labour is the party for people like them.... Oh well....
There are some more photographs here. This is Labour’s legacy.