The largest online petition at Number 10 is, by a long way, a request that Gordon Brown resign. The party he leads is lying somewhere around 20%-25% popularity in the opinion polls which implies that 75%-80% of the population would prefer someone else run the country. That is means that for every labour supporter there are three or four opponents.
There are a number of reasons for this, from economic mismanagement to sleaze, and they have been blogged about and covered in news stories for months. The problem is that under the current British consititution (such as it is) we can't force him out except by a parliamentary vote of no confidence or until 5 years after the previous election. Since the Labour Party has a large absolute majority he can win any no confidence vote unless a large number of Labour MPs don't vote or vote against their government.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, the person who runs the legislature is also a manifestly unpopular failure. His job means he should be impartial or neutral with regard to the government and that he should defend parliament's privileges against the executive and their employees. He should also have the respect of his fellow MPs and the electorate. Michael Martin had lost the respect of many MPs and much of the electorate before yesterday's chaotic events. I think he lost a good 50% of the remaining supporters by his inability to speak coherently and by his apparent surprise at being on the receiving end of such criticism. Everything he said sounded like a man trying to play for time - report in the Autumn, no time for debate, up to the government to schedule...
The problem here is twofold. Firstly he appears to be a classic case of the Peter principle - a man promoted one or two ranks above his competence grade. He's been uninspiring in his ability to direct debate within the chamber and he seems to have been even worse at managing the various back office functions that he is responsible for. Secondly he seems to be a partisan hack instead of a neutral figure. He seems to owe his job to manoevers by labour party leaders (i.e. the government) and the Damien Green incident indicates that he in fact sees his job as being a part of the government (i.e. the executive branch) rather than a defender of Parliament's rights (the legislature) to criticize the government.
His recent behaviour in regard to expenses row has meant that even if he is in fact trying to be a neutral impartial figure he appears to the outside world to be a classic obfuscatory lying minister. It doesn't help his cause that he has a strong scottish accent. I have nothing against the North British (via my mother I have a certain amount of gaelic genes as it happens) but right now a scottish accent in an MP signals a labour MP. And given the number of scottish ministers it also signals someone who is part of Gordon Brown's cabinet. Which he isn't.
However he also managed yesterday to combine with the PM to do a classic bureacratic slopey-shoulders trick. The PM says its up to the Speaker to manage business in the house (which is correct in large part). The Speaker says it is up to the PM/government to schedule substantive debates (also correct). As a result when Douglas Carswell's gang of 1520+ request debate on a motion that the speaker resign both can point fingers at the other and say it is up to him to find time for it.
I think we may be coming to the point at which even these ZANU labour scum realize that the longer they cling to power the worse the fall is going to be. Does anyone seriously expect the UK economy to be in rosy cheeked form a year from now? Does anyone expect that voters are going to forget all the sleaze? certainly not when they'll be reminded of it by political adverts from their opponents. It could well be that ZANU labour loses the election so badly that they end up being the third party in parliament and possibly even the fourth party in England. The UK wants these people out and out now. If they don't leave voluntarily we may be looking at the Cromwell option for dissolving Parliament:
At 11 o'clock in the morning of 20 April 1653, Cromwell led a company of musketeers to Westminster. Having secured the approaches to the House, he addressed the Members, calmly at first, then with rising anger as he told them that their sitting was permanently at an end and they must leave.
And talking of which I do hope that Douglas Carswell or one of his fellows will quote Cromwell's words to parliament when he disolved the rump. I mean really he could have been DK or Guido talking about today's bunch of scumbags:
“...It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
“Ye sordid prostitutes, have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd; your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse the Augean Stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings, and which by God's help and the strength He has given me, I now come to do.
“I command ye, therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. You have sat here too long for the good you do. In the name of God, go!”
A version of Oliver Cromwell's speech dismissing Parliament 20 April 1653