L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

19 May 2009 Blog Home : May 2009 : Permalink

Ding Dong The Speaker's Gone!

OK so Gorbals Mick is out and a month from now we'll have a new Speaker of the House of Commons. Although technically speaking he resigned, I think it is fair to say that this makes him second after Sir John Trevor in 1695 to be removed from office even though the Wapping Liar disagrees. Sir John was thrown out for taking bribes, Michael Martin quit because hetried and failed to hide how other MPs were taking liberties with government money.

As an aside, I find it interesting to note that the BBC (and other) bios of him call him a former sheet metal worker. He is 64 years old and has been an MP for 30 of them. That means he became an MP at age 34. He was also, the BBC notes, a trades union organizer. Apparently he left school at 15 (Wikipedia) so he worked as a sheet metal worker for a maximum of 19 years and Wikipedia informs us that:

He later worked in the Rolls-Royce plant at Hillington, and was an Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union shop steward from 1970 to 1974. In 1973, Martin was elected as a Labour councillor on Glasgow Corporation, a position he retained until he was elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. He also served as a trade union organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) between 1976 and 1979.

It would I think be more accurate to say that he was a professional politician after spending about 10 years in his late teens and early twenties actually working for a living.

It is also not really worth worrying about whether we've been harsh on the poor working-class chappie. He's not exactly going to be starving as he'll be getting a very nice index linked pension, which starts at somewhere around £100,000* a year, until he shuffles off this mortal coil. To put this in perspective the state pension for a couple is £152.30 a week = £7,920 a year or roughly 8% of Martin's pension. One wonders how many pensioners in his constituency have to live on the latter ...

*pension is half MPs salary plus half speaker's salary i.e. £102578.5 = (£141866 +£63291)/2