Have Labour taken a shuffle to the left? To listen to Prescott on the Today programme this morning, it would appear so.
I have been asked a dozen times today why I think Sally Bercow gave that interview yesterday.
In the little time I have to write this, here’s what I think:
I think it was a staged interview, managed by those in the shadows of the Labour party, and was a strategic measure in kicking off Labours new ‘class warfare’ campaign.
Who cares about Sally Bercow’s past? Do we really believe she was concerned that one of her one-night stands, from a booze fuelled liaison, sometime in her long ago past was going to surface and spill the beans? Really, do we? Would anyone be remotely interested? Was this really her motivation for the interview - concern that her effort in fighting an un-winnable Labour council seat in the midst of a Conservative heartland might be scuppered by a kiss-and-tell, long forgotten lothario?
I believe the interview was motivated by a desire to attack David Cameron for something he hasn’t done based on the new class-attack agenda - criticising him for the fact that he may one day consider sending his children to a private secondary school. Bear in mind his daughter is state educated and a long way off the secondary school stage.
Ironic, when you think that half of the Cabinet, including Straw, Balls, Darling, Harman, Jowell, etc were all privately educated and the other half privately educate their own children.
Should it matter whose children are educated where? No, it shouldn’t. Not a jot. However, after Sally Bercow’s interview yesterday it's all eyes on the register.
The remainder of the attack on David Cameron was purely personal, however, for the woman who claims to have been inspired by Tony Blair to join Labour, to then accuse David Cameron of spin kind of takes one's breath away.
The Bercow’s cannot distance themselves from the harm this interview has done.
Whilst in my constituency today, everyone I met, of whatever political persuasion, registered their distaste. People were disgusted. The office of Speaker is now as low as it can go.
How can we trust the man expected to set the standards in Parliament, the person who holds us to account, to have any sort of judgment when he obviously must have thought this interview was a good idea?
If Sally Bercow were married to a plumber from Putney and standing for a council seat no-one on the national political stage would be remotely interested in what she said, however, she isn’t. She is the Speaker’s wife and she and her children live in a Grace-and-Favour apartment within the Palace of Westminster.
She may have decided she had no interest in her husband’s constituency or the schools his constituents and voters send their children to. As the Speaker’s wife, however, she has standards to up-hold. Like it or not, it’s how it is.
We have seen what happens to Parliament when standards of behaviour are ignored or dismissed as irrelevant. God forbid we should ever end up there again.
Such a disregard for standards from within the Speaker’s apartment does not bode well for the future.
John Bercow has been supported all the way through his election as Speaker, despite the fact that he was supported almost entirely by Labour MPs, by his contituency Association
I hope they consider their option to recall him and his wife to explain this interview and consider fully their options.
When a new Parliament sits, we MPs, at a strategic moment, have the opportunity to shout ‘No’ when the motion to re-instate the Speaker is announced.
I reckon it’s going to be a fairly loud chorus.