bercow took elocution lessons. he put conscious effort into constructing a public persona that escaped and obfuscated his class origins. as i said, it was a bit of a music hall act, and everyone went along with it because it was entertaining ... that is, until serial accusations of him being a bully to his office staff turned up. not so charming.
the speaker is a ceremonial role with zero actual clout. the current speaker, lindsay hoyle, is a working class guy too. but the speaker doesn't make budgets; the speaker doesn't devise policy; the speaker doesn't respond to covid pandemics; the speaker is essentially a court jester, there for colour and traditional flavour.
are you really making an argument that parliament and power in britain are 'inclusive' because the guy sitting in the chair shouting 'ORDAAAAH!' didn't go to oxford? yes, we realise, oxford doesn't have a monopoly on public speaking ability or rhetoric. brits can be pretty sardonic and witty without passing through the radcliffe camera.
the graph i posted earlier says it all: particularly in conservative governments, all the positions of power are overwhelmingly sourced from a tiny slice of the population. 60-90% privately educated cabinet ministers when the privately educated only compose about 5% of the population. that's insane. and the PM role itself is even worse: a single university! you almost wouldn't think that we have 20–30 venerable institutions that are all world-ranking (and which are equally capable of producing good public speakers).
The pathway isn't exactly as simple as debate union > downing street.
20 prime ministers have been to eton, one single tiny school from a giant populace. there have only been 56 prime ministers in the history of the modern united kingdom. let that sink in: almost half
of all prime ministers in history went to a single
school, which for most of its history only enrolled a few hundred students in total.
30 prime ministers went to oxford (and 14 at cambridge). that's the majority of all prime ministers of all time, going to two universities. 13 prime ministers went to christ church, oxford, a single college
. (christ church is known as the particularly 'aristo' and old money one where little lords get despatched to by mater and pater).
rishi sunak went to winchester, another equally prestigious school. winchester produces prime ministers too. the same school produced an old wykhamist prime minister in henry addington, viscount sidmouth ... who was prime minister in 1801
. these schools have had a stranglehold on british public life for centuries
. the pathway isn't 'exactly' thus, but it really is an extremely, extremely strong trend: expensive public school -> oxford, incl. participation in student politics -> SPADland/westminster. if there's a formula to becoming prime minister, that is surely the closest thing to a winning one. and it IS a bubble: those 'decades' in between are spent inside the same networks and same high politics. boarding school -> oxford quads and debating society -> work in westminster -> seat in the commons -> PM. it's basically the same hermetic environment and the same culture throughout (david cameron frequently phoned his oxford tutor, vernon bogdanor, for advice!).
the 'defense' from the union spokesman that its presidents go on to careers in many pursuits is classic nonaccountability. check the list of the presidents of the oxford union from mid-century to the present. there's an incredibly high preponderance of politicians. it is widely seen as a proof of political 'credibility'. the british party political machines keep an eye on bright young things from the oxford union et cetera. politically ambitious students go out of their way to secure positions at the union. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/a … -rees-mogg
'A nursery of the Commons’
i'm nonplussed about the claim that i 'resemble john bercow'. i don't recognise anything of myself in him. is he the only verbose englishman you've ever met, or something? call me will self next!
Last edited by uziq (2022-10-29 02:08:40)