This is John Bercow, Speaker to the House of Commons and a man anxious to prove he’s a now kind of guy. He famously and I thought rather churlishly refused to wear the traditional full-bottom wig when he was installed on the Speaker’s chair. I mean, even that old growler Ken Clark, now Secretary of State for Justice, if you please, was a good sport about the silk stockings and knee breeches. Anyway, Speaker Bercow is back in the news, for over-riding the Church of England’s favoured candidate for the post of chaplain to the Commons and appointing a black woman instead. Apparently he felt it would be too predictable to appoint a white, middle-aged male.
Now I’m neither an Anglican, nor a Member of Parliament, nor do I have any particular feminist or post-colonial axe to grind, but I do think Mr Bercow is the one who’s being predictable here, tokenism being the dish du jour. However, the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin is possibly a good choice. She has parishes in rough neighbourhoods of north-east London so she’ll be quite accustomed to partisan gangs and acts of thuggery.
She won’t be getting the free house that usually goes with the job, though. That’s being given to the guy who thought he was getting the job. Nice consolation prize. And maybe the Reverend Rose didn’t want it. Maybe she prefers to go home nights. Mind you, Westminster to Dalston is a bitch of a commute.
Meanwhile, in Coventry, the face of Christ on a drain pipe. Take your time.