If you pay attention to international news, you may have seen an obstreperous man bellowing “Orrr -DAH” and calling elected Parliamentarians “boy” in recent days. The Speaker of the House of Commons is charged with keeping the integrity of the Mother of Parliaments, holding to normal procedure, and fair play. He is supposed to renounce his personal politics. Right now the role is occupied by John Bercow, a bumptious, self-adoring partisan and go-for-broke Remainer who picks up and dispenses with traditions whenever it suits his agenda of derailing Brexit. Bercow has been accused of serial sexual harassment, but Remainer MPs have said that they would not investigate or try to remove him, explaining, “the most difficult decision we’ve made for hundreds of years trumps bad behavior.” In other words, he was loved precisely for his political usefulness.
He is also a classic example of a liberal wrecker, as opposed to a radical revolutionary. I like radicals because they’re honest and pure. They try to conquer the institution from the outside; scale its walls, pull it down. A liberal wrecker embeds himself in the heart of the institution; he pretends to be in sympathy with it, takes power and then slowly dismantles it, piece by piece. Usually in the name of saving it from itself.
The wrecker is a snob and a narcissist. He wants all the respectability and authority that comes from the institution and its history, but he also wants to remake it in his own image – so that future generations will see not the tradition, but the lingering impression of his own ideals. What he doesn’t realise is that age and continuity are the great ballasts to institutions; the moment he pulls them down, the institution collapses around his head.
Behind a paywall — but maybe you’re like me and addicted to Brexit news.