For once, I am in total agreement with Nigel Farage: the best way for Sally Bercow to
help her husband is to take a vow of silence. Her recent Cleopatra act diverted attention from the persistent indignity of parliament’s relationship with IPSA, but it has
done little to raise the diminutive Speaker’s diminutive reputation.
Flushed with embarrassment, Mrs Bercow spent most of Friday afternoon insisting that the Evening Standard had distorted her. She went into yummy mummy mode, confiding to Twitter that she was baking
cakes for her son’s lunch box – nice rather than naughty. She gave no immediate explanation for posing in a sheet; but who doesn’t loiter semi-naked at the window and leer
out of it like a cross between Rapunzel and Emma Bovary? I know I do. ‘A storm in a bedsheet,’ she said on Radio 5 later that day – an unfortunate turn of phrase given her
But she wasn’t misrepresented. The full-length interview with ES magazine is as bawdy as Lesley Philips. Literally in fact: the ding-dong of Big Ben titillates Mrs Bercow on the hour, every
hour. Made-up as a crème anglaise and bearing her décolletage to the world, Mrs Bercow tried to evoke the Just-Jaggered Carla Bruni of yesteryear. The Bercows
have become a sex symbol, she gasped. Her husband’s sudden eminence is a riveting aphrodisiac and it’s giving her fever. Mrs Bercow now finds sex in everything. Fabrics
bite her skin a little tighter, puddings have assumed a wanton aspect, and even the view from Westminster leaves her yearning for the vastness of the night.
The interview was so bizarre, I wondered if she’d been boozing again. Personally, methinks the lady doth protest too much, and we know that, by his own confession, Speaker Bercow is not a
happy man. And with good reason: Westminster is governed by the rules of the playground and he gets a right ribbing. It’s excruciating, not least because he must see that the Bercows are more
Hancock and Jacques than Burton and Taylor.
Besides, he is universally loathed. The Tories mistrust his turncoat tendencies and everybody else is enraged at his sanctimonious interference in Commons business. The House’s
baleful relationship with the egregious IPSA is another point of contention: MPs believe he should be striving further to represent their interests and most find his failure to do so galling. In
consequence, many are now less inclined to suffer his personal shortcomings, seeing him merely as, in the words of one easy-going MP, “just a bundle of preening self-importance."
Humility and dignified authority are essential for a Speaker, and neither comes naturally to Bercow. Murmured plotting abounds.
It’s trite to the point of idiocy to say that Sally Bercow’s errant forays into the public eye increase the likelihood of Bercow’s fall, but she certainly damages him. I would
suggest a course of cold showers, but God knows what a turn in the bathroom might inspire.