John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, is having a midlife crisis. Playboy for Parliamentarians has not asked him to pose in the nude for the centre spread of its Brexit issue. His wife, Sally in the Westminster Alley, has beaten him to the glossy world of soft porn with a nothing more than a bed sheet between her body and the Houses of Parliament.
Bercow is running short of the dizzy aphrodisiac of power that once made him so sexy that more women were trying to ‘hit on’ him. Now, perhaps, the only women trying to ‘hit on’ him are Dianne Abbott (who wants a woman complaining of a migraine?) and Harriet Harperson (perhaps because she wants a racy anecdote for the sequel to her book A Woman’s Work).
Some men facing a midlife crisis get a motorcycle. Other men get a divorce, a tattoo on the buttocks, or a punk haircut. Our Johnny gets morality. He orders it from his local Oxfam Morality Convenience Store. Convulsed by a fit of moral apoplexy the Speaker-turned-saint declares a ban on President Donald Trump for committing the twin mortal sins of ‘racism and sexism.’
Bercow will cast the Donald into the outer darkness of the House of Commons where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (and Baroness Shami Chakrabarti reading Das Kapital as penance for sending her son to Dulwich College).
Bercow’s new morality has a strict hierarchy of virtue and vice. In this new religion, racism and sexism are the unforgivable sins that condemn the sinner to hell. The sin of fleecing taxpayers by frittering away our hard-earned money—£7,000 on a sofa, £3,200 for a morning suit, and £5,200 for lunches with an archbishop and the Italian and German Speakers and hundreds of thousands of pounds on other ‘expenses’ features nowhere in Bercow’s Bible.
So let’s judge him by his own standards of morality. Mr Speaker’s raison d’être in the House of Commons is to be a voice of reason and restraint, so Bercow, in the glorious tradition of English understatement, undoubtedly chooses his words very carefully. In that case, surely he can define ‘racism’ and ‘sexism.’
Martin Luther King, Jr defined racism as a ‘doctrine of the congenital inferiority and worthlessness of a people.’ ‘In order to be a racist, you must first believe in the existence of biologically distinguishable groups or races. Second, you must rank these races in terms of superiority and inferiority. Third, you must hold these rankings to be intrinsic or innate. Finally, you typically seek to use them as the basis for discrimination, segregation, or the denial or rights extended to other human beings.’ This comprehensive definition by Indian-American writer and documentary-maker Dinesh D’Souza leaves little wiggle-room.
By this definition, Johnny Bercow would have to ban Winston Churchill from addressing the House of Commons for describing Indians as ‘a beastly people with a beastly religion.’ Bercow would also have to extend the ban to two of the Enlightenment’s greatest philosophers. ‘I am apt to suspect the Negroes, and in general all the other species of men, to be naturally inferior to the whites,’ wrote David Hume. ‘The Negroes of Africa have received from nature no intelligence that rises above the foolish,’ wrote Immanuel Kant.
Well, well, but that was when racism was culturally acceptable, Bercow might respond. So why did moral midget Bercow decide to invite India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the British Parliament in 2015?
Modi is a lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary Hindu nationalist organisation inspired by the fascist movements of Europe. It’s founder believed that Nazi Germany had manifested ‘race pride at its highest’ by purging the Jews. The RSS believes in the superiority of the Aryan race. When Hindus slaughtered Muslims in the 2002 riots, Modi described the relief camps housing thousands of Muslim refugees as ‘child-breeding centres.’
My dictionary defines sexism as prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.
By that definition, in June 2015 Modi made a sexist remark about Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. ‘I am happy to say that the prime minister of Bangladesh, despite being a woman, is saying boldly that she has zero tolerance toward terrorism,’ he told an audience at Dhaka University. Modi makes the alt-right and KKK look like new kids on the block. But Bercow embraced him like a long-lost brother.
When Bercow invited the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Al-Sabah to address MPs and peers in the Queen’s Robing Room in November 2012, why did he not stand his moral high ground and label the Emir ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’? Kuwait bans entry to anyone holding an Israeli passport, has a terrible record on women’s rights and aggressively cracks down on free speech. For insulting His Highness on Twitter, Huda al-Ajmi, a 37-year-old female teacher, was sentenced to 11 years in prison, receiving the longest known sentence for online dissent in Kuwait.
In the light of clear definitions, what evidence does Mr Bercow scrape together to conclude that President Trump is racist and sexist? Bercow can cling to the coattails of his guardian angel Owen Jones who only needs rhetoric and not logic when praising Bercow and rubbishing Trump in The Guardian. ‘His sexism and racism are objective facts. The sky is blue, the Earth is round, Trump is a racist and a sexist,’ writes Jones.
Does Trump believe that black neurosurgeon Ben Carson is congenitally inferior? Is that why he appointed Carson to lead the US Department of Housing and Urban Development? Trump’s remarks are boorish, crass, and impulsive. But you have to be paranoid to label him sexist or misogynist. Even his most infamous locker room prose is disgusting and vulgar, not sexist.
Wait! I just remembered Mrs Bercow’s comment. ‘Since John became Speaker the number of women who hit on him has gone up dramatically.’ Tut! Tut! Now isn’t that a sexist remark objectifying women?
As the mob of left-wing Pharisees and Sadducees led by Speaker Bercow drag the Donald to be stoned for his mortal sins of racism and sexism it would be good to remember those ancient words: ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.’
(Image: Morgan Davies)