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43,142.  This House [House of Commons] notes with sadness the 10th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks on 26th February 1994.  Records his assertion that his words would be a bullet in the heart of consumerism, capitalism and the American dream.  And mourns the passing of one of the few people who may be worthy of being mentioned as inclusion with Lenny Bruce in any list of unflinchingly and painfully politically honest political philosophers.  (House of Commons & Comedy & Compliment & Epitaph)  House of Commons Early Day Motion proposed by MP Stephen Pound

 

 

70,302.  I was jeered in House of Commons – disabled MP.  (Disability & House of Commons)  The Times headline 5th February 2011

 

 

38,824.  Honesty always gives you the advantage of surprise in the House of Commons.  (Government & House of Commons)  Yes, Prime Minister: The Tangled Web s2e8, Jim to Sir Humphrey, with Bernard

 

 

116,064.  I’ve got the largest majority in the House.  (Politics & House of Commons)  The New Statesman s1e1: Happiness is a Warm Gun, ITV 1987, B’stard arrives

 

 

128,953.  When I arrived in the House of Commons the speaker wouldn’t allow me to enter the chamber.  (Labour & House of Commons & Biography)   Tony Benn, Last Will & Testament ***** Youtube 1.31.36

 

 

128,988.  Having served for nearly half a century in the House of Commons, I now want more time to devote to politics and more freedom to do so.  Tony Benn, cited 28 June 1999

 

 

38,853.  I have neither eye to see, nor tongue to speak here, but as the House is pleased to direct me.  (Parliament & House of Commons)  William Lenthall, speaker House of Commons, asked by Charles I if he had seen five wanted MPs

 

 

38,857.  The duty of an Opposition [is] very simple ... to oppose everything, and propose nothing.  (Parliament & House of Commons)  Lord Derby, House of Commons 1841

 

 

38,858.  We would prefer to see the House run by a philistine with the requisite financial acumen than by a succession of opera and ballet lovers who have brought a great and valuable institution to its knees.  (Parliament & House of Commons)  Gerald Kaufman 1997

 

 

38,860.  Being an MP feeds your vanity and starves your self-respect.  (Parliament & House of Commons)  Matthew Parris, cited The Times 9th February 1994

 

 

38,861.  At the root of all these arguments is the notion that the political spring which waters society is parliament; that political measures, reformist or reactionary, all flow from parliament and therefore nothing can be done to emancipate labour unless parliament is won for Labour.  If Labour is elected, laws and measures flow from parliament which are friendly to labour.  If Labour loses, those laws and measures will be hostile to labour.  It follows that everything must be subordinated to securing a Labour government ...

 

Parliamentary politics are necessarily passive.  In order to achieve that vital parliamentary majority, politicians must forever preach passivity.  Any protest movement which mobilises people against their rulers disturbs the peaceful pace of the parliamentary reformers.  However much in theory they support a cause, they feel bound to confine it to a constitutional cage.  Strikes, the most effective weapons in the hands of the dispossessed, are anathema to the parliamentary socialist.  The same goes for demonstrations, agitations, even propaganda and thought.  The central principle of parliamentary activity is that change is most effectively brought by politicians from above.  Whether those politicians are in office or out of it, therefore, it is best for them if people who are not politicians keep quiet and lie down.  Paul Foot, The Case for Socialism chapter 6

 

38,862.  Since he was elected Tory MP for Tatton in 1983, he [Neil Hamilton] has rested the extreme Thatcherite right, constantly baiting true unionists, the unemployed and the dispossessed.  He flaunts the sterile wit and pervasive arrogance of all the Thatcherite Young Turks who grew rich and famous at the expense of others in the Golden Years of Private Enterprise.  Hamilton denies being paid £2,000 a time to ask questions, but he does not deny a sumptuous weekend in Paris at the expense of the ghastly old liar and cheat Fayed, the chairman of Harrods.  Dinner each night for the MP and his wife cost the Harrods boss £232.  How that figure must have delighted ‘scroungers’ in bed: breakfast accommodation so often mocked by Hamilton and his ilk.

 

The media have discovered something they call ‘parliamentary sleaze’.  Yet this is one [of] the most time honoured institutions of our mother of parliaments.  Many and varied are the ways in which corporate power in capitalist society cuts down all semblance of representative democracy in parliaments and local councils, but the most obvious of them all is buying the representatives.  If MPs are paid more by an ‘outside interest’ than by their constituents, then it follows that they will consider the interests of the corporation before those of their constituents.  The MP for Loamshire (£31,000 a year) prefers to be the MP for Blue Blooded Merchant Bank plc (£50,000 a year and rising).  Representation plays second fiddle to corporate public relations.  ibid.

 

 

17,010.  Since he was elected Tory MP for Tatton in 1983, he [Neil Hamilton] has rested the extreme Thatcherite right, constantly baiting true unionists, the unemployed and the dispossessed.  He flaunts the sterile wit and pervasive arrogance of all the Thatcherite Young Turks who grew rich and famous at the expense of others in the Golden Years of Private Enterprise.  Hamilton denies being paid £2,000 a time to ask questions, but he does not deny a sumptuous weekend in Paris at the expense of the ghastly old liar and cheat Fayed, the chairman of Harrods.  Dinner each night for the MP and his wife cost the Harrods boss £232.  How that figure must have delighted ‘scroungers’ in bed: breakfast accommodation so often mocked by Hamilton and his ilk.

 

The media have discovered something they call ‘parliamentary sleaze’.  Yet this is one the most time honoured institutions of our mother of parliaments.  Many and varied are the ways in which corporate power in capitalist society cuts down all semblance of representative democracy in parliaments and local councils, but the most obvious of them all is buying the representatives.  If MPs are paid more by an ‘outside interest’ than by their constituents, then it follows that they will consider the interests of the corporation before those of their constituents.  The MP for Loamshire (£31,000 a year) prefers to be the MP for Blue Blooded Merchant Bank plc (£50,000 a year and rising).  Representation plays second fiddle to corporate public relations.

 

Before 1975 MPs didn’t even have to declare which firms paid them.  The Poulson scandal of the late 1960s and 1970s revealed a clutch of MPs using questions, motions, dining rooms and debates to promote the interests of the corrupt architect.  One MP had to resign, and the Register of Interests was set up.  No one took much notice of it, even during the 1980s as the number of consultancies, directorships and perks showered on MPs, almost all of them Tory, rose to obscene levels.  One Tory MP was so bemused by the way in which his colleagues were growing rich that he actually advertised for a company to take him on as a consultant.  The private dining rooms of the House of Commons – why are there private dining rooms there anyway? – became a huge commercial undertaking whereby corporations offered their customers the best food and drink, all consumed in an intoxicating atmosphere of democracy.  How wonderful to drink a toast to the hierarchs of the Hanson Trust after a glamorous dinner in the ancient seat of parliament!

 

By the mid-1980s the buying of MPs had become a public and obvious scandal.  No one noticed.  On and on it went, with the blessing of both prime ministers.  Thatcher and Major both used 10 Downing Street as another watering hole to pour booze down the gullets of generous donors to the Tory Party:

 

If parliament was indeed composed of representatives there should be no ‘outside interests’ whatsoever, MPs should, get their salary and not a penny more.  Their perks and trips abroad should be ruthlessly wiped out, and their activities subjected to the most rigorous public scrutiny and disclosure.  That is what the new House of Commons Privileges Committee should recommend.  But since the committee consists of seven Tory MPs, all with business interests, sitting in secret, the chances of even the mildest restrictions on rampant sleaze are spectacularly low.  (Gangs: UK & Parliament & Bribery & Corruption & Capitalism & Business & House of Commons)  Paul Foot, article November 1994 ‘Parliamentary Privilege’

 

 

38,872.  Someone once said that Labour MPs go to parliament to change the world, and by the time they leave (for retirement or the House of Lords) the only noticeable change is in themselves.  That’s more than just a joke.  The effect of all the compromise, sell-out and humbug that is forced on the Labour Party in parliament is widespread demoralisation both among the MPs themselves and among the enthusiastic socialists who worked to get them there.

 

Just as the House of Lords is stuffed with Labour peers who once swore to abolish it, so the constituencies are full of people who joined the Labour Party for a ‘co-operative commonwealth’, as the old Labour slogan had it, but left it as they watched their heroes shoring up unco-operative capitalist chaos.  (Parliament & House of Commons)  Paul Foot, article 7th January 1982 ‘3 Letters to a Bennite’

 

 

38,868.  Members of Parliament: 29 have been accused of spouse abuse; 7 have been arrested for fraud; 9 have been accused of writing bad cheques; 17 have directly or indirectly gone bankrupt at least twice; 3 have done time for assault; 71 cannot get a credit card; 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges; 8 have been arrested for shop-lifting; 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits; 84 have been arrested for drink-driving in the last year.  (Parliament & House of Commons)  Andy Thomas, Alternative View II, unattributed figures from internet

 

 

38,889.  You see how this House of Commons has begun to verify all the ill prophecies that were made of it – low, vulgar, meddling with everything, assuming universal competency, and flattering every base passion – and sneering at everything noble, refined and truly national.  The direct tyranny will come on by and by, after it shall have gratified the multitude with the spoil and ruin of the old institutions of the land.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

 

38,890.  Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.  (also Parliament)  Oscar Wilde

 

 

38,898.  Only people who look dull ever get into the House of Commons, and only people who are dull succeed there.  Oscar Wilde

 

 

38,891.  Though we cannot out-vote them we will out-argue them.  Samuel Johnson, on practical value of House speeches

 

 

38,867.  And that is the wavering commons; for their love

Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them.

By so much fills their heart with deadly hate.  (Parliament & Common & House of Commons & Working Class)  William Shakespeare, Richard II II ii 129-130, Bagot to Bushy and Green

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