Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Toast, and tripping over words

I'm not sure I entirely buy into the conventional wisdom of the hour that Michael Martin is definitely toast. Aster all, how many times did excitable journalists say the same about John Major in the mid-1990s, only to see him somehow limp on? The fact that nobody seems to have yet divined the way in which a sitting Speaker can be removed without the acquiescence of the government is quite a significant factor.

I may not be a Michael Martin fan, but one thing that has been deeply distasteful in the coverage of yesterday's extraordinary events is the focus on the Speaker's difficulty in reading out his prepared text. I don't know if the likes of Michael Crick and Tom Bradby simply hadn't noticed, but Martin has consistently struggled in that area since the day he took on the job in late 2000. If it hasn't been deemed worthy of comment on the television news any day in the last eight-and-a-half years, it seems somewhat gratuitous to suddenly drive the point home on the day he is fighting for his political life.

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