Saturday, 11 February 2012
Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old Member of Parliament and 'The Beast from Bolsover' called Dennis Skinner
Dennis Skinner who has been Member of Parliament for Bolsover for the last 41 years and is 80 years old today is totally fearless and a wonderful example of what 'democracy' is all about :
Dennis questioning Prime Minister Cameron in May last year :
July last year, when he asked of the Prime Minister : "There is a raging inferno around the Government's head. When is dodgy Dave going to do the decent thing and resign?"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z0P8GB5Lxc&feature=related
What you possibly didn't know about Denis, that he :
* was born in Derbyshire, the third of nine children, the son of the coal miner and was educated at grammar school then worked as a miner himself from the age of 17 to 38 and joining the Labour Party in 1956 at the age of 24.
* was leader of the Derbyshire area of the National Union of Mineworkers between 1966and 1970 and studied at Ruskin College Oxford in 1967 before becoming an M.P. in 1970
and has held the seat ever since.
* has taken a liberal stance regarding social issues, voted in favour of adoption rights for same-sex couples and outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, taken a strongly 'pro-choice' stance on abortion.
* in 2003, voted against the Iraq War and later against his Government's policy to allow terror suspects to be detained without trial for 90 days and in 2007, voted against Government policy to renew the Trident Nuclear Missile System.
* usually sits on the first seat of the front bench below the gangway in the Commons, the 'Awkward Squad Bench' where rebel Labour Party MPs have traditionally sat, wearing in a distinctive tweed jacket, whilst most MPs wear suits and signature red tie.
* gained the sobriquet, 'the Beast of Bolsover' for falling foul of the procedures of Parliament, many of which are, in his view archaic and contemptible. In addition he refuses to :
* miss any sitting in the House of Commons, saying that "if you missed a shift at the pit, you would get the sack".
* adopt the pairing system to agree a 'mutual abstention' with a Conservative MP, saying he won't cover for them whilst they "go swanning off to Ascot or to their boardrooms".
* claim excessive expenses or take trips or holidays 'paid for' by others.
* eat alongside colleagues in the Commons dining room or drink in the bar.
Denis traditionally cracks jokes when 'The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod' summons the Members of the House of Commons to join the Monarch in the House of Lords to hear the 'Queen's Speech' outlining proposed Government legislation :
1987 : said, about the Queen and with reference to the 'tightening of belts' in the Britain : "Tell her to sell up!".
1991 : on arrival of Black Rod quipped, in reference to a lager beer advertising campaign : "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label".
1992 : said to Black Rod, referring to the Queen and referring to controversy over the monarchy exemption from taxation : "Tell her to pay her taxes".
1997 : shouted, in reference to Labour's election campaign slogan 'New Labour, New Britain' : "New Labour, New Black Rod".
2000 : shouted out, in reference to the Guardian newspaper campaign to repeal laws relating to the monarchy : "Tell her to read the Guardian!"
2001 : said to new Black Rod, Michael Willcocks : "You're nowt but a midget!!"
2006 : said, in reference to the portrayal by Helen Mirren of Elizabeth II in the film, 'The Queen' : "Have you got Helen Mirren on standby?"
Denis been suspended from Parliament on at least ten occasions, usually for 'unparliamentary language' when attacking opponents. His 'infractions' have included, in :
1992 : referring to the Minister of Agriculture John Gummer as "slimy" and a "wart".
1995 : accusing the Government of a "crooked deal" to sell off Britain's coal mines.
2005 : referring to the economic record of the Conservatives in the 1980's, making the remark : "The only thing that was growing then were the lines of coke in front of boy George and the rest of the Tories" : a reference to allegations of cocaine use by the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne.
2006 : accusing the Deputy Speaker of leniency towards remarks made by opposition frontbencher Theresa May : "because she's a Tory".
Denis' views about Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher and Myrl Streep as the 'Iron Lady' :