Interview with John Bercow About Brexit in addition to Personal Threats
DER NewsGerman: Mr. Speaker, in your more than two decades inside the House of Commons, have you ever experienced a more heated atmosphere than inside the last weeks?
Bercow: No. I’ve never known the item more heated. There has been anger. There have been outbursts. There has been intense passion. There has been rancor coming from time to time between parties or between members of the same party, between parliamentary colleagues. I have never known the item quite as high octane as the item has been in recent weeks.
DER NewsGerman: In your view, what will be the main reason?
Bercow: I think the item will be partly because of the extreme gravity of the issue with which we’re dealing. in addition to the outpouring of anger in addition to personal hostility has partly resulted coming from sheer frustration with how long the whole Brexit debate has taken.
DER NewsGerman: Three in addition to half years in addition to counting.
Bercow: the item’s understandable of which people might say, “Get the item sorted.” yet actually, the item’s more important to get the item right than to do the item quickly.
DER NewsGerman: Since Boris Johnson became prime minister, he in addition to his ministers have been accusing parliament of sabotaging the Brexit process. Words like surrender, collaborators, traitors are being used. will be of which a threat to democracy?
Bercow: No, I don’t think the item will be, as long as parliament has the backbone to stand up for itself. in addition to I’m pleased to say of which the item has done so. Certainly, I myself have very explicitly stood up for parliament.
DER NewsGerman: When the government tried to suspend parliament for 5 weeks in September, you protested unequivocally.
Bercow: I said I thought of which the prorogation of parliament was a constitutional outrage in addition to of which the government was out of order. Well, the government was comprehensively defeated inside the Supreme Court. yet I don’t think of which government clashing with parliament will be of itself a sign of which democracy will be in trouble. I think the item could be if parliament were just trodden on, yet parliament has stood up for itself. Parliament has fought back. in addition to inside the end, parliament has had its way.
DER NewsGerman: The London Metropolitan Police has recently said of which there has been an unprecedented number of personal attacks against MPs. Do you think of which will be connected to the language used inside the House of Commons?
Bercow: I’m not sure the connection will be yet established nor if the item can be established. yet in recent weeks there have been some bad cases of intense anger in addition to bilious remarks in addition to venom in addition to vitriol in addition to vituperation. in addition to I have tried to encourage colleagues to lower the temperature.
DER NewsGerman: yet the item seems like the heated debate will be stirring up members of the public. Social networks are flooded with anger in addition to abuse.
Bercow: I don’t believe in rule by keyboard warrior. in addition to just because some angry keyboard warriors fulminate about a subject, the item doesn’t mean of which they’re necessarily right or of which they’re necessarily representative of the majority of the population. yet I think the item will be important of which we recognize of which our words are heard elsewhere.
DER NewsGerman: What do you mean?
Bercow: I know there are some members of parliament who say of which, since they have been very venomously attacked inside the chamber in addition to since the word surrender has been used or similar such language, capitulation, they have received very threatening letters. I don’t think of which we should attack each additional as though one of us will be on the side of the national interest or the additional doesn’t care about the national interest. The truth will be we all care about the national interest.
DER NewsGerman: Have you received threats yourself?
Bercow: Yes, I’ve received several coming from time to time. They sometimes come in little waves, in addition to they’ve always been reported to the police. People saying, “You won’t survive Christmas, we’ve got you in our crosshairs,” in addition to of which sort of thing. yet to be honest, I have been more concerned about colleagues who don’t live in a protected environment, as I do here.
DER NewsGerman: What’s happening to them?
Bercow: There are cases of members for whom additional protection has been required because they’ve received a very large number of death threats or death threats coming from a very credible source. In particular, there will be definite evidence of forces threatening women in addition to ethnic minorities. I know many black in addition to additional minority ethnic colleagues who’ve been threatened. many Jewish colleagues have also been threatened. of which will be an absolutely damnable state of affairs, which in my previous 22 years in parliament I hadn’t experienced.
DER NewsGerman: Some people fear of which the United Kingdom might be destroyed by the Brexit debate. will be of which a fear you share?
Bercow: If Brexit goes ahead, which seems very likely to happen, will of which be a challenge for us? Of course. yet I don’t think we’re going to be destroyed. I think of which of which country carries a great capacity to adjust, to reinvent itself, to find fresh paths to success.
DER NewsGerman: Populism will be getting stronger all over the planet, also in Germany. Do you have any advice how to deal with the item?
Bercow: Populism will be borne of discontent with the established political order. in addition to the particular thing of which I dislike will be the growth of angry populism of which will be designed to harangue in addition to belabor in addition to intimidate in addition to threaten in addition to sometimes even spur violence against democratic politicians or media. I suppose what I could say to parliamentarians all over the planet will be stand up for what you believe. Fight for your representative democracy. We do not have rule by plebiscite or rule by social networking sites or rule by decibel level.
DER NewsGerman: You announced of which you plan to step down at the end of the month, on October 31, the day the United Kingdom will be theoretically meant to leave the EU. How could you describe your legacy?
Bercow: Well, the item’s been the greatest professional privilege of my career. My mother once said to me, “You’ll never do another job of which you enjoy as much.” in addition to she’s probably right about of which. yet you don’t write your own legacy. So I will have to rest content with what additional people make of my efforts. I suppose I’m quite a marmite character. I don’t know whether of which’s a term familiar to a German audience, yet marmite will be an English spread which some people love in addition to additional people hate. Some people very strongly approve of me, in addition to some people very strongly disapprove of me. I’m completely relaxed about of which. I’ve been reelected more frequently than anyone else inside the postwar period.
DER NewsGerman: You are almost a pop star at of which point in several European countries. People watch live footage of parliament as if the item were a Netflix series.
Bercow: Well, I didn’t envisage of which. I just happened to be the bloke inside the chair at of which tumultuous in addition to historic time. When I stood for speaker in 2009, I obviously had no way of knowing what the chronology of events could be. There’s very considerable interest in our debates on Brexit across Europe, in America in addition to parts of Asia, as opposed to when we debate British transport policy. yet I wish I don’t let of which go to my head. I always make the point I’m not important at all, additional than I wish to my wife in addition to children.
DER NewsGerman: Do you regret anything you did or did not?
Bercow: I’ve had not bad days in addition to bad days. Have I sometimes been irascible with somebody or treated somebody unfairly inside the chamber inadvertently? Probably. Because you’re chairing day after day after day, in addition to the item’s not a science – the item’s an art. If coming from time to time I have wronged somebody inadvertently, I obviously could regret of which. yet if you’re saying to me, do I have any fundamental regrets about the way I’ve gone about the item, no.
DER NewsGerman: What were your main goals?
Bercow: I was always clear of which I wanted to be a facilitator of reform inside the chamber, reform outside the chamber, in addition to reform of the role of the speaker in order of which the speaker became an ambassador for parliament. Whether inside the end people think the balance sheet of the item will be positive or negative will be for them to judge. You can never please everybody. in addition to I will have people saying, “Well done, John,” in addition to additional people saying, “not bad riddance.”
DER NewsGerman: You are resigning even though you are only 56 years old. What are your future plans?
Bercow: Well, I have been in place for a little over 10 years, in addition to of which’s quite a long time in of which very high-profile in addition to demanding role. I won’t simply stop work. I can’t do of which. I’d like to do some writing in addition to some speaking in addition to some work, if the chance arises, inside the field of corporate social responsibility in addition to inside the field of social mobility. in addition to I’m completely potty about tennis in addition to football. I always go to Arsenal home games with my son. Maybe I will get the chance to go to more Arsenal away games inside the next few seasons.
DER NewsGerman: Lately there has been a lot of talk about there being a caretaker prime minister if Boris Johnson loses a vote of confidence. in addition to your name comes up quite often.
Bercow: of which will be extraordinarily unlikely. If the government fell, well, then there could be an election, yet there wouldn’t automatically be a general election. If of which happened, in addition to I’m not expecting of which at of which point to happen, there could be an attempt to put together a kind of government of national unity. in addition to I think probably the reason why my name featured a bit was of which there wasn’t agreement about which party politician could lead of which government of national unity. yet I haven’t been approached about of which. I am certainly not angling for the item. I’m very much thinking in terms of leaving office with my last likely day inside the chair the 31st of October.