Why should taxpayers pay for the vanity of the Bercows?

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 1 December 2011 in News
Francesca Preece asks why the Bercows are allowed to continue to make a mockery of the Commons

Speaker John Bercow has got tongues wagging after unveiling his coat of arms this week.

The specially-commissioned heraldry, featuring a ladder and tennis balls, cost £15,000 and has been put on a portrait, costing another £22,000.

It is obscene that the Speaker feels it is perfectly acceptable to spend £37,000 on a vanity crusade while the rest of the country feel the pinch.

While few could replicate the skills of those at the coat of arms, a £22,000 bill for a painting is however a needless expenditure.

How on earth does a portrait cost £22,000, a year’s salary for many? Sorry Brendan Kelly, you may be a dab hand with a paintbrush, but surely you could have done this cheaper. What about ‘state rates’?

With the level of talent we have on our shores in the various top art schools in the country why didn’t John let a talented young artist paint him instead? Or cough up for an affordable alternative himself?

My artistic grandmother could have commissioned a piece just for him for a fraction of the price! Or why not let me get my brush out at him? It wouldn’t be very flattering though, I assure you.

It wasn’t that long ago when Mr Bercow was charging the taxpayer £3,700 for two bespoke suits he wore to the recent Royal nuptials.

For someone who earns £130,000, he isn’t hard pushed to buy his own suit, surely. Most employees have to pay for their own uniforms, why is he any different?

All Are Equal, says his coat of arms. Didn’t he mean to quote Orwell? Some are more equal than others, eh?

Isn’t it about time the Speaker spoke for us all, not just the privileged few?

When he was sworn in, he vowed to get rid of the excesses and pomp and ceremony but nothing has really changed. In fact, his desire to do away with the gowns has led to a large bill for the taxpayer.

The public should not have to pay the price of his and his wife’s vanity. If John wants fancy suits, fancy portraits or fancy uniforms, he can pay for them himself. He can afford it. We can’t.

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