More misinformation about Somerset!
Oh dear. The MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset is at it again. Ian Liddell Grainger has been misusing Parliamentary time to score points – again. It seems that his colleagues are mostly amused by these interventions. The MP takes time that is supposed to be devoted to asking for debates, and uses it to make points. There is always a relatively spurious request for a debate at the end of it. Just for the sake of good form.
Deputy Speaker Rosie Winterton knows what to expect. So just before he rose to speak, she asked MPs to make their requests for debate as brief as possible. This is what is known in Parliamentary jargon as “wishful thinking”.
Mr Liddell Grainger then waded in “With that in mind, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will just say to my right hon. Friend that, as he knows, there are two plans for local government reform in Somerset. One of them, from the districts, is an extremely good plan and it will restore our wonderful county back to its grandeur. The other one, from the county council, just does not cut the mustard and is rubbish. The panic now setting in with the management there is getting embarrassing. County staff have been told that they are not to allow difficult questions to the management or the councillors. This sort of desperate intimidation was used by the Vikings. We need a full debate to expose the county council’s tactics and the bullying it is up to. My right hon. Friend knows that King Alfred beat Guthrum and the Vikings retreated to Essex—obviously. Surely, no one in Somerset deserves such a fate.”
MP for North East Somerset, Jacob Rees Mogg then joined in “Somerset is the glory of our nation and a whole united Somerset would be of great advantage to the United Kingdom.“
Of course Mr Liddell Grainger prefers the District Council case. Nothing wrong with that. It is a perfectly reasonable business case. But whether the MP or his colleague from North East Somerset has read it (or the other one) appears less clear.
Suffice it to say, neither under One Somerset nor Stronger Somerset, will the old county of Somerset be reunited. The main reason for this is that two key ingredients will be missing. Both Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset, have committed to join the West of England Combined Authority, based around Bristol.
Stronger Somerset may be a fine plan.
It may be a grand plan.
It will not under any circumstances restore the former county of Somerset, because it will have two chunks of the old county missing.
However there is one saving grace. Unlike most of his recent contributions, this one was not riddled with schoolboy errors in history. Perhaps someone has allowed Mr Liddell Grainger to borrow their copy of Asser? We must be grateful for small blessings.