This is the new coat-of-arms for John Bercow, Speaker for the House of Commons. Along with previous speakers dating back to Sir Thomas More in 1253, a new portrait which remains the property of the government, was also commissioned. Criticism has been levelled at these purchases because of the state of the economy and concerns about public spending but also because of their content.
However, I wonder if there isn’t more than a hint of snobbery aligned with the comments because John Bercow is the son of a North London cab driver and instead of attending one of the major public schools, he went to a comprehensive, and latterly gained a First Class Honours Degree from the University of Essex. As the Right Honourable John Bercow, MP, he has been Speaker of the House of Commons since June 2009.
Despite being called tacky and tasteless in certain circles, I like the broad representations of his coat-of-arms. The ladder shows his rise from humble beginnings; the golden balls (or roundels) his link with professional tennis and the scimitars from the County of Essex where he was at University. Then interspersing his motto are small pink triangles which represent his championing of LGBT rights (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). The Flag of Equality is represented by the rainbow curls on either side and then of course is the motto itself: All Are Equal.
Personally anyone who promotes the concept of equality gets my vote, and whilst I am aware that he has courted controversy over his years in politics his achievements have clearly been based on hard work and his own abilities. Given that the role of Speaker is one of the cornerstones of our democracy with an ancient lineage, I think this merits both a portrait and a coat-of-arms.