A mad, muscular Sally Bercow cavorts on the Commons chair, diminutive husband on her knee, his features impish. With a few scratches of the nib, the Independent’s merciless Dan Brown, in his cover design for this biography, passes judgment more viciously than Bobby Friedman manages over the next 250 often unexciting pages. The book is not entirely without merit. It is earnest in the manner of a schoolgirl’s essay. There are not too many spelling mistakes. The author has plainly made scores of telephone calls to old acquaintances of the man we must now, revoltingly, call Mr Speaker. Friedman deserves a B-plus for effort. His book is not, however, as vivid as it should have been, given the preening, sycophantic, short-tempered grotesque it has for a subject.