This video of UK Member of Parliament John Bercow freaking out at a group of Scottish MPs for clapping is almost too British to exist:
"Show some respect" - SNP MPs told-off, on their first day in the Commons, for clappinghttp://bbc.in/1KzfTX3Posted by BBC News on Wednesday, May 27, 2015
"Clapgate," as I (and probably no one else) am calling it, happened on Wednesday, during the first session of the newly elected House of Commons on Wednesday. According to the BBC, MPs from the Scottish National Party (SNP) kept clapping for Angus Robertson, a member of the party leadership.
That apparently violates a longstanding, albeit occasionally violated, prohibition on clapping in Parliament. "You can wave your order papers, shout until you are purple in the face, hurl abuse across the Chamber, [or] join in with frankly weird displays of mass groaning," the BBC's Brian Wheeler explains — just not clap. The reasoning, per a 1998 British government report, is that clapping can lead to a speech "being judged not by its content but by the relative length of the ovation at the end."
That's why Bercow, a longtime Conservative MP who has been the speaker of the House of Commons since 2009, was very cross with the Scots.
"The convention that we don't clap in this chamber is very, very, very long-established and widely respected. And it would be appreciated if members would show some respect for that convention," Bercow said, in the tone one uses when speaking to a crew of unruly kindergarteners during nap time.
This actually reflects a bit of tension in the new UK Parliament. The SNP is an ascendant left-wing party that openly advocates Scottish independence from the UK. It won an unprecedented string of victories in the UK election several weeks ago, going from just six seats in Parliament to 56.
While the SNP's success seriously weakened Labour, the Conservative party's main rival for power, there was no love lost between the SNP and the Tories going into Parliament. But even in the worst Tory nightmares, they never could have anticipated the true horror of an SNP victory: applause (gasp!) in Parliament.