London - Thought balloons mysteriously appeared over the heads of Members of Parliament last week in the House of Commons disrupting proceedings. Speaker Michael Martin was at a loss as to how to proceed as protocols are largely based on speaking, not thinking. His own thought balloon faded in and out during the proceedings with the word "Airmiles" most frequently visible.
Not surprising the text in the thought balloon of Gerald Howarth of Aldershot echoed Conservative party lines, "That Brown certainly goes on doesn't he", alternating with "Why can't we have female MP's like Sarah Palin here instead of these old cows?"
Barbara Follett of Stevenage appeared to be daydreaming most of the time when not reminding herself of her shopping list for Tesco.
Not surprisingly Sir Christopher Kelly, the standards watchdog, had his eye on the variation in sizes of the thought balloons and is reported to have been thinking 'Why can't they all be the same with a maximum word count?" In an interview later he said that while the appearance of the thought balloons remains a mystery he is all for them. "This is the kind of transparency in government that Britain needs!"
Tony Wright, chairman of the Commons Public Administration Committee agreed "Parliamentary privilege is about protecting unfettered thought."
Prime Minister Brown had little to offer when not speaking.
His thought balloon was a persistent "I will do better."