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Benefits cuts pass first vote as Labour MPs rebel

The Welfare Reform and Work Bill passed its first reading in the House of Commons last night with a majority of 184, in spite of the Conservatives having only a 12 seat majority. It was helped on its way by Labour’s decision to abstain in the vote, although almost 50 MPs rebelled and voted against.

The bill, which will impose 12 billion of cuts in benefits and tax credits, including ending the work-related activity component of employment and support allowance for new claimants, has been the cause of bitter division in the Labour party.

Harriet Harman, acting leader, ordered MPs to abstain in the vote as a way of showing the public that Labour had learnt its lesson from two defeats, that people are in favour of cutting welfare.

The party had laid down a reasoned amendment to the bill which they knew could not succeed, as indeed it didn’t, losing by 308 votes to 208.

Harman’s strategy was to show by way of the amendment that Labour was not in favour of unfair cuts, but then prevent the party being portrayed as for ‘the shirkers not the workers’ by abstaining in the main vote.

The strategy quickly came unravelled as almost a quarter of her MPs defied the whip and voted against the bill. One rebellious MP, John McDonnell, told the Commons:

"I would swim through vomit to vote against this bill and listening to some of the nauseating speeches tonight I think we might have to.”

Other high profile rebels included leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn; London Mayor hopefuls Diane Abbott, Sadiq Khan and David Lammy; Work and Pensions Committee veteran Debbie Abrahams.

In contrast to Labour’s official stance, other opposition parties, including the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green MP, voted against the bill.

According to Labour List, the full list of MPs who voted against the bill is as follows:

Diane Abbott

Debbie Abrahams

David Anderson

Richard Burgon

Dawn Butler

Ann Clwyd

Jeremy Corbyn

Geraint Davies

Peter Dowd

Paul Flynn

Mary Glindon

Roger Godsiff

Helen Goodman

Margaret Greenwood

Louise Haigh

Carolyn Harris

Sue Hayman

Imran Hussain

Gerald Jones

Helen Jones

Sir Gerald Kaufman

Sadiq Khan

David Lammy

Ian Lavery

Clive Lewis

Rebecca Long Bailey

Andy McDonald

John McDonnell

Liz McInnes

Rob Marris

Rachael Maskell

Michael Meacher

Ian Mearns

Madeleine Moon

Grahame Morris

Kate Osamor

Teresa Pearce

Marie Rimmer

Paula Sherriff

Tulip Siddiq

Dennis Skinner

Cat Smith

Jo Stevens

Graham Stringer

David Winnick

Iain Wright

Daniel Zeichner

Kelvin Hopkins (Teller)

Comments  

#36 tintack 2015-08-19 00:46
The DWP has been caught making up stories from imaginary claimants saying how much being sanctioned helped them. "Sarah" says she was "really pleased" that being sanctioned forced her to complete her CV. No, really, don't laugh.

The Book of Jeremy was meant to be a parody, but the DWP has just turned verse 9 into reality! You couldn't make it up. Unless you're the DWP of course.
#35 tintack 2015-08-02 01:07
Hi Paul and tazman. Glad you liked it! When I wrote it on Wednesday evening I was fairly happy with it, but you can never quite tell how well humour will work. IDS' raging messiah complex was a gift though, and certainly too tempting a target to resist!
+1 #34 Paul Richards 2015-07-31 13:35
Hi tintack,
Very well done - these are the best posts you've ever written.
A lot of hard work and very intelligent good thought has gone into them - they certainly had us laughing!! :D
+1 #33 tazman 2015-07-31 11:40
Three words Tintack. Absolutely bloody brilliant.

Thank you so much.
+1 #32 tintack 2015-07-30 22:19
And the last bit:

13. So Jeremy exhorted them to remember the venerable prophets of old, such as St. Clement, and also St. Nye, who hailed from the land of the valleys to the west. And he reminded them too of their divine purpose, saying, "behold comrades, we have strayed from the path of righteousness. We must renounce our sinful ways and minister to the poor, and also to the lame and the sick. And we must drive the moneylenders from the temple."

14. Now many of the Labourites rejoiced when they heard Jeremy's sermon. But there remained among them a sect named the Blairites, who still worshipped the false prophet Anthony, and they spurned Jeremy's words of wisdom.

15. So the Blairites said, "no, we must continue to follow in the footsteps of Harriet the Gutless, who has led us with such skill and sound judgement. And we must emulate the example of King David and the prophet Iain by kicking the poor, and the lame and the sick also. For this is known as the centre ground. And we must continue to swell the coffers of the moneylenders. For is it not written in the Book of Shylock, "blessed be the moneylenders, for to those that have much shall a greater bounty be given"? And they also cast stones at Jeremy, and called his disciples morons. And they said many more wicked things.

16. So the people waited with bated breath to see if the Labourites would once more walk in the path of righteousness, and as they waited they heard glad tidings from the prophet Iain, who proclaimed that the genuinely needy "would be treated with the utmost kindness".

17. And much hollow laughter was heard across the land.
+1 #31 tintack 2015-07-30 22:17
The next bit:

7. But the prophet Iain was unrepentant, and he consulted with King David and Justin the Swindonite. And he consulted too with St. Gideon, the guardian of the palace coffers.

8. And so the prophet Iain decreed that henceforth it would be a sin to render help unto the lame and sick, for this would create a culture of dependency, and such was the work of the Devil. So the people were ordered to walk by on the other side in the name of righteousness.

9. And Iain exclaimed with great joy, "give thanks to the Lord, for we have enhanced their life chances! By making them poorer we make them richer! 'Tis a miracle! 'Tis unbelievable!"

10. And the people replied, "it certainly is".

11. Now when the tribe of the Labourites saw that King David ruled the people alone, they wailed in lamentation and rent their garments in woe, and many of them said that they would never rule the people again. For they believed that Nicola queen of the Picts, who ruled the mountainous lands to the north, had sent a madness upon her subjects, who had vented their fury upon the Labourites and slain all but one of their northern brethren.

12. But the Lord was moved to pity by their plight and looked kindly upon them. And so from out of the wilderness there appeared a humble sage named Jeremy the Corbynite, from the land of Islington. And though he was advanced in years and white of beard, Jeremy was a man of great knowledge and learning. For though he had oft been shunned by the elders of the tribe, yet he had remained faithful to the tribe's true calling.
+1 #30 tintack 2015-07-30 22:14
It's been a pretty rotten couple of months for all of us thanks to the election result and what has happened since then. I hope the following raises a chuckle or two and lifts some spirits. I'll have to split it into several posts, so here's the first bit:

There now follows a reading from the first chapter of the Book of Jeremy.


1. Now it came to pass at this time that David, the King of the Cameronites, ruled over the people. And he was much emboldened, for now he ruled alone, and had banished his officials led by Nicholas the Hallamite from the land of Sheffield.

2. So David charged the prophet Iain with the task of cutting the bounty which was granted to the poor. And Iain was a zealot who was exalted by many of his tribesmen, and he spake of visions which were beyond the wit of man to comprehend. And so he became the ruler of the Department of Toil and Woe.

3. Now Iain had a loyal servant named Esther who incurred the wrath of the people and was driven into exile in the land of Mersey. And Iain wept piteously for his fallen servant, and he swore revenge upon the people.

4. And so it was that Iain decreed that his disciple, the Swindonite Justin son of Tomlin, should replace Esther and minister to the needs of the lame and sick.

5. Now when the people heard that they were to be placed at the mercy of Justin the Swindonite they were sore afraid. For they knew that Justin was a servant of darkness, and they knew also that he was of no more use than a teapot that is fashioned from chocolate.

6. So the people undertook the arduous journey to the temple of the moneylenders. But when they tried to enter the inner sanctum, the temple guards barred their way and threw them without pity into the street. And so they wept many bitter tears.
+1 #29 tintack 2015-07-30 21:52
Quoting buster:
After miscalculating their own party members and supporters loathing of ideologically driven austerity, they have also foolishly committed political suicide in the process and at the same time have "left" the door wide open for Jeremy Corbyn; they only have themselves to blame.


More wisdom from McTernan:

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/07/john-mcternan-on-labour-leader-who-cares-about-the-grassroots/

There you have it in black and white: depose Corbyn if he wins, and who gives a toss what the grassroots members think? Marvellous. Hurrah for democracy.
#28 buster 2015-07-30 14:27
Hi all. Oddschecker now have Jeremy Corbyn as the bookies 6/4 favourite (1.5 to 1) to win the leadership contest; a few weeks ago Corbyn was 100/1. The Unite Union has just given its endorsement for backing Jeremy Corbyn in the contest, as have Unison already. It would seem the Jeremy Corbyn campaign is gathering an unstoppable momentum and is going from strength to strength.

I have persuaded 5 Labour supporter friends to pay £3 each and register with Labour; their intention is to vote for Corbyn as first choice and not back anybody as a second choice. They like me want an effective opposition to the Tories, an opposition that has a clear identity, message and objective, we believe only Corbyn offers this. They like me are almost resigned to the fact that Labour are going to be in opposition for quite some time, so, we really have nothing to loose by voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

The feeling is, only a Labour Party that truly represents the disadvantaged including the poor and disabled has genuine credibility and therefore has any chance of holding the government to account; Labour should not feel embarrassed by voting against a Welfare Bill that according to the IFS is going to result in a further 330,000 children living in poverty. Sadly, Burnham, Kendall and Cooper could not bring themselves to vote against the unfair and regressive Welfare Bill; in an instant, they failed the very people they proclaim to represent because they apparently care more about what George Osborne and the media might think.

After miscalculating their own party members and supporters loathing of ideologically driven austerity, they have also foolishly committed political suicide in the process and at the same time have "left" the door wide open for Jeremy Corbyn; they only have themselves to blame.
#27 Paul Richards 2015-07-29 21:38
Hi all,
As usual I find that I am in complete agreement with all of you!
What an absolute travesty though - today - news that two prisoners have been granted that their human rights were infringed (by the Supreme Court no less) because they were separated!
Tell that to the poor ESA people who have died (and their families also)
Meanwhile, Britain could be sending even more millions to deal with the (French!) migrants problem and Cameron is still on his one man crusade to make Britain look very good in all of the world's eyes. Meanwhile, a lot of his own population are suffering needlessly from such things as unecessary sanctions, the bedroom tax and having to go to foodbanks in order to survive.
Each member of the House of Lords receives £5000 per month and £300 for attending each of the days!
The right wing and biased Sky News, the BBC and much of the tabloids are continually crying out for Jeremy Corbyn's head to be put onto a stake (in a way of speaking!)
What a crazy way of running a country and if it does not change for the better soon I can see civil disorder occurring before too long.
+2 #26 tintack 2015-07-28 19:43
By the way, I think this quote from my previous post is particularly disturbing:

Quote:
Despite Labour’s vocal campaigning, people rarely wanted to talk about the bedroom tax unless they were directly affected. Instead, they wanted to know what Labour would do about the family down the street on benefits who’d ‘never done an honest day’s work in their life’ ”
There it is ladies and gentlemen, the triumph of the Thatcherite mentality. We want those undeserving scroungers clobbered (even though we've probably jumped to conclusions and actually don't know half as much about their circumstances as we think we do), and if that means having a government that sticks its boot on the throats of sick and disabled people, that's fine with us - as long as the government doesn't stick its boot on our throats of course. Because that would be unfair and outrageous. Obviously.

In other words, screw anyone else, I'm all right Jack. And apparently this is the "centre ground", which makes you wonder how extreme something has to be these days in order to qualify as right wing.
+3 #25 tazman 2015-07-28 18:55
As usual Tintack, a fantastic post! The last quote in particular made me cheer out loud. And I live on my own!!

Come on Jeremy.....
+3 #24 tintack 2015-07-28 17:19
Corbyn's policies involve challenging the most powerful and entrenched vested interests in this country, so sadly he will be traduced and derided relentlessly. You'd think the BBC might have had the sense to realise that they'd be a damn sight better off with him than the Tories though.

A report from Labour candidates on why they think they lost:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/28/labour-candidates-attack-predictable-out-of-touch-election-campaign

Here's a typical quote:

Quote:
We need to show how we improve the welfare system. We cannot simply defend a status quo that many people think is unfair.
And why do people think it's unfair? Because they've been duped by the Tory press and failed by a Labour party too timid to point out the truth.

This is a gem:

Quote:
We won’t win over hard-working people if we demonise the private sector in which so many people work.
There we go again, "hard- working people". They'll be talking about the need for a "long-term economic plan" next.

Quote:
Despite Labour’s vocal campaigning, people rarely wanted to talk about the bedroom tax unless they were directly affected. Instead, they wanted to know what Labour would do about the family down the street on benefits who’d ‘never done an honest day’s work in their life’ ”
So the answer is to pander to ill-informed prejudices rather than grow a pair and point out that they have no basis in reality? OK then. Or as someone in the comments section puts it:

Quote:
So rather than address these glaring and frankly despicable misconceptions, Labour should just present their collective arse to the ravening, fascistic, hard right press and continue to allow them to set the agenda in this toilet of a country? You lot deserved to lose if this is the sort of scum you field.
Spot on.
+3 #23 buster 2015-07-28 13:43
Quote:
John Rentoul, an arch Blairite if ever there was one, was asked on Newsnight if he was politically closer to Corbyn or Cameron. He didn't hesitate: his answer was Cameron (yet he still claims to want to have a Labour government in power).

So, he would rather have by far the most right wing government since at least the end of WW2 rather than a Corbyn-led Labour government. And they wonder why the Scots call them Red Tories! I was going to say that this is unbelievable, but sadly it's not even surprising.
I saw the newsnight interview, to be honest I wasn't surprised by Rentoul's preference for right winger David Cameron over Labour's Jeremy Corbyn. The Blairites aided and abetted by the mas media are running scared; it looks like their time is up, they have been rumbled and should prepare to leave the Labour party without further ado. On the same programme It was also noticeable how the BBC had trawled the archives back to 1883 to try and show Corbyn in a bad light, regarding his views on Northern Ireland. Arguably, history tells us many politicians from all sides also shared his views on Northern Ireland anyway - so he wasn't actually that radical.

It looks like from now on we are going to see a concerted onslaught against Corbyn orchestrated by the right wing political establishment, including of course the Tory Party, the BBC, SKY, ITV, 90% of the press and the entire current Labour shadow cabinet. These very organisations will be doing everything within their power to discredit Corbyn and prevent him from becoming Labour's democratically elected leader. If it looks like they are not going to succeed, they will probably call a halt to the whole proceedings by deliberately sabotaging the contest.

Buster
+3 #22 tintack 2015-07-28 00:27
John Rentoul, an arch Blairite if ever there was one, was asked on Newsnight if he was politically closer to Corbyn or Cameron. He didn't hesitate: his answer was Cameron (yet he still claims to want to have a Labour government in power).

So, he would rather have by far the most right wing government since at least the end of WW2 rather than a Corbyn-led Labour government. And they wonder why the Scots call them Red Tories! I was going to say that this is unbelievable, but sadly it's not even surprising.
+1 #21 tintack 2015-07-26 15:20
Quoting buster:
So, we hear today that Labour backbencher John Mann has called for the Labour leadership race to be halted because he is concerned people are joining and registering with Labour because they have left wing values and want to see Labour identify itself as a left wing party. Well John If Labour aren't going to accommodate these people's views then who is? What is so wrong about these people wanting Labour to be a left wing party? It seems to me that Blairites are panicking at the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn victory; after infiltrating Labour a couple of decades ago, their time is surely up and they should prepare themselves to move on - perhaps to the Tories. Sorry John, you might be entertaining when it comes to holding posh conservatives to account when it comes to eating Greggs hot pasties, but you are completely of touch on this one.

Buster


A party of the left advocating left wing values? Whoever heard of such a thing?

Mann appears to become more unhinged every time he opens his mouth. He's published a long letter on his website accusing Corbyn of looking the other way in regard to a child sex abuse scandal. Still, anything to avoid debating Corbyn on policy, eh John?

It's ironic that the Blairites are accusing Corbyn and his supporters of being like a petulant child for advocating left wing values when it's the Blairites who are threatening to take their bat and ball and leave if Corbyn wins. Stomping off in a tantrum, and even threatening a coup to topple Corbyn if he wins,- sounds pretty petulant to me.
+1 #20 buster 2015-07-26 12:44
So, we hear today that Labour backbencher John Mann has called for the Labour leadership race to be halted because he is concerned people are joining and registering with Labour because they have left wing values and want to see Labour identify itself as a left wing party. Well John If Labour aren't going to accommodate these people's views then who is? What is so wrong about these people wanting Labour to be a left wing party? It seems to me that Blairites are panicking at the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn victory; after infiltrating Labour a couple of decades ago, their time is surely up and they should prepare themselves to move on - perhaps to the Tories. Sorry John, you might be entertaining when it comes to holding posh conservatives to account when it comes to eating Greggs hot pasties, but you are completely of touch on this one.

Buster
+3 #19 tintack 2015-07-25 01:30
Quoting buster:
it seems to me, unless Jeremy Corbyn is elected as leader then we can prepare for a long hard decade of hard-line Conservative rule and a journey in to the unknown.


As you say, we're probably in for that whichever of those three options Labour takes, but at least Corbyn would make a concerted effort to challenge the Tory myths which currently shape what passes for political debate. The other three won't, either because they lack the guts, or even worse because they agree with them.

If Labour stay where they are they'll lose again unless something happens to move the electorate closer to them - not very likely. if they move to the right to attract Tory voters, claiming that they need to "occupy the centre ground", they have no chance. That "centre ground" is now so right wing that Labour couldn't go there without abandoning its founding principles. That would mean no opposition to the Tories' war on the poor, which in turn would mean that even more of their core vote would either not vote or bleed away to the SNP, UKIP and the Greens. This happened in May so it's already started.

That's where the Blairite argument falls down. The idea is to reach out to voters outside your base in order to put together a vote large enough to win. But this argument presupposes that you hold on to your base as you win others over. There's no point in a strategy which tries to win over Tory voters at the cost of sacrificing the base. Even if a lot of Tories were won over the loss of the base would still be fatal, and in any case. when people are given a choice between Tory and Tory-lite they tend to go for the real thing. A proper alternative which directly challenges the neoliberal consensus is essential, otherwise the social disorder you mentioned is a distinct possibility.
+3 #18 buster 2015-07-24 14:57
When one thinks about it; basically, Labour has a choice to make, which boils down to 3 options. They could move even more to the right but with absolutely no guarantee of gaining power in 2020; or they could move to the left but with absolutely no guarantee of gaining power in 2020. Or they could stay exactly the same but with a new leader and continue with the same policies and personnel that have just been rejected by the electorate, again, with absolutely no guarantee of gaining power in 2020.

I think regardless of which of the three choices they make; it is highly unlikely that they will win in 2020, meaning we can expect at least another 10 years of Tory rule. However, I hope and believe that by changing direction to the left, which would be my choice, at least Labour would present a clear identity to the electorate and with a clear sense of purpose with polices completely different to those of the Tories. It would also mean that millions of people who are finding times really hard at the moment because of disabilities, poverty pay or other inequalities would at least have some kind of political representation; without this political representation our government and state would lack political legitimacy, in my opinion, therefore, threatening democracy and social order.

Therefore, it seems to me, unless Jeremy Corbyn is elected as leader then we can prepare for a long hard decade of hard-line Conservative rule and a journey in to the unknown.

Buster
+2 #17 tintack 2015-07-24 02:18
Quoting Jim Allison:
Regretfully, my belief is that Harriet Harman, Labour's Deputy Leader and millionaire lawyer is as bad as Miliband, possibly worse.

Like the LibDems with only 8 MP's, Labour are as much in the political wilderness as LD's despite having 382 MP's.

Interesting times ahead :cry:


I believe Labour only have 232 MPs, and they may not have hit rock bottom. The Blairite call to "occupy the centre ground" sounds to me like a call to go whichever way the wind seems to be blowing, which is a recipe for a party with no direction or principles. Nor is the claim that elections are always won in the centre ground true. Labour won in 1945 on a ticket far more left wing than anything which had gone before. Similarly, Thatcher didn't win by "occupying the centre ground", she won on a right wing ticket well outside the prevailing "centre ground" of the time. More recently we've had Farage being willing to raise the issue of immigration. The result is that it's now near the top of the political agenda, whereas a few years ago no politician would go near it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of Farage or Thatcher, but the point still stands: the centre ground doesn't just magically shift on its own, it moves when it's challenged by something new and different. Sadly, Thatcher and Farage managed to shift it to the right, but if the centre ground can move to the right it should also be possible to move it to the left. It wouldn't be easy, especially with the right wing propaganda rags, but the SNP swept all before them on an anti-austerity manifesto and no amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth by their enemies in the press made any difference. As far as I can see, Corbyn is the only candidate who would offer something close to the SNP.

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