We are living in one of the most insecure periods I have ever known. People don't know where to turn or even, quite literally, who to talk to. Perhaps it's naive to say, but you would think politicians would be a pillar of consistency in the lives of communities. A point of reference and support. Of course that's long been a myth, and last night's disgraceful performance from Labour in capitulating to Iain Duncan Smith's retroactive 'emergency' legislation proves the point. I'm sure he slept like a baby last night, in his father in law's ancestral million pound home, having got his way in rewriting both law and histroy. I'm sure those that fell foul of his malicious bungling, now denied any chance to get what they are owed, didn't. Some justice.
Not all the opposition disgraced themselves and you can find a list of those with the courage to vote with their conscience here. Notable by his absence on that list is Liam Byrne who seemed to spend much of the debate, that i could stomach to watch, staring into space; as if a colourful insect had caught his eye. Other opposition MP's spoke about how they found the proposals disgraceful, but, when faced with continued pro-workfare straw men from Mark Hoban, admitted they had no problem sanctioning people into poverty and despair. Not once did anyone ask of Hoban, McVey or IDS, what someone sanctioned was actually meant to do. In the minds of these nastyocrats, in the perpetual boarding school of their minds, a period of sanction is akin to sending Billy Bunter to the dunce's corner for scoffing too much tuck. Greedy people should know their place! Well it seems their place is to be denied the money they were rightfully owed by deign of law.
The point of the discussion wasn't to talk up the merits of workfare, I'm sorry, 'work experience', or talk down the lazy scum that can't be bothered to work for nowt. The point was to discuss the rights and wrongs of retroactively legislating to avoid the consequence of the government's hamfisted and malicious proposals. These only exist because IDS fucked up and, perhaps more pertinently, because he doesn't like having to apologise. What a magnanimous attitude to have as a millionaire living on the taxpayer in the lap of luxury.
Labour chose, in the main, to either abstain in favour of this legislation. Utter cowardice. Apparently the alternative - ie paying people their due - is worse than abstaining. How telling; that Labour agree that it would be inconvenient to compensate people nothing more than what they are legally owed; instead it is preferable to revise history and law to deny these people any justice. Not even an apology. IDS hasn't even said sorry he fucked up, of course he won't. Never mind that this is money that will go directly and immediately into the economy: those compensated will most likely have moved on and as such this will be a small windfall they will quickly enjoy (and why not!). So it will be spent where the likes of IDS, Hoban (silk cushions aside) and McVey don't spend: the economy.
On Saturday I attended the Bedroom Tax protest in Bristol where Bristol Labour MP Kerry Mcarthy spoke (mumbled rather, refusing to commit to repealing this awful stupid tax). Turns out she too abstained. I've sent her a tweet reminding her of the fact. Clearly it's all about the publicity for the likes of her, and right after she spoke she and her well heeled SPAD (I presume - she stood out like a sore thumb to be honest) left. Is this what we can expect going into the next election from our moribund opposition? What is the point of you?