Monday, 11 September 2017

Labour's Bankrupt Brexit Rebels


















From time to time politics presents us with an acid test. Examples might be opposing wars based on dodgy dossiers, not taking more money off poor people, refusing to cheerlead the scapegoating of powerless populations, standing up against the marketisation of the NHS. You know the sort, a vitally important issue that comes down to very clear right and wrong sides. The Withdrawal Bill now going through the Commons are one of those issues. Not because it facilitates or stymies Brexit, but because it's an egregious power grab. It is a self-evident attempt by an authoritarian Prime Minister without authority to rule by fiat, to bypass Parliament and empower the government without check or scrutiny. We all know British democracy is flawed and frequently flaky, but this bill - if passed - makes matters substantially worse.

What a disgrace then to see the grotesque chaos of Labour MPs - Labour MPs - scuttling around the TV studios handing out feeble excuses for their refusal to oppose the government. Failing to defend the most basic democratic functions of Parliament finds them on the wrong side. And when you look at the list of names who plan on either abstaining or voting with the government a sorrier collection of entitled has beens is seldom seen. Caroline Flint is the most prominent because, after all, advertising one's moral and political bankruptcy should become a chance for publicity at all times. But you also have John Spellar, Frank Field, Graham Stringer, and Kate Hoey, names that are never going to be synonymous with 'principled' and names, shock horror, that have found themselves consistently on the wrong side.

For Caroline it's, you guessed it, all about the constituents. They voted to Leave and therefore she feels Labour should be looking to improve May's appeal bill instead of opposing it. Let's treat this argument with the due seriousness it deserves and classify it as a pile of disingenuous bobbins. Despite getting a deserved mugging by the electorate in June, May is hell bent on inflicting untold damage to the British economy and the livelihoods of its citizens. This, she reasons, will keep her career afloat and retain those voters who've abandoned UKIP to the yawning cynicism of racists and professional Islamophobes. As David Allen Green points out, contrary to the drivel of Caroline and co. the bill isn't really about Brexit. It makes no difference to seeing through of Article 50. It's a matter of how Brexit proceeds.

They know this, so why are they prepared to throw Parliamentary democracy under a bus? Throughout her career, Caroline has shown a mercenary streak. Any progressive or Labourish-sounding policies she's championed are window dressing to a rotten core of anti-working class politics. She is entirely comfortable screwing poor single mums, migrant workers, and did float the idea of throwing unemployed council tenants out of their homes. In short, an appalling human being not fit to sit in Parliament for the Tories let alone the Labour Party. Frank Field is little better with his one man crusade to abolish social security as we know it. Kate Hoey and John Spellar go without saying. What unites them all are not the "wrong ideas" that would melt in the light of reason, they're motivated by a desire to cling onto their seats. As stupid empiricists who fell for the fool argument that because Labour constituencies disproportionately voted for Brexit we were looking at a wipe out during the general election, it appears the actual result passed them by. They're doubling down on the right wing sub-UKIP idiocies because it's easier, and less risky, to pander and stir up backward politics. Their dismal opportunism is as simple and as venal as that.

11 comments:

Jonathan said...

I notice Phil that you don't mention Dennis Skinner or Kelvin Hopkins who both voted against this Bill. I'm sure their exclusion was an oversight on your part. Anyhow it's nice to see you waking up to the dangers, pity you weren't that bothered a couple of months ago.

Roger McCarthy said...

Dennis Skinner.

Anonymous said...

Explain Dennis Skinner then.

Mark Livingston said...

Caroline is amongst the most repellent of careerist Blairites who still infest our party, and her actions were totally in keeping with her past misdeeds. She has no principled interest in anything other than her own short-term political survival. Must admit, I'm surprised at Dennis though.

Mathias Alexander said...

They still look like a bunch of human resources managers.

Phil said...

It was entirely an oversight because I didn't know they were going to abstain.

Nevertheless, no excuses. They voted to erode parliamentary democracy and they should be condemned for doing so.

Anonymous said...

Skinner, along with the rest of the 7 who voted with the government, is a hard core "Labour Leaver" and everybody knows this.

This does not excuse their behaviour on this occasion, but at least it means they are consistent.

Flint abstaining, after grandstanding over WHAT HER CONSTITUENTS DEMANDED, merely makes her look less principled - and competent - than ever.

Anonymous said...

Skinner and Hopkins didnt abstain, they voted with the Tories.

Anyhow its a bit rich to bemoan a lack of principle in certain MP's when Labour has been virtually a principle free zone over Brexit since the referendum vote.

Steve

David Lindsay said...

"What would Ronnie Campbell do?" are words to live by. It would have been a tough call for a lot of us last night. But now, onwards in unity against this power grab by the Executive, and onwards in unity towards the Britain that will at last be possible outside the EU.

Mick said...

Dennis Skinner is his own man, no ifs, no buts, he is a conviction politician. He ploughs his own furrow much as Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn did in the Blairite Tory Lite era. He voted on a matter of principal, while others voted to hurt the UKlabour party. Dennis Skinner has never sat on the Labour benches, most people will never have realised that. He has been offered a Labour cabinet position in the past and has always turned it down. Saying he only wants to represent the electorate in Bolsover. With Dennis what you see is exactly what you get. If you ever get to meet him, he is a bluff no nonsense politician and the most charming and caring individual you will ever meet.

WorldbyStorm said...

I'd have a different position to Dennis Skinner on this (not least because I'm living x hundred miles to the west across the Irish Sea and lamentably there's much less concern about the situation on the island I'm on than there should be by some) but I do think that's a fair point Mick re his conviction and consistency. Unlike Skinner I'm no fan of Kate Hoey one bit (many years ago when in the WP in Dublin and leaving to go live in London it was recommended to me to contact her constituency organisation if I wanted to get involved in the BLP which I found telling) but I guess given her consistency too on this I'd accept it. But some of the others. :(