Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Whipped to abstain???

Today Labour MPs were whipped to abstain on legislation being rushed through Parliament to let the Government off the hook of repaying those whose benefits have been unlawfully docked because they wouldn't participate in the pointless, pernicious workfare scheme (http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=2296).

Whipped to abstain???

It sounds like the latest literary offering from the author of some dubious soft porn (fifty shades of Progress?), but apart from that, really, what does it mean?

Was it so vitally important that "Her Majesty's Opposition" failed to oppose (whilst of course not supporting) this disgraceful Government action that our MPs had to be instructed to sit on their hands?

Perhaps this was the perfect expression of the bankrupt politics of the Blairite "Third Way" (to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its defining achievement?) - we shall neither join the attack on the poor, nor shall we defend them (except that if we won't defend those who are vulnerable then of course we do line up with those attacking them).

I really do understand why this pathetic display of cowardice and stupidity from Mr Ed and his shadow cabinet of fools could drive good people to consider the invitation from Ken Loach to contemplate forming a new left political party (http://leftunity.org/appeal/).

There were, however, 40 Labour rebels who voted as any Labour MP should have (http://labourlist.org/2013/03/labours-40-welfare-sanctions-rebels/).

That's far and away the largest group of opponents of this disgraceful legislation (just as Labour MPs were the largest group of opponents of the Iraq war ten years ago).

If we are going to build an opposition to this Government of millionaires which has more than a toehold in Parliament (as we must) then we shall find our allies on the Labour benches.

Those who embark upon yet another episode in the never-ending soap opera of building an electoral alternative to the left of Labour don't need to be "whipped to abstain" from effective politics because they abstain voluntarily.

That said, socialists in the Labour Party must now foment a rebellion against the pathetic, idiotic and reactionary decision openly to capitulate to the Tories as was done today.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

Paul Cooney said...

Jon,
Here is the question I need to repeatedly ask of my friends who remain in the Labour Party. What mechanisms exist to alter policy (or form a socialist rebellion to do so) within a party whose internal democratic processes were destroyed by the Blairites? In the time when you could pass a resolution in the ward, then CLP and onto conference you had a chance, albeit slim to alter policy. Now how do you change Blue Labour? There are more socialist TU activists outside any party now than in Labour or any of the "revolutionary" groups and we are the ones who need to be persuaded, but only if the answer to the above is clear.