Week 30: Prat – The Parliamentary Labour Party

by George_East on July 31, 2015

Labour_PratThe very belated Prat Award for Last Week goes to the Parliamentary Labour Party

My my it has been a busy time – hence the lateness of this post, but better late than never…

Oh dear. George Osborne sets a trap with the reduction in the benefits cap and sadly but predictably the Labour Party walks right into it by abstaining on the vote (save for the Labour rebels who were the rightful winners of our Hero Award). The timing, coming it does in the middle of increasingly epochal Labour leadership election, could not have been planned better by the Tory leadership who are desperate for a Jeremy Corbyn win and to be able to paint Labour as a Michael Foot-era throwback.

Of course the abandoning of the weakest in society is really an act of villainy, but even if, for the moment, one just looks at the events as pure politics, there is no possible upside for the Labour Party in not voting against this bill. We are five years and a new leader away from the next general election. The public are not going to vote for or against the Labour Party on the basis of a vote which took place under a temporary leader at a time which is practically ancient history. So even if Labour moves to a point where it considers it has to be ‘tougher’ on welfare and benefits, now is really not the time to do it – that must be something for a new leadership once there has been a period of reflection in understanding why the 2015 election was such a disaster and what needs to be done to win back voters. Not in the middle of a leadership contest, which has been, the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon, aside depressingly uninspiring.

Labour feels at the moment as if it in a death spiral as a potential government– a slow descent to at best German SPD style support in the low-20s or even a real fracturing and a PASOK/Syriza split in a First Past the Post election system which will favour neither. The Tories are the only victors in this. Labour didn’t look tough. It looked clueless and unprincipled.

Unlike some others who write for these pages I personally think Jeremy Corbyn will be an utter disaster for the Labour Party (something I’ll write further on shortly), but he is the only one of the leadership contenders who came out of this process with any credit.


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