Are there any principles left in the moral vacuity that has replaced the Labour party? Is there anything that can be said that will get through to the party’s bankrupt leadership? Are there any barbs sharp enough to pierce the elephant’s hide of complacency that surrounds Labour’s sense of entitlement? On the showing up the party gave itself in the House of Commons on Monday night, the answer to all three questions is clearly no. Edward VIII had more principles than Labour do, that’s how low Labour has sunk.
Just 48 Labour MPs had enough of a moral conscience remaining to vote against the Tories’ swingeing and ideologically driven cuts to the benefits system. The rest are the St Augustines of political opposition – every night they get down on their knees to worship Mammon and pray that their god grants the strength to resist the Tories – but not yet. Let’s be clear here, the it wasn’t the poor, the disabled, or carers who caused the economic crisis. It wasn’t the low paid who caused the national debt to soar. It was the fault of the banks and their unregulated casino, it was the fault of rich corporations and individuals who have systematically avoided paying their fair share. And it was the fault of the Tories and the Labour party for allowing this sorry state of affairs to come to pass. And now as the Tories seek to punish the poor for the sins of the rich, Labour washes its hands in crocodile tears and says it does nothing for our own good. Labour dishonours our grandparents who founded that once great party. It traduces the memory of our struggles. Labour has betrayed the people it once stood for.
Only 48 Labour MPs remembered that they were elected to oppose. Scotland’s sole Labour MP wasn’t one of them. Did the residents of Edinburgh South elect him to oppose the Tories by acquiescing to them? That’s what Ian seems to believe. More SNP MPs than Labour MPs voted against the Tories’ vicious vindictiveness. Her Majesty’s Opposition think their official title means that they can only oppose things that her maj and her Hitler saluting benefits claiming family of spongers would oppose.
If you’re unemployed, Labour won’t give you an income you can live on until you find work. If you’re a carer, Labour doesn’t care about you. If you’re disabled, Labour wants you to stand on your own feet and will kick away your crutches. There was a time, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, that Labour was the party that defended those who didn’t have the resources to defend themselves. Now it’s the party of the Death Star and the benefits sanction. It’s the party of the shallow, the materialists, the selfish. Labour is only the party of No when No means telling Scotland it can’t govern itself.
Only a fifth of Labour’s MPs have a vestigial remnant of a moral purpose, have a memory of what their party once stood for. Only a tiny minority of Labour MPs could look Mary Barbour in the eye. Only a tiny minority of Labour MPs can still claim to be the heirs to the Red Clydesiders. Labour wants to be the party for people who want a second holiday to Portugal and riding lessons for the teenage daughter. Labour wants to be the Tory party. That means that the malaise that Labour suffers from is worse than penis envy, they suffer from arsehole envy.
The best you can say about the rest of the Labour party is that at least some of the party’s MPs had the decency to turn up and abstain in person and stare their non-vote in its metaphorical blind eye. There are invertebrates with more of a spine, snakes with more legs to stand on. In the modern Labour party, it’s a rebel MP who is the one to vote against Tory benefits cuts. A rebel MP, think on that. That’s what happens when you try to run a country and formulate policy based on what focus groups in Croydon tell you.
You expect this sort of thing from Tories. Tories are callous and insensitive, however well preened the hairdos of their press apologists. The Tories kill the poor while Labour looks the other way, and tries to claim that looking the other way is a principled stance. The principle being – I’m going to walk past this mugging in the street without doing anything in solidarity with people who haven’t been mugged. Someone needs to stand up for the non-mugging non-victims.
Ah but, say the Labour apologists, we’d have lost the vote anyway so it makes no difference. But that’s not true, it would have made no difference to the outcome of the vote, but it would have made a hell of a difference to the tattered reputation of a pathetic excuse for a party. People might just actually have thought that Labour had some balls, and not the Tory budgeting Ed kind. People might have realised that Labour still stood for something. But now they know that Labour stands for nothing except a hauf-airsed petty fogging power grab, and when that fails they cower under a rock like the moral cowards they are. Labour is a party that no longer sings about keeping the red flag flying, the only flag they fly is a white one. They won’t oppose anything if it risks resulting in a bad headline in the Daily Mail.
308 Tories voted in favour. 128 MPs opposed, the SNP, Plaid, the 48 Labour MPs with a conscience. 308 minus 128 is 180, and more than 180 Labour MPs abstained. Oh but because of pairing we’d still have lost, the Labour apologists bleat. Excuses about the cosy gentleman’s pairing arrangement cut no ice when you’re starving out on the streets in a bitterly cold winter. It’s not the job of Labour to enter into cosy arrangements with the Tories, it’s their job to make life difficult for them. But Labour don’t want to do that if the Daily Telegraph objects. That’s what makes Labour unfit for purpose.
Labour’s spinelessness is why we didn’t vote for them in Scotland – on this showing we’ll never vote for them again. Labour recovery? Even BBC Scotland can’t even start dreaming of that until there’s a glimmer of hope that Labour might just do its bloody job. But we don’t need Labour to oppose the Tories any more – we have the SNP and the Greens for that, and that’s why Labour is going the way of the Union. The demise of Labour is the demise of the UK.
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