Friday, 18 April 2014

If Labour Has A Plan, They Dare Not Speak It

Sue Marsh did not choose the headline of her recent Guardian article, a headline which holds little relevance to the words beneath it. The headline says nothing about Sue's views, but much about those of some at the newspaper. 

Responses have been published to the Wednesday Independent article by Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves and her colleague Kate Green, Sue's article among them. None are without criticism but they are constrained by a need to have good relations with Labour, who are still on course to go into office in 2015 and we who have campaigned on social security will want the government to be making it a main issue. I don't have these constraints because I'm not critically important to anything at present nor likely to be in future; I'll follow press embargoes but that's it. I can speak my mind. 

My mind says Labour is not on the fence even if they give that impression sometimes, they were never even on it. Unfortunately they were not and are still not on 'our side' of the fence even though they're trying to convince us very incompetently that it is the case. They are not going to pull a David Cameron trick of only pretending to be reforming their party and then swinging suddenly to the other end once power is secured. It was Labour, not the Coalition, who brought the pointless Malcolm Harrington in to review the Work Capability Assessment, the man who actually argued with an Oncologist over whether work is good for people enduring Chemotherapy(guess who was for and who was against). That was their initial response to concerns about the process for claiming ESA and it was a fix. Do I think they have changed in the years since, where we have had the spectacle of Edward Miliband's 'I met a man' speech, Liam Bryne's repeated 'shirker versus workers' sound-bites, Rachel Reeves promising to be 'tougher on benefits' than the Coalition and no indication at all that the New Labour record on social security will ever be addressed? 

The public still believe Miliband and his minions will be better for the poor, those claiming benefits, than the Coalition. It is precisely this persistent delusion which enabled the previous Labour government to be harsher towards claimants than any that came before them since the poor laws. Labour now still seem to want to feed it enough to keep that impression up but not to ever actually do anything principled, honest and just.


  1. I have no doubt what you say is true because the current shadow Labour Govt is a fraud and a disgrace to the eponym "Labour" They are so far to the right now they can no longer deemed to have socialist priciples.They have shifted to the right to secure the middle ground vote. Tony Blair and his cohorts would have true socialist practitioners turning in their graves and I`m afraid Millibrand is just another sop to the middle ground brigade who seek Govt then let down the very people they purport to support as soon as they gain power.

  2. Quite right Mason.

    Instead of listening to what people say it is important to watch what they do. What did Labour do in the vote on retrospective rules for santioning Jobseekers? Made lots of speeches agreeing with the need for sanctioning, got the analysis of what the vote was about wrong, (they seemed to think voting no would mean there would be no further sanctions) and then voted with IDS to keep all the money owed to the powerless from the powerful, in order not to embarrass IDS or get bad headlines from the Daily Mail etc.

    When the time came to choose between the powerless and the powerful, they choose the powerful.

    When has anyone powerful gone out of their way to ease the suffering of the powerless? Only when the powerless have some kind of threat to the powerful, and certain sections need to be bought off. In other words do the bare minimum necessary to hold onto power.