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The apologists’ parade

Posted on July 21, 2015 by

After last night’s debacle in the House Of Commons, various Labour activists and cheerleaders have been scrambled on social and print media to firefight the appalled reaction from voters on the left to the party’s abstention on the Tory welfare bill.

wbmorrison

And as usual, they’re talking cobblers.

308 Conservative MPs voted for the bill last night. Alert readers will have noticed that 308 is not a majority of either 650 (the number of seats in Parliament) or 646 (the number who show up for votes, ie excluding Sinn Fein who never attend on principle).

What that obviously means is that the motion to give the bill a second reading could have been defeated if all opposition MPs had voted against it, effectively killing it. But because over 180 Labour MPs abstained, it passed.

In flailing attempts to absolve Labour of any responsibility, activists and hacks cried that the bill would have passed anyway because of the practice of “pairing”:

wbbush

wbmartin

wbmusson

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But that’s complete nonsense. As we learned last year, pairing isn’t allowed to be used on important votes, and a £12bn welfare cut certainly seems to qualify:

pairing

But secondly, pairing makes no sense at all if one party is planning to abstain. If you’re the Tories, you have nothing to gain from having one of your MPs (who would normally vote for the bill) stay away if their Labour “pair” isn’t going to vote anyway. You’d simply be reducing your own vote voluntarily while getting nothing in return.

So the “pairing” excuse is drivel. If there was any last night, then (a) it was against the rules, and (b) the Tories are complete morons and we’d like to sell them an invisible helicopter for a million pounds.

The second line of defence is a piece by John McTernan – who as far as we can tell is still, incredibly, Scottish Labour’s Chief Of Staff – in The Times today. In it, the self-proclaimed “socialist” rails furiously against the “left” and explains the ingenious Labour gameplan:

“What would you swim through vomit to oppose? Sorry if that question has you choking on your cornflakes but it was the phrase John McDonnell, the Labour left-winger, used to describe his motivation last night in the Commons. I don’t know about you but I had never known that McDonnell was so strongly opposed to a levy on employers to fund apprenticeships. An odd issue to be so angry about but each to his own.

Oh, I know, McDonnell says it was other bits of the bill he opposed. But that’s the problem with voting against a whole bill – you are rejecting all its clauses. And it is fair game for your opponents to attack you for opposing every single element – after all, you opposed them all. That’s how politics works.

This was precisely what Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader, was trying to avoid when she  said that Labour should abstain on the second reading of the welfare bill. Take the fight on detail to the Tories in the committee stage. And simultaneously take the arguments to civil society and – more importantly – the public.”

In other words, McTernan is arguing that rather than defeat the bill here and now, forcing the Tories to come up with a new one that might be less evil, the best thing to do is let it through because you can then quibble about individual lines of it in the committee stage.

This does rather require people to ignore the fact that as a majority government the Tories also have a majority on committees (the Work and Pensions Select Committee, for example, has six Conservative members out of 11, and even its Labour chair is arch welfare-slasher Frank Field), and so there’s far less chance of winning any votes in committee when only six government MPs have to turn up than in Parliament when they need 323 to be sure of victory.

Secondly, McTernan’s touchingly naive belief that the general public keeps a close eye on the activities of Parliamentary committees would be sweet if it wasn’t so toweringly, fatuously stupid. We live in a country where half the population can’t even identify the leader of the opposition if you show them a picture of him – the notion that more than a tiny handful of people watch big headline debates in the Commons, let alone committee sessions, is laughable.

Thirdly, as a reader rather bluntly pointed out to us, refusing to defeat the bill because it’s got a couple of decent things in it is a bit like saying that if you ordered soup in a restaurant and they brought you a bowl of dog urine with croutons in it, you shouldn’t send it back because croutons are nice and you might be able to negotiate with them to pour the urine away and leave you with just the (urine-soaked) croutons.

Fourthly, Iain Martin insists that there was no point in Labour even trying to defeat the bill, because the Tories have a majority:

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Which rather raises the questions of (a) why the opposition would ever bother to turn up at all for the next five years after losing an election, since there’s nothing they can do against a majority, and (b) how the SNP, with just 56 MPs out of 650, nevertheless managed to get the Conservatives to back down on abolishing the Human Rights Act, loosening the law on foxhunting and implementing EVEL.

Incredibly, McTernan then goes on to argue that there’s no point defeating the bill because the Tories might repeal some bits of it in a few years’ time anyway:

“There are over 3 million households who will lose at least £1,000 a year because of tax credit changes. Not only is that real financial pain, it is an increase in child poverty and it directly contradicts the claims of the prime minister and chancellor that the Tories are the party of working people and that they want to reward people who do the right thing.

There is authoritative evidence on this from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies and there is a broad coalition of organisations and individuals who are critical of the welfare bill changes. (Some clearly inside the parliamentary Conservative party since we now know that ministers are saying that some of the cuts that affect the sick and disabled may well be reversed once the government is running a surplus.)”

We suspect Labour will have a hard time getting any of these dismally weak excuses to stick. It’d probably be better off keeping to the “We lost the election, so we have to give up and become the Tories” line it’s been pushing in recent days.

But we look forward to hearing the next attempt anyway. In this rotten summer, we could do with the laughs.

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    1. 21 07 15 13:20

      The apologists’ parade | Speymouth

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    93 to “The apologists’ parade”

    1. Swami Backverandah says:

      Labour’s dead.
      McTernan is Chief of Stiffs.

    2. Joemcg says:

      Well we have had almost 11 weeks of more Tory rule here’s to the next 15 years plus. Cheers no voters. We can’t thank you enough.

    3. Macart says:

      All it takes is that good men do nothing… or that seriously deluded ones find excuses to do nothing. That the cynical provide those excuses and that the self interested profit.

      Bought and paid for, the whole rotten system of Westminster politics.

    4. Colin Church says:

      The Tory abstainers, wets as they used to be called since we seem to be in a 1979 hot tub time machine, are probably more important in the equation than the labour “rebels”.

      As was said in Butch and Sundannce – who ARE those guys?

      Do the Tories have a “centrist” wing?

    5. Geoff Huijer says:

      And you thought there’d be nothing to write about after IndyRef…

      With the real Tories one knows what they stand for and it ain’t the working class; with the pretendy Tories (that’s Labour to you at the back) one gets told some spin about one thing which they think is what should be said whilst they go off and do another (usually out-Torying the Tories).

    6. Giving Goose says:

      It is better to look at this in an other way.

      Do not say “Labour are dead” because it implies that there was life in the recent past, i.e. a functioning party with a core belief that differentiated itself from other parties. That has not been the case for at least 20 years.

      No.

      What we are witnessing is the sober truth; that the UK is effectively a one party state, following a single political belief system. And the core tenets of that belief system, or fundamental suite of key policies, is dictated not by politicians, but by other powerful vested interests.

      Truly the Corporate World has become the architect for the way we live our lives.

    7. gillie says:

      Stupid lying Labour bastards, one an all.

    8. Al-Stuart says:

      Stuart, thank you for highlighting this disgraceful abstentionism by Labour on Welfare Reform.

      Perhaps it is worth keeping an eye on EXACTLY what is going on down there in Westminster….

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmagenda/ob150720.htm

    9. Brian Powell says:

      So gutlessly abstained and hope at sometime in the future the Tories will do something nice about bits of it.

      So they take £7000 pay increase, plus expenses in the meantime, while in the same meantime people across the country deal with the real despairing effects of the Bill.

    10. Graham says:

      Pairing, like the whips, like FPTP, like the HoL is another device to subvert democracy.

    11. Luigi says:

      So, let me get this right: If a bill has number of monstrous proposals, but somewhere deep inside, there is a tiny bit of it that you like (or dislike just a wee bit), then it’s ok for your party to refrain from opposing it? Perfectly justifiable?

      Mmmm, okay!

    12. Doug Daniel says:

      “We suspect Labour will have a hard time getting any of these dismally weak excuses to stick.”

      I wouldn’t be so sure. They’ll have plenty of help from the media, dutifully reporting it as fact, rather than spin.

      10/10 for the mouse-overs today, by the way.

    13. Jimbo says:

      Just listened to Steven Kinnock on the Politics Show spouting the same crap as McTernan – They didn’t want to vote against it because of the apprenticeships and higher minimum wage. Another of Kinnock’s excuses for their failure to oppose The Tory’s Welfare Bill is that Labour were defeated at the polls and lacking leadership are in disarray. What utter claptrap.

      Labour are taking the people for fools. Along with the SNP and the fringe parties, Labour could have voted en masse against this Bill and, had they won the vote, it would have forced the Tories to come back with a revised Bill to put before parliament which would still have contained the parts Labour agreed with.

      Even had the vote been lost Labour would have shown the electorate that, at last, they kind of stand for something. Both in Westminster and Holyrood they’ll now go down in history as the great abstainers.

    14. david agnew says:

      “pairing” is the bolt hole that they think makes them safe – but 308 conservatives turned out to vote for the cuts. Apart from a dozen or so “rebels”, labour abstained en masse. Who were these morons pairing with? each other?

      Waiting for the other shoe to drop & labour realising that it has seen the enemy and it is labour…is getting frustrating. They have found themselves on the borderlands of imbecility and seem determined to stay there.

    15. HandandShrimp says:

      308 Tories voted for the motion. Who are the 22 Tories who did not attend the vote that called upon their pair not to vote? Calling on a pair for a key budget policy plank also seems to be something of stretch of the rules. I would be surprised if the Welfare changes was not a three line whip for the Tories.

      However, this is a deflection. Whether the Tories could have carried the vote or not this is not a bill that Labour should have rolled over to. I don’t think their pithy comments will cut any ice with their core vote. Labour have to all intents and purposes rolled up into a ball and begged the Daily Mail not to hit them.

      I would not have been pleased if my SNP MP abstained on this bill.

    16. Luigi says:

      Is this the start of the Labour civil war?

      It seems to comprise two fundamentally different parties at the moment. Yes, mainstream parties can be “broad churches”, but these two factions in Labour seem to be diametrically opposed. Sooner or later, something’s got to give.

    17. Les Wilson says:

      I wonder if the “defectors” in the labour ranks are more likely to join the positions of the SNP in regards to welfare, at least on a more item by item agenda.
      They voted against, the abstainers are struggling for excuses.

      If they will do that, on mutual agenda’s that would give the SNP a bigger hand to play. We have MP’s down there that will make the most of such a scenario.

    18. One_Scot says:

      I am no political strategist, but I think the SNP have to go into the 2016 Scottish election with the clear message that an overall majority for the SNP will be taken as a mandate for a second Referendum.

    19. Luigi says:

      When a nasty government like the tories has a slender majority, there should be no paring or other cosy arrangements. To hell with parliamentary procedure and nicities. The objective of the opposition should be to make life as difficult s possible for them. The people who voted for opposition parties expect to be represented, they expect their MPs to fight their corner.

      Perhaps the SNP should grand this opportunity announce they are not going to take part in any of this pairing nonsense. They are there to fight austerity and that is what they are going to do. The tories are anbsolutely hammering the poo – why help them?

    20. John Dickson (@NkosiEcosse) says:

      Just a note: The Leader of the real opposition is Female, the only other party of any albeit bad significance is the Tories and they have a boy’s brain in a man’s body as a leader.

    21. Luigi says:

      hammering the poor – sorry my keyboard is playing up. They are talking poo and hammering the poor! :

    22. Escarii says:

      “it directly contradicts the claims of the Prime minister and chancellor that the Tories are the party of working people…”

      To paraphrase an old internet meme – Why would you do that? Just go into politics and lie?

    23. Andy Sutherland says:

      I always thought that pairing was used if one MP was seriously ill and couldn’t attend the vote..?

    24. ronbon says:

      On news today that 55 SNP MPs voted against the welfare bill. What happened to number 56?

    25. Marko says:

      Yes, awfully nice of Labour to pair with their counterparts at a ratio of 8 for every Tory

    26. orri says:

      Perhaps we need an updating of the count to actually include pairing so as to make it clear who did what. As written the explanation involves an undertaking for what amounts to two MPs to effectively absent themselves from attending parliament on the basis that they will always vote against each other. In effect the public are paying £140K for two people to do sod all. I was going to say “act as bookends” but that’d imply they were actually of some use.

    27. fred blogger says:

      spot on rev.
      that these people even manage to remember their owns names is nothing short of miraculous.

    28. muttley79 says:

      O/T I received a e-mail about a development in the Willie McRae case:

      The FOI Commissioner has ruled that Police Scotland witheld information from journalist Paul Delamore. If Police fail to release the information the Court of Session may place them in contempt of court. This isn’t only a win for us it’s a win for the integrity of FOI. Investigative blogger Calum Carr has posted more detail HERE

      Our petition was mentioned in Commissioner’s ruling so a big thanks to all of you. We’re still looking for a lawyer to discuss the possibility of challenging the Lord Advocate in a judicial review.

      If you have any legal connections you think may be interested please email mail [at] markmacnicol [dot] com

      Also please keep sharing the petition by email or on social media. Here are the share links:

      Share on Facebook
      Share on Twitter
      Petition link: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fatal-accident-inquiry-for-willie-mcrae

    29. a supporter says:

      Swami Backverandah

      “Labour’s dead. McTernan is Chief of Stiffs.”

      An excellent phrase! Do you mind if I use it in appropriate places on Internet?

    30. Toobs says:

      It’s an easy solution for the Labour MPs. Either resign from the Labour party and join the Tory party because then you’ll be in government and able to change it. Or resign and join the Lib-dems. And try to make the lib-dems right wing and electable.

    31. Laverock says:

      Thank you, you have just answered precisely the questions I have been searching the internet for this morning. But was unable to find out from any website I had tried.

      By the way there’s more than a handful of people watching debates in parliament, 4 regular viewers just in my house since the election.

    32. Proud Cybernat says:

      Pairing – so let’s take that to its logical extension. Why not just pair off all the UK constituencies and just have a General Election in the marginals? Doesn’t make sense, you say? Well, duh!!

    33. Desimond says:

      BBC news…”The morning after, the Labour Party split!”

      Stephen Timms…”How dare they No voters not show unity with the rest of us!”

      Doomed.
      Good!

    34. dramfineday says:

      One is reminded of your “Medal of Dishonour” piece of November 2013 Stuart. I think you should at least award them a “Bar” to go with it or, given that it is of an additional order of magnitude, perhaps the Wings Cross for utter dishonour and class betrayal?

    35. indigo says:

      @ronbon – the 56th was one of the tellers

      http://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/tellers/

    36. Oscar Taime says:

      @One_Scot 12:37 Perhaps we should consider what the pro-indie Catalans are proposing namely that they will declare independence if they get enough votes in September. Sure they aren’t allowed to have a referendum and sure we should have taken our own chance last year but does anyone really think we’ll be allowed to have another referendum?
      Besides they way things are going by this time next year:
      a) it will be even more obvious the vow was a lie
      b) it will be clear that Labour are never getting back into Westminster and NOT because of the SNP
      c) and the effects of this added austerity will be making the need to leave the UK extremely urgent.
      Meanwhile Visca Catalunya!

    37. Desimond says:

      “We know the people dont have trust in us with the economy…..and thats why we are abstaining” – Harriet Harman with Andrew Neil

      No morals, no policy, no backbone just whatever doesnt make us look even worse to middle England in our stupidly skewed eyes.

    38. Another Union Dividend says:

      BBC still refuses to inform Scottish listeners and viewers that the shadow Secretary of State Ian Murray abstained.

      What was the point of electing him?

    39. Desimond says:

      ronbon says:
      21 July, 2015 at 12:51 pmOn news today that 55 SNP MPs voted against the welfare bill. What happened to number 56?

      hahaha…cue tomorrows headline in Daily Records

      SNP support Tory cuts!

    40. Alastair Seago says:

      Labour in Britain is dead and they are hammering the nails into the coffin lid themselves

    41. Colin says:

      Labour “proudly”? proclaim that the electorate didn’t vote for them in the election as their policies were seen to be too left wing (rolls on floor laughing) But…..and this may suprise them, the SNP were a fair bit more left wing than them, and walked the election in Scotland. So, some of the electorate were sure as hell not scared of such honest policies.
      They will never learn, and surely now, a clear majority next year means we name a date for Ref2 and rid us not only of the Tories but the red version as well.

    42. Take Independence says:

      Are we talking about the Redtory.

    43. Al Dossary says:

      Apprenticeships, 3 million of them ? Where in hell name ate they going to get 3 million new places for workers.

      The last time these sociopaths brought out this system it was with the Youth Opportunities scheme (YOP)ater replaced by the Youth Training Scheme (YTS).

      Both were sold as a means of training young people for the workplace – as a way of assisting “apprentice” type training.

      What we got in essence were hundreds of thousands of 16 & 17 year old school leavers who were exploited by major employers (eg British Steel had twice as many YTS as the did apprentices when I served my time, only 20% of YTS got a job at the end).

      In addition training companies sprouted up all over the country to provide 2 year training schemes with the sole intention of making their bit of coin from the government. These training schemes could not even guarantee a job after 2 years.

      These apprentice schemes are nothing but a cynical ploy to get numbers down for young unemployed and will ultimately lead to a “no dole for under 21’s by this shower.

    44. caz-m says:

      And don’t forget, we still have £20Billion pounds of departmental cuts coming down the line.

      Will Scotland’s pocket money be included in this £20Billion pound of cuts?

      You can hear Osborne telling us that our money is getting cut, “if you want to keep that hospital open, then raise taxes, get over it Scotland and don’t annoy me”.

      So, just to tread water, Scotland will have to pay higher taxes than the rest of the UK.

      Better Together?

    45. a supporter says:

      We must be careful with all the chutzpah about calling another Indy Ref too soon. It is my view that we need at LEAST 57% and preferably a more than that in the polls before we hold another. And we are nowhere near that at the moment. And the only way we would get near that total is for more Labour supporters to defect to YES. It can happen but patience is required.

    46. Democracy Reborn says:

      Are we to understand, then, that on any bill Labour have voted against in the past 30 years, there have been no individual provisions which they supported?

    47. Itchybiscuit says:

      To the tune of The Platters ‘The Great Pretender’:

      ‘Oh yes we’re the great pretenders (ooh ooh)
      Pretending that we’re doing well (ooh ooh)
      Our need (for power) is such we pretend too much
      We’re useless but the meeja can’t tell

      Oh yes we’re the great pretenders (ooh ooh)
      Adrift in a world of our own (ooh ooh)
      We play the game but without any shame
      We cut benefits down to the bone.’

    48. allan thomson says:

      “Secondly, McTernan’s touchingly naive belief that the general public keeps a close eye on the activities of Parliamentary committees would be sweet if it wasn’t so toweringly, fatuously stupid”

      By contrast I seem to recall a tweet from SLABs Chief of Staff yesterday saying that hardly anyone would even realize there was a vote on the Welfare bill last night?

    49. Toobs says:

      Anyone else remember the nick clegg I’m sorry video?

      Anyone else wonder if the Labour party got together and thought “that was a really good idea, we should do something like that”

    50. DerekM says:

      Here we go again more excuses from the Labour party,and now its pairing`s turn ,well the flaw in their excuse is massive and you do not need to be a maths professor to work it out.

      More lies from the party of liars,though i do not think they realize just what they have done to themselves by abstaining on this,Labour voters all over England and Wales today will be asking themselves why they voted for this bunch.

    51. caz-m says:

      O/T

      SNP MPs seem to be getting sidelined by the English media outlets.

      BBC England, Sky News, CH4 News, and all English newspapers seem to have come to an unwritten agreement to blank all of the upstarts from north of the border.

      Feel the love!

    52. Karmanaut says:

      Labour’s stance on this continues to be: “The voters voted for a Tory government, so we have to be more like the Tories, which means backing the Tories on things like hammering the poor.”

      Where can I put a bet on the next election returning the fewest number of votes for Labour, since records began?

    53. Sinky says:

      During the referendum Labour MPs in Scotland made great play of having more in common with the worker in Liverpool than the Laird in West Lothian.

      So how do they explain fact that every Labour MP from Scotland (Ian Murray) abstained rather than vote against Tory Welfare cuts.

    54. Jim says:

      Of concern is the MSM calling those Labour MPs who voted against the bill, “rebels”.

      Implying rebellion against the wishes of their interim leader but reading between the lines meaning rebellion against the bill.

      Rebellion is bad so welfare bill must be good.

      Programs like benefits street have done the job of fostering utter contempt for anyone with the audacity to find themselves claiming benefits.

      I hear it regularly; comments such as, “why should I pay my taxes so those scum can do this, buy that or breed and have more scum mouths for us to feed, we should be sterilising those that cannot afford kids without my taxes paying for their upkeep, etc, ad nauseam.

      Fuck them, fuck the tories, the Lib Dems and most of all Labour fuck those red tory wolves in sheep clothing.

    55. Jock Scot says:

      I’m looking forward to Labour’s script when Indyref2 is announced.Ought to be a beezer.

    56. gordoz says:

      Good old BBC !

      Quality reporting on the issues of the day – NOT!!

    57. caz-m says:

      Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray just stated on BBC Reporting Scotland at 1.30pm that, “We voted against these welfare cuts…”

      Now that is an out and out lie Mr Murray, you did not vote against these welfare cuts.

      When are you going to stop lying to the people of Scotland?

    58. call me dave says:

      @Another Union Dividend

      Heard on the BBC Radio Scotland Beattie Programme. He says “many texts from listeners asking for who among labour voted against”.

      No joy I’m afraid. “You’ll find it on-line” he said… But there are many who don’t have an internet connection John…austerity you know. Good old Auntie.

      PS:
      Nice letter in the National from 13 yr old Andrew Ross. He’s got his eye on events and watching the whole of the Smith Commission and the SNP amendments being voted down.

      “I stayed up late watching amendment after amendment being voted down by Labour and Tory MPs who couldn’t be bothered to sit down and listen to what we had to say”

      Good for him! Well said Andrew.

    59. caz-m says:

      And the STV lunchtime News just couldn’t be arsed reporting on it at all, nothing, not a peep.

      The fair and balanced Scottish media.

      All is not lost, because the BBC have just informed us that the Women’s Ashes cricket series has just started.

    60. Clootie says:

      Let me get this right using the “McTernan Rules”. The Tories can have the the most obscene set of changes proposed for implemention in an act BUT if they add one piece agreed by Labour then all Labour MPs should abstain from voting on the full Act.

      Labour should be leading the collective opposition. Every Tory Bill should be struggling through on a majority in single figures (Lets be honest no Tory Bill is going to be to the benefit of those in the bottom half of society)

      The Tories should never feel comfortable that their Bill will sail through.

      The LibDems enabled Tory cuts in coalition and Labour is enabling Tory cuts by abstaining.

      The Party colours and Party names of Westminster are now blurred completely. We have a Cartel of Unionists who have no interest in society North or South of the border.

      Listen to Liz Kendal, McTernan etc and tell me that they represent Labour values by any stretch of the imagination. :-O

    61. arthur thomson says:

      How many desperate people in England are going to turn to UKIP as a result of Labour’s folly?

      When are the Trade Unions going to disassociate themselves from the Labour Party? Have they got it in them to finance a new party in England? Or are they just as gutless as the Labour Party?

    62. 1971Thistle says:

      If there was pairing, then who were they paired with? 308 Conservative MPs voted, suggesting a maximum of 22 parings (no)?

    63. call me dave says:

      Left wing leader bad for Scottish labour and for the new branch manager!

      Keir Hardie gets a mention, he’s still birling, 100 years on.

      https://archive.is/oZ8GM

    64. Ritchie McLeay says:

      bbc Scotland appear keen to muddy the water, it interviewed Murray who said labour voted against the bill because it was wrong. I had a wee blink and double take to myself, before saying out loud to the telly, did he really say that?!

      No challenge from bbc interviewer on the statement leaving the viewer confused. This serves bbc purpose of leaving doubt in viewers minds coupled with the thrust of report that labour troops defied the leadership. Whereas labour stood on their hands, including Murray, as poor people continue to pay for bankers greed and labour follies, including Iraq war and financial deregulation!

      Even stranger, today we are informed Scottish NHS wiating times have “ALL” been met, but no mention on bbc lunch time TV news. I would have thought Eleanor and Jackie would be falling over themselves to inform the viewers.

      Essentially a day of horrendous news for labour and excellent news for SNP has been dulled out by bbc.

    65. Johnny says:

      ronbon, Owen Thompson served as a teller.

    66. Hamish100 says:

      I thought Pete Wisharts’s point of order was great. How did our elected MP’s vote against condemning the poorer in our society?

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2015/jul/21/labour-snp-commons-welfare-bill-video

      In Scotland the single Tory and the single labour MP joined together in Bitter Union.

      MPs representing Scotland who voted against the bill

      Ahmed-Sheikh, Tasmina – SNP MP for Ochil and South
      Arkless, Richard – SNP MP for Dumfries and Galloway
      Bardell, Hannah – SNP MP for Livingston
      Black, Mhairi – SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
      Blackford, Ian – SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber
      Blackman, Kirsty – SNP MP for Aberdeen North
      Boswell, Philip – SNP MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
      Brock, Deidre – SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith
      Brown, Alan – SNP MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
      Cameron, Dr Lisa – SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven
      Carmichael, Alistair – Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland
      Chapman, Douglas – SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife
      Cherry, Joanna – SNP MP for Edinburgh South West
      Cowan, Ronnie – SNP MP for Inverclyde
      Crawley, Angela – SNP MP for Lanark and Hamilton East
      Day, Martyn – SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk
      Docherty, Martin John – SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire
      Donaldson, Stuart – SNP MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine
      Fellows, Marion – SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw
      Ferrier, Margaret – SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West
      Gethins, Stephen – SNP MP for North East Fife
      Gibson, Patricia – SNP MP for North Ayrshire and Arran
      Grady, Patrick – SNP MP for Glasgow North
      Grant, Peter – SNP MP for Glenrothes
      Gray, Neil – SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts
      Hendry, Drew – SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
      Hosie, Stewart – SNP MP for Dundee East
      Kerevan, George – SNP MP for East Lothian
      Kerr, Calum – SNP MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
      Law, Chris – SNP MP for Dundee West
      MacNeil, Angus Brendan – SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar
      Mc Nally, John – SNP MP for Falkirk
      McCaig, Callum – SNP MP for Aberdeen
      McDonald, Stewart – SNP MP for Glasgow South
      McDonald, Stuart C – SNP MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
      McGarry, Natalie – SNP MP for Glasgow East
      McLaughlin, Anne – SNP MP for Glasgow North East
      Monaghan, Carol – SNP MP for Glasgow North West
      Monaghan, Dr Paul – SNP MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
      Mullin, Roger – SNP MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
      Newlands, Gavin – SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North
      Nicolson, John – SNP MP for East Dunbartonshire
      O’Hara, Brendan – SNP MP for Argyll and Bute
      Oswald, Kirsten – SNP MP for East Renfrewshire
      Paterson, Steven – SNP MP for Stirling
      Robertson, Angus – SNP MP for Moray
      Salmond, Alex – SNP MP for Gordon
      Sheppard, Tommy – SNP MP for Edinburgh East
      Stephens, Chris – SNP MP for Glasgow South West
      Thewliss, Alison – SNP MP for Glasgow Central
      Thomson, Michelle – SNP MP for Edinburgh West
      Weir, Mike – SNP MP for Angus
      Whiteford, Dr Eilidh – SNP MP for Banff and Buchan
      Whitford, Dr Philippa – SNP MP for Central Ayrshire
      Wilson, Corri – SNP MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock
      Wishart, Pete – SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire

    67. heedtracker says:

      This is good from the FT

      https://archive.is/APkg6

      “The deficit in the current budget, which excludes capital spending, fell from £71.1bn in 2013-14 to £56.9bn, slightly better than the OBR had predicted, while net investment rose from £27.4bn to £30.4bn.
      The level of government net debt continued to rise, hitting 80.4 per cent of national income, compared with 79.1 per cent in 2013-14 and in line with the OBR’s forecasts.”

      Even more Osborne slash and burn on the way but its a clear teamGBists choice, grow you’re way out of debt or attack the worst off. Ofcourse that clear choice is not what UKOK BBC propaganda machine is for.

      Blame the poor, tax cuts for the rich. Will it affect the value of one’s house?

      UKOK.

    68. Angus says:

      Read Wings a few times a day but haven’t commented for ages…..

      Labour simply opposed the SNP fledgeling Scottish Government (and the later majority one) “just for the sake of it’ believing this was being an ‘opposition’-look where it has got them.

      And yet with a hardline tory cuts agenda and the opportunity to defeat them as an alleged opposition in Westminster, they abstain?

      labour can’t even be consistent when it comes to the simple act of voting in important legislation at the House of Commons or Holyrood, and their moral compass for doing so is askew.

    69. proudscot says:

      Tarantula McTernan, as I now think of him, thanks to Greg Moodie’s excellent cartoon depiction of him in The National. Like the left-over crocodile descendant of the dinosaurs which managed to survive after the extinction event of the meteor strike, this creature has somehow been overlooked after the 2015 GE Labour extinction event, which blew away the toothless Murphysaurus who had appointed him Chief of Staff – the “staff” being Tuba McDougall, nuff said!!!

      My point is, why does anyone even listen to McTernan’s pointless rants any more? It’s a bit like listening to the bones of an extinct T-Rex in a museum, trying to claim why it thinks it’s still relevant in this modern world.

    70. Alastair says:

      So Labour to abstain on the Finance Bill.

      Shadow Finance Minister having a pop that the SNP can’t be the official opposition because they are not a “national” party.

      Correct me if wrong but there is no party that is a “national” party as Labour, Tories and Liberals do not stand Northern Ireland.

    71. Luigi says:

      Angus says:

      21 July, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Labour simply opposed the SNP fledgeling Scottish Government (and the later majority one) “just for the sake of it’ believing this was being an ‘opposition’-look where it has got them.

      Good point, Angus. Labour are certainly not slow to oppose anything from the SNP, even when it just may agree with their principles. And yet when the real enemy, the tories come out with their ideological madness, the Labour party cowers away, hiding behind the pairing arrangements and “we would have lost anyway” arguments.

      Perhaps Labour fails to oppose tories for one simple reason:

      They are not the SNP!

    72. One_Scot says:

      Given that 99% of polls are paid by people with a unionist agenda, you might need to be patient for a very long time before you get polls showing a lot more than 57%.

      If Scotland could not vote YES tomorrow, then Scotland has some serious problems.

    73. @Al Dossary

      Modern Apprenticeship is very cheap labour (up to age 18 and in some cases 19 of £2.73ph)which is subsidised by Gov.

      Big business are getting millions of almost free workers.

      Modern Apprenticeship is the Uk version of sweat shop labour.

      It is also a great way of manipulating the unemployment figures.

    74. Famous15 says:

      I think there is an endeavour in the MSN to ignore Scottish political mattersor failing that they cast an us as slightly bonkers.

      I was fascinated today to compare most of the red tops and BBC treatment of the deep fried Mars Bar story with an intelligent,amusing and positive opinion piece by Grace Dent in today’s Independent “I”. The BBC now enjoy mocking Scotland but I love the feeling that I do not pay them a penny. I do not pay peple who insult my intelligence and certainly do not pay to be patronised!

    75. Robert Kerr says:

      O/T but amusing.

      From the Herald re question on second referendum in WM.

      “Margaret Ferrier, the Nationalist backbencher…..,”

      So Margaret is the backbencher. There is a Leader, a Deputy Leader and… and… and..

      Belittle us at your peril Herald.

    76. Marga says:

      Oscar – “the pro-indie Catalans are proposing namely that they will declare independence if they get enough votes in September.”

      Yes, but even if the elections are not declared a “fraud of law” and abolished, between September and now the President is going to be taken to court on criminal charges for arranging a previous vote, and a new law gives the state power to suspend Catalan autonomy, which they are prepared to do.

      I wouldn’t use Catalonia as any kind of model at least until you start getting threats of Devolution being suspended or Sturgeon barred from public office.

    77. handclapping says:

      Isn’t the difference that a roll has a crust to oppose you whereas a bap merely abstains?

    78. Michellemabelle says:

      Ronbon asked what happened to SNP vote 56.

      He wad a teller, essentially counting the votes going in. Usually used where the vote is expected to be unanimous.

    79. ZaraP says:

      No amount of cajolery and no attempts at ethical or social seduction can eradicate from my heart, a deep burning hatred for the Tory party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. – Aneurin Bevin – Labour Party
      The Labour Party is dead

    80. Lesley-Anne says:

      At least one M.P. picked up on the inaction of the members of the Abstention party last night. 😀

      http://www.itv.com/news/update/2015-07-20/snps-pete-wishart-makes-cheeky-request-over-opposition-seats/

    81. Findlay Farquaharson says:

      hope they keep the sleekit fucker in a job, he is doing almost as good a job as you in destroying slab. i hate the cunt

    82. This is where we live…

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism

      The role of the biggest ‘opposition’ party is now just to manage the perceptions and expectations of a section of the public, on behalf of the elite.

      We gotta get out of this place. And it won’t be that hard to do. Just keep spreading the word – with humour and patience. Directly to your less informed (or brainwashed) family or colleagues. Online, by sharing this kind of stuff on social media, and commenting on other websites where the poor, huddled, apathetic masses gather.

      And most importantly, by being visible in the real world: wear your YES badge to the shops; put a poster in your window; make a banner, and tie it to the railings somewhere; whatever you can think of. Just simple, tasteful, autonomous actions by enough of us will make a huge impact.

      The great neo-liberal, crypto-fascist con job relies completely on maintaining a sense of apathy and powerlessness among the exploited public. We’ve already got them keeching their breeks, because a majority in Scotland aren’t swallowing the party line, hook and sinker any more. This IS the tipping point: just a little more momentum will carry us across.

      They want people who value social cohesion or national autonomy to feel isolated. Whenever an apathetic person starts to feel cognitive dissonance about the negative propaganda from MSM, MSM want them to suspect that their doubts are transgressive, and subversive, and will make them a pariah. Once there’s enough ongoing public visibility of our message, nobody will feel that way – and transitioning to YES will be easy for former fearties.

      I know many long-term supporters of independence bravely carried on through the wilderness years of being painted as a lunatic fringe. But the tables have turned, only a lunatic fringe now really believe that the status quo is acceptable. Let’s accept that new reality, and be more visible. Let’s make it obvious to anyone with half a braincell that the message from Pacific Quay and the Hootsman is in direct opposition the views of the population.

    83. Alan says:

      Cheeky and tendentious: SNP mock the ‘opposition’

    84. woosie says:

      Labour are increasingly a parody of a political party. Nonentities fighting over cushy jobs with clearly no intention of actually doing anything. I’ve witnessed more political acumen in an episode of Blackadder!

      While on the subject, is it me, or are all ukok politicians based on Harry Enfield characters? The best so far is the new “liblab boy”, Farron.

      Most of them wouldn’t make £7.20 an hour in a real job. Pathetic.

    85. Stuart Black says:

      The pairing excuse does not hold any credibility for the mere fact that 308 MPs voted, actually voted, why would this figure be so high if they were paired with their counterparts in Labour?

      Seems a very odd defence and, furthermore, why would you pair if you propose to abstain? I can understand a Yes being cancelled by a No, but abstentions, not so much.

      Finally, why on earth was this whipped on the Labour side to reject voting against? Even if facing certain defeat, it is incumbent on the opposition to run matters of such importance as closely as possible, if only to alert the committees, the Lords, and the electorate (us poor fools who get hung back in the cupboard for another five years) as to the levels of opposition the bill in question is generating. Does anyone expect the Tories to back down on the more febrile sections if they see it going through on the nod?

    86. Bibbit Blair says:

      HOuse of Commons website says on ‘pairing’:

      “Pairing is an arrangement between 2 mps of opposing parties that allows them to miss occasional votes, WITH THE AGREEMENT OF THEIR PARTY WHIPS. MPs are generally not allowed to pair on votes that are 3 line whips (divisions or votes of the highest importance)”.

      Cameron & Harman’s whips must be told in advance of all ‘pairing’. But there was no pairing. These union reporters are simply lying bastardos.

      The govt’s flag-ship policy was of the highest import also, so again no effing ‘pairing.’ Just say a lie often enough and the plebs will have to believe it, same old same old ‘Better Together’ lies.

    87. Cactus says:

      Rev and a reader said above ~

      But we look forward to hearing the next attempt anyway. In this rotten summer, we could do with the laughs.

      “..refusing to defeat the bill because it’s got a couple of decent things in it is a bit like saying that if you ordered soup in a restaurant and they brought you a bowl of dog urine with croutons in it, you shouldn’t send it back because croutons are nice and you might be able to negotiate with them to pour the urine away and leave you with just the (urine-soaked) croutons.”

      Cheers for the laughs Rev and reader, that was good 🙂

    88. chris kilby says:

      Craven Useless Neo-Tories. Seriously.

    89. msean says:

      I think that these pairing gentlemens agreements have to be done with,if you want to govern,then you have turn up. If you don’t you lose. Make them turn up if they want to pass bills. Tories love that kind of sink or swim stuff.

    90. chris kilby says:

      # Then raise the pallid standard high.
      Within its shade we’ll live and die,
      Though cowards flinch and ("Tractor" - Ed)s sneer,
      We’ll keep the white flag flying here! #

    91. Alastair Naughton says:

      Pairing? On the welfare reform bill? In the words of John MacEnroe “you cannot be serious!!” No unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” should be allowed to stand on this! It’s gloves off, defeat at all costs. This nonsense shows just how antiquated the whole Westminster system is! The Tories have already shown time and time again just how untrustworthy they are. Nobody should even entertain ANY ideas of “pairing” with such people!

    92. Dougie says:

      The usual suspects used the pairing argument to defend abstaining from the bed room tax pairing is not allowed for major bills they still think the public are morons what Labour did was undefenceable

    93. Hamish100 says:

      Just listened to Ian Murray on radio Scotland. We don’t need Mundell Murray is a Tory through and through. As always lightweight questions from Radio Scotland

      My family is lucky two of my cousins have two new bairns added to the family this year.

      New generation has arrived. Referendum only when we can win.



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