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Last night I read a news report that, if true, shocked me to my core.
Headlined DWP seeks law change to avoid benefit repayments after Poundland ruling, the Guardian article made the following statements:
“The Department for Work and Pensions has introduced emergency legislation to reverse the outcome of a court of appeal decision and “protect the national economy” from a £130m payout to jobseekers deemed to have been unlawfully punished.
“The retroactive legislation, published on Thursday evening and expected to be rushed through parliament on Tuesday, will effectively strike down a decision by three senior judges and deny benefit claimants an average payout of between £530 and £570 each.”
It said lawyers and campaigners have branded the DWP’s move as “repugnant” and “unbelievably disgusting”, saying it undermined the rule of law. That is my belief, also.
Then came the hammer blow:
“The Guardian understands that Labour will support the fast-tracked bill with some further safeguards and that negotiations with the coalition are ongoing.”
Labour, supporting a Bill by the Tories, specifically designed to oppress people who are in work or trying to find work?
This would be a betrayal of Labour’s core support and is something that, in my belief, nobody who supports the rule of law in this country should tolerate.
Allow me to put this into perspective:
The Court of Appeal ruling means that the Department for Work and Pensions, under Iain Duncan Smith’s supervision, broke the law more than 228,000 times. That is the number of jobseekers from whom they have deprived benefit, according to the figures available. IDS is a criminal a quarter of a million times over.
Not only that, but the Workfare programme, by making people work for employers who are perfectly capable of hiring people at the minimum wage or for higher amounts, is taking real jobs out of the economy – something that the Labour Party must abhore (the clue is in the title – ‘Labour’ Party).
There can be no justification for it.
The electorate will never forgive the party if Labour turns on its core voters – the poor and vulnerable – and attacks them in this way.
It is an absolute and certain path to defeat at the next election.
The only reasonable way forward is to fight tooth and nail against this evil subversion of the legislative process.
Just scan the responses to this article on the Labour Party’s Facebook page and the Guardian article’s comment column and you will see that (to the best of my ability to judge) nobody who has professed support for Labour has expressed support for this.
Not one person.
The response has been universally negative. Nobody wants Labour to do this.
Now, it could be that this is all a mistake and the Guardian article (by Shiv Malik) contains information that is wrong.
But I, and others, have been trying to get a response from the Labour leadership for nearly 24 hours now, to no avail. It seems – whatever their convictions – these MPs don’t have the courage to stand by them.
The new Bill is being rushed through Parliament and there will be a vote on Tuesday, so you may well be asking what is to be done.
The immediate thing to do is, if you are a Labour supporter and have a Labour MP – CONTACT THEM. Telephone them, email them, get to them whichever way you can. Make it clear, politely but in no uncertain terms, that supporting Iain Duncan Smith’s evil Bill is a betrayal of the people who support the party and that you will not tolerate it.
PRESSURE. It’s the only way to ensure the will of the people is heard.
Meanwhile, some of us will explore other avenues.
We’ll get to the bottom of this.
What a shame this shot in the foot had to happen just when support for David Cameron and the Coalition has been crumbling. It really is an abomination. My opinion is that those responsible should be ejected from the Labour Party altogether.