What lurks within the brain of the Bolsover Beast?

Dennis Skinner - Parliamentary straight-talker.

Dennis Skinner – Parliamentary straight-talker.

Here’s an interesting criticism that was made following VP‘s article on the Charter for Budget Responsibility.

According to its author, this blog’s observations – that Labour was perfectly able to support the Charter as it was presented to Parliament, because nothing in it was opposed to Labour’s plans – were inaccurate because Dennis Skinner voted against it.

It seems clear that this person was suggesting that Mr Skinner, paragon of Labour values that he is, was voting against the line taken by the party’s leaders because it disagreed with his own – traditional – Labour principles.

This writer would not wish to presume knowledge of the mind of the Bolsover Beast. However, a simpler explanation does present itself.

Labour supported the Charter for Budget Responsibility because it is worded in such a way as to seek a balanced budget by the third year of a five-year period, without suggesting when this period would start or end. The Charter does not attempt to restrict any UK government on its methods of achieving this, so Ed Balls made it perfectly clear that Labour was happy to support what was being suggested.

The Conservative Party would have won the vote, with or without Labour’s support, thanks to the slavish help of its Liberal Democrat thralls. It has been avid to put forward the impression that the goal can only be achieved by imposing £30 billion of spending cuts on the poorest people in the nation, with no other measures being used. That is what will happen if a Conservative government is elected in May – and it seems there are those on the social media who want you to think Labour has subscribed to this.

Those people clearly did not listen to the Parliamentary debate, haven’t read the record of it in Hansard, haven’t read the Charter itself or haven’t seen the Vox Political articles (this last is excusable as VP is a very modest blog).

As was explained at length in the debate (and also on this blog), Labour plans to reduce the national deficit by reversing the tax cuts conferred on our richest citizens by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and imposing a progressive taxation system to ensure that those best able to pay will do so; Labour does plan some spending cuts, but it also plans to do something that doesn’t seem to have occurred to the Conservatives: Stimulate economic growth.

There was, therefore, no reason for Labour not to support the Charter!

In fact, doing so was a way of mocking the Conservatives; rubbing Tory faces in the fact that they had tried to set a fiscal trap for Labour but had done so in such a poor way that it didn’t matter.

This is where, in this writer’s opinion, the Labour leadership and Mr Skinner diverged.

To a no-nonsense man like Dennis Skinner, this kind of game-playing is unnecessary – frivolous, perhaps. He may even see it as unduly making light of a situation that, for the electorate, is deadly serious. People are struggling because the Tories squeezed the economy; many have died.

He also knows that no Parliament can bind its successor; if Labour is elected in May, it can ignore the vote on the Charter for Budget Responsibility completely.

So it would be entirely reasonable for him to see this debate, and the vote that followed it, as nothing more than party political game-playing, and not for him.

It isn’t that most of the Labour Party supports continued economic austerity – that was disproved in the debate. It certainly isn’t that Labour will follow the Conservative plan of £30 billion in cuts – that was also disproved in the debate, and in the fact that a future Labour Parliament can ignore the decision in any case.

It seems far more likely that he simply didn’t want to play the Tories’ silly game.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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11 thoughts on “What lurks within the brain of the Bolsover Beast?

  1. Andy

    Perhaps we should contact Mr Skinner and ask him for his reasons? One of the few or maybe the last no bulls*** MPs who takes his job seriously, as a full time job. Pity he’s not on the NEC anymore.

  2. casalealex

    Mike, I believe you have hit the nail on the head with regard to why Labour voted the way it did in this debate, and I also understand why Dennis Skinner felt he had to vote against, as he was at the debate and heard all that was said, and he knew his vote would make no difference to the outcome, but did not want to play the game.

  3. davespagnol

    ” … Labour was perfectly able to support the Charter as it was presented to Parliament, because nothing in it was opposed to Labour’s plans … ”

    For anyone hope for change after the election, that’s precisely the problem.

  4. ahddrv

    I can understand why people are weary. Every day, Tories attack in most outrageous fashion & it takes a while to understand the truth. Obviously Dennis Skinner has seen enough, has had enough of Tories to last him a life-time. It didn’t make a difference to outcome – but is possibly his last vote against the party he holds in highest disdain.

  5. Brad

    up here in Scotland we don’t call the Labour party up here the Red Tories for nothing, because frankly you cannot separate them and the Blue Tories with a fag packet and like the Blue tories their main interest is south east England, take the flooding late 2013 in devon & somerset neither party gave the people in those two shires much help until the thames valley was threatened … they stepped into gear 6 weeks after the initial floods because they would look like hypocrites if they only helped the people in the thames valley area and it was only at that point when Cameron and Miliband visited those two shires

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You need to do a little more research. It’s only when the Thames Valley was affected that Cameron started to pay attention; and the Labour Party’s main area of interest is improving the lives of people across the whole of the UK.
      Read the relevant Vox Political articles for more details on the flooding; Labour policy is available from that party.

      1. Brad

        not just David Cameron and the Blue Tories as well as Ed Miliband … and if you seriously think the Labour/Red Tories give a damn about the rest of these island out with the south east England then you are sadly deluded

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        From what you’re saying, I draw the conclusion that you don’t care for Labour. Another Crosby crony?
        Nobody else needs to pay any attention to you.

Comments are closed.