‘If you vote SNP, you can’t expect a Labour government’

Don't they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they'll justify this little gem?

Don’t they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they’ll justify this little gem?

Scottish voters have been pulled hither and yon over the past few months – mostly by the claims of the SNP.

It is good, therefore, to have clarity from the Labour Party.

The message is clear, as reported by the BBC: “Labour leader Ed Miliband has told party members in Edinburgh … that ‘every one less Labour MP’ made it more likely the Conservatives would be the largest party” after the general election.

The much-maligned Jim Murphy added: “The biggest risk of Scotland getting the government it didn’t vote for is to believe you can get a Labour government while voting for somebody else.”

We’ve had a lot of SNP spin about Scotland’s relevance to the larger picture in general elections. “It doesn’t make any difference,” according to that party and its followers.

In that case, why are they hoping for a minority Labour government that needs SNP support to pass its policies? According to their own argument, this should not be necessary because Scotland “doesn’t make any difference”.

It is obvious that this argument is “pish”, as SNP adherents like to describe anything they don’t like.

Nicola Sturgeon has dropped demands that a minority Labour government must abandon the Trident nuclear weapon system if it is to have SNP support, indicating her own desperation for a deal (although, in reality, it may not make much difference; 75 per cent of Labour Parliamentary candidates oppose Trident out of principle).

The Tories are stupidly calling on Labour to rule out a deal with the SNP on the grounds that Labour would be relying on a party that wants to weaken the United Kingdom and eventually break it up altogether. Grant Shapps said: “Ed Miliband and the SNP have signed the pre-nup and are now half-way up the aisle.” Rubbish, of course.

But Murphy pointed out that the SNP brought down a Labour government in 1979 by opposing it in a vote of no confidence. That is what led to the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Labour hasn’t forgotten that betrayal. When somebody comes calling who has stabbed you in the back, you don’t welcome them with open arms.

Meanwhile, the SNP has been stupidly claiming that Labour is considering a coalition with the Tories, based on the flimsy evidence of a tweet from a now-departed Scottish Labour functionary and an off-the-cuff comment from an MP.

That silliness has also been dumped unceremoniously into the grave.

“We’ve got so little in common when it comes to the big issues that that is never going to happen,” said Murphy.

So if you’re Scottish, you’ve got the SNP claiming Labour will do a deal with the Tories (ha ha), and the Tories saying Labour is “halfway up the aisle” with the SNP (ha ha).

Only Labour is making any sense at all.

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  1. nick March 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    The people of scotland will vote for the SNP they will not want a labour government and rightly so they’ll wont their own government wherever possible

    we in the uk will be stuck with a possible hung parliament as before and my gut instincts say the government will stay as it is now. I pray to god i’m wrong but with so little politically between them all (hate the sick and disabled / immigrants / EU ) Theres not much room for the public to vote for anything decent or with integrity

    • paulrutherford8 March 8, 2015 at 12:46 am - Reply

      There are light years between the tories and Labour. Reading debate transcripts in Hansard highlights this hugely, and imo better than watching on tv. There is a huge tory campaign team who keep trying to convince people that there is nothing to choose between Labour and Tories, which is typical Lynton Crosby tactics.

      As for hating the sick and disabled, being that myself, I can assure you that Labour do not hate us. They would exempt most of us, for example, from the effects of the Benefit Cap under UC. That, and much more, is available, in Hansard. Much better reading than the MSM!

  2. sandik100 March 7, 2015 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Scots don’t forget a betrayal either, and our’s isn’t ancient history. I’m guessing this will count as a ‘vexatious’ comment.

    • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 12:33 am - Reply

      Good. Let’s hope you remember how the SNP has been betraying your trust in order to steal votes from Labour.

  3. Ray March 7, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Some facts on the 79 vote of ‘No Confidence, the following parties voted against Labour, who by this time were verging on being a ‘minority government’:

    The Conservatives, The Liberals, UUP, DUP, UUUP, and the SNP.
    So your hypotheses along with The Great Leaders is Null.

    Labour only scrapped 210 votes by having the backing of Plaid

    It should be noted that the Liberals, who were in a ‘Pact with Labour’ which ended in 1978 and wasn’t renewed because Labour wouldn’t introduce a ‘Freedom of Information Act’ was the real ‘nail in the coffin’ of Callaghan’s Government, as if he had introduced that he would have survived by having the Liberal’s 13 votes on his side.

    So basically your not often on the ball, Vox, but your way of it this time, It was Labour that caused Labour’s downfall and more particularly Jim Callaghan for being so bluidy obstinate!

    So what has changed then with ‘Labours’ Attitude?

    • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 12:32 am - Reply

      Did you really think you could get away with a lie like this?
      It was the SNP that brought Labour down by tabling the no confidence vote in the first place. It’s another case of a condition being agreed – in this instance the threshold requiring 40 per cent of the electorate to be in favour – and then, when it wasn’t reached, the SNP threw its toys out of the pram.
      The 1979 vote of no confidence was lost by just one vote. The numbers were 311 against the government, 310 for it. The SNP’s support would have clinched it for Labour.
      You owe us all an apology, I think.

      This time, the threshold on the independence referendum was simply a majority of those who voted. Again, the nationalists didn’t manage to reach that threshold so, rather than behave in a mature way, they threw their toys out of the pram and started a hate campaign against Scottish Labour.

      • Gary March 8, 2015 at 1:30 am - Reply

        You DO hate them, don’t you?

        • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 2:08 am - Reply

          No. Nor even the activists who work so hard to discourage bloggers like myself from writing unkind words about them, their party or the unsavoury behaviour practised by both.
          This is a political blog and the SNP’s behaviour in Scotland – and reception in the rest of the UK – is a political story. I do my bit to chart that story’s developments.
          A certain percentage of my readership seems to believe this entitles them to make insupportable claims against what I’ve said, backed up with abusive behaviour.
          That’s not acceptable, as I explain to them.
          I won’t be bullied, and I won’t allow lies to be passed off as fact (if I can help it).
          But none of the above can possibly be described as hate.

      • Joan Edington March 9, 2015 at 11:30 am - Reply

        If there was only 1 vote in it, why did the SNP vote matter more than the other minority parties that voted against the government? The SNP may have tabled the motion but any of the other parties could have voted the other way if they had wanted.

        And as for your glib comment about the photo at the top of this article, it’s not going to affect anyone in Scotland since it’s a very common media shot, taken the first time Camoron visited Sturgeon as First Minister of the Scottish Government. These posed shots are virtually obligatory when heads of anything meet. If you had watched any of the ensuing talks you would know that it was not friendly.

        • Mike Sivier March 9, 2015 at 11:57 am - Reply

          It matters because the SNP had been supporting the Labour government, and because the SNP tabled the motion of no confidence. The other parties had not been supporting Labour; it is because the SNP turned around that this happened.

          Are you intentionally missing the point about the photo? SNP activists have used similar posed shots of Labour and Conservative representatives next to each other to present a completely fictionalised claim that they are “in bed”, “in cahoots”, “co-operating” or whatever other euphemism you’d like to suggest for an alliance. There can be no doubt at all that the atmosphere in which Labour and the Conservatives worked for the unionist cause in the referendum campaign was just as unfriendly as that in which you say Nicola Sturgeon met David Cameron – but of course, that doesn’t suit the SNP’s narrative, does it?

  4. Robert March 7, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    It’s almost as if the snp and tories are working together.

    • theindyman March 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      I think you would love that, wouldn’t you? But go on, go ahead and lie about it! You lie about everything else!

      • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

        That was his first comment here.

  5. jaypot2012 March 7, 2015 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    I’m voting SNP because it is the best party for Scotland, not out of spite, not because it will help the tories into power and not because it will help Labour into power.
    Can people not see that Scotland wants to be led by Scotland and have a party that is there for them?
    Mike, you have no idea unless you come to live in Scotland. I always voted Labour when I lived in England and the for the GE’s when I lived in Wales – but I always voted Plaid Cymru for any other elections. If I lived back in Wales, then I would vote Plaid Cymru for the GE.

    • Mike Sivier March 7, 2015 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      What are you saying – that I can’t understand because I’m not there?
      What insulting hogwash.
      Of course I understand the situation because it will affect me and the future of my country (the United Kingdom).
      You discuss Scotland as though it is a separate country; it is not. As part of the UK, it has a responsibility to the rest of the UK – in the same way Wales, England and Northern Ireland do.
      The sooner you stop this divisive sectarianism, the sooner we can have some sanity.

      • casalealex March 7, 2015 at 10:43 pm - Reply

        Hear, hear entirely !

      • theindyman March 8, 2015 at 2:38 pm - Reply

        “it has a responsibility to the rest of the UK”

        What would that responsibility be?

        • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

          In voting for a UK government, to get the best UK government possible.
          That means a governing party that is dedicated to working in the interests of the WHOLE of the UK, not just a small part of it.
          To my way of thinking, that excludes the Conservative Party (only interested in furthering the interests of the richest people) and the SNP (only interested in furthering the interests of the part of the Scottish electorate that wants independence from the UK).

    • paulrutherford8 March 8, 2015 at 12:04 am - Reply

      SNP in Westminster will be able to do very little for Scotland. However, SNP in Holyrood with a Labour government [as in Labour, who are very much now NOT New Labour], in Westminster will be able to work together and achieve far more for Scotland AND the UK.

      Same goes for Plaid in Westminster: voting Plaid increases the chance of the tories returning to power, just as does voting SNP in the GE.

      Having family in Scotland who agree says a lot I think.

      • Gary March 8, 2015 at 1:59 am - Reply

        Hopefully Labour would return the maritime border to its correct position again.

    • Florence March 8, 2015 at 2:36 am - Reply

      There are already democratically elected Scots running Scotland for the Scottish. Westminster MPs are elected to govern the UK. It’s neither anti-Scottish nor anti-democratic to balk at the prospect of a SNP boot on the neck of the nation, which is the SNP’s stated intention in a coalition. Not a word has been said about forming a coalition for stability, to support and be part of the recovery of the UK, and the return of greater equality and economic growth, to benefit the whole of the UK.

      This all reeks of political opportunism to do anything to get into (Westminster) power, and so Sturgeon’s dismissal of an SNP / Tory alliance is simply not credible.Tactical LibDem voters in 2010 were disastrously wrong in assuming it would produce a Labour /LibDem alliance.

      Voters should reflect that if they don’t want another 5 years of Dave & the Bullingdons, then vote Labour. The stakes are too high to allow the UK to be run for the benefit of any minority, and the rich 1% are not the only minority jostling for power.

  6. Jim Round March 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Are Labour so unsure of themselves that they are panicking in case they do not get enough English and Welsh votes to see them into government?
    They didn’t seem to need it in 1997.
    They need to think about why they do not have enough votes to gain a majority over the Tories.
    The Tories don’t have a chance in Scotland, they may even lose their only seat, in Wales they don’t fare much better either, they are relying on voters in England to see them through.
    Labour need to visit a few more doorsteps to find out where they’ve gone wrong.

    • Mike Sivier March 7, 2015 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      That’s easy – they don’t appear to have enough votes because the Tory-dominated media have muted Labour success stories and announcements of Labour policy, along with any stories that might paint the Tories in a bad light such as, say, the ever-increasing number of deaths due to welfare ‘reform’, while singing to the rafters any story that can be spun as a Tory success.
      Plus of course the issue that I highlighted in another article today – that people are turned off Ed Miliband because he’s not as photogenic as David Cameron. Yes, that is a truly frightening concept.
      Labour plans to visit no less than four million doorsteps in the run-up to the election – and is on course to do so. Word on the ground is very few of those people think Labour has done anything wrong at all.
      There’s no panic going on, though. Labour is just addressing the situation as it appears.

      • Jim Round March 8, 2015 at 2:27 am - Reply

        It is a shame that Labour are unable to use the media to their advantage, broadcast media can be used if print media won’t entertain them.
        My main gripe is the absence of doorstep or visual campaigning in between elections, yes, there are MP’s surgeries, but depending on your MP, their benefit is negligible.
        Are there any rules on party political broadcasts in between elections?

        • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm - Reply

          I think doorstep campaigning suffers between elections because of the apathy we have all bemoaned at one time or another.
          Either people in the houses don’t want to be bothered or it is hard to find people willing to go around the doorsteps.
          I live in one of the largest and most rural constituencies in the UK, and it is impossible for even the most dedicated campaigner to cover it all. It needs teams of canvassers to cover it properly. Trouble is, there is only a limited number of people who are willing/able to give up their time for such a purpose.

  7. Andy March 8, 2015 at 12:24 am - Reply

    I don’t think you can really blame the SNP for bringing down the Callaghan government, in all honesty it was his reluctance to call a general election in ’78 and the unions inability to see sense. If only they could have waited until the benefits of the north sea boom were realised. We may have even set up a sovereign wealth fund like Norway. Instead we got Thatcher who pissed it all away in tax cuts.

    • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 12:28 am - Reply

      The SNP tabled the motion of ‘no confidence’ that brought down the Callaghan government. It was a motion that Callaghan lost by just one vote. Forgive me if I disagree with you.

      • Andy March 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm - Reply

        I always thought Margret Thatcher tabled the vote? “The vote was brought by Opposition leader Margaret Thatcher” from your own link! I think the SNP should take heed of what happened back then. It put back their cause a couple of decades and they seem to have forgotten that the Conservatives did all they could to undermine the “yes” vote in the referendum with their “FUD” campaign.

        This is a very interesting article by Roy Hattersley about that time.


        • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

          From the same article: “When the Government refused to implement the [Scotland] Act (per its special threshold legislative clause) the Scottish National Party MPs put down a motion of no confidence.”

  8. paulrutherford8 March 8, 2015 at 12:53 am - Reply

    A text from Scotland [I asked someone there to read this], said that quite a lot of people say to SNP activists that they’ll vote SNP because they don’t want to hear the hate and bile that often ensues if they mention Labour. Depending where they live, people may be genuinely scared of said party’s activists.

    Just saying…

  9. Tony Hemphill March 8, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

    THE bLABOUR PARTY IS DEAD IN SCOTLAND, WE WILL NO LONGER LISTEN TO A PARTY THAT JOINED WITH THE TORIES to tell us we are “to wee, to poor, to stupid”and the propaganda from all the MSM (APART FROM THE SUNDAY HERALD)SCARED OLD PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THEY WOULD LOSE THEIR PENSIONS! AND THOSE OLD FOLK BELIEVE THE BBC! NO I WILL NEVER TRUST THE bLABOUR PARTY AGAIN, YOU DOON SOUTH VOTE FOR THEM, UP HERE THE TIDE HAS TURNED bLABOUR CAN NO LONGER TAKE THE SCOTS VOTES FOR GRANTED,THE DREAM IS NOT DEAD! ANYWAY WE KEEP GETTING TOLD THAT THE SCOTTISH LABOUR VOTE MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO WHO FORMS A UK GOVERNMENT,my 29yr old daughter who was never interested in politics before the referendum and like the rest of her family going back generations voted for the real labour party but that party died when the war crim blair took over) but not anymore we have seen through the lies “the vow” being the worst spread all over the front of scotland’s no1 rag the daily record, so no we as a family(and there are millions like us)will vote for one of the 2 parties who care for Scotland and her people that would be the SNP AND THE GREENS.KERR HARDIE MUST BE SPINNING.PS: WE ALSO HAVE bLABOUR PARTY MEMBERS TELLING FOLK TO VOTE CONSERVATIVE!”! ANYTHING TO KEEP THOSE NATS WITH THEIR QUESTIONS ABOUT TAX AND POOR PEOPLE OUT OF OUR NICE HOUSE OF COMMONS. SAOR ALBA

    • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      I take it that you are using the word ‘blabour’ as an insult and it isn’t simply a typo? What a big person you are!
      What a shame you’re not clever enough to know the difference between “too” and “to”, then – or to know that the phrase “too wee, too poor, too stupid” was coined by John Swinney when he was leader of the SNP, in 2001.
      Labour never joined with the Tories. The two parties were part of the Better Together campaign, sure, but did the SNP join with the other parties that were allied in the ‘Yes’ corner? I’m sure that party would say no. There certainly don’t seem to be any alliances going on there now so it is strange and insulting that you should make such accusations. But we’ve been over this ground before.
      The pensions issue was a real one, raised by the National Association of Pension Funds. It seems strange that you are relying on what the Tory-led government told you, in order to suggest that Gordon Brown was wrong about that. When the same government’s Treasury took a partisan attitude to the referendum, nationalists were swift to condemn it. How can you justify this contradictory attitude to the UK government? It can’t be both for AND against what you want!
      YOU might keep being told that the Scottish vote makes no difference to who forms a UK government, but you need to ask yourself who’s telling you that. It’s the SNP, isn’t it? The SNP needs you to believe that, because if you pay attention to the current information that shows every seat Labour is likely to gain in the rUK is balanced by every seat it is likely to lose in Scotland, you’ll know that the Tories will probably get back in again as a result of the SNP’s seat gains.
      It’s interesting that you keep saying the ‘Vow’ was a lie. I’ve checked it out and not only is it well on the way to being delivered, but the proposed legislation has been strengthened by the Smith Commission and is supported by all Scottish Parliamentary (that’s Holyrood) parties including the SNP. And wouldn’t a LABOUR government add still more powers, in order to achieve the kind of Home Rule Gordon Brown wanted? Yes it would.
      You had ONE now-EX-Labour member suggesting you should vote tactically, in a single rogue tweet. That person is no longer a member of the Labour Party so you don’t have a point there at all (although I doubt you or other Nats will stop mentioning it; when you have such a small supply of ammunition, you have to rely on what you’ve got, even when it’s not true).

      Is it true that Scottish people are being bullied on the doorstep into saying they will support the nationalists?

      • theindyman March 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm - Reply

        In answer to your last comment, no it’s not. I’m sure you would love it to be so, but it’s not.

        What amazes me is your near racist comments as though Scotland and the Scottish people had a DUTY to vote Labour! Labour is a busted flush in Scotland. Their sharing of a platform with the Tories has ensured that. They aren’t called the Red Tories for nothing!

        I suggest you stop believing everything that Labour in Scotland comes out with and come up to Scotland see for yourself how the party is disintegrating! There are only 59 MWPs in Scotland. Why aren’t you campaigning in the South East of England where there are far more?

        Labour needs to win in England to win Westminster. Why can’t you do that?

        • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 3:56 pm - Reply

          What a shame for you that Robert has already commented with an example of SNP intimidation on the streets.
          (Just wait for the response: “That’s not bullying people – that’s challenging a ‘red Tory’ candidate!” Oh yes? She was talking to a resident – what was that person supposed to think?)

          My comments are not racist. I haven’t suggested that there is a duty to vote Labour; all I have done is defend Labour from those lies put forward by the SNP that reach my attention. There is NO good reason to call them Red Tories.

          I’m not campaigning in Scotland. This blog covers national issues – that’s United Kingdom issues, not Scotland. Scotland is not a nation-state – and the behaviour of the SNP, including its effect on the future government of this country, is a big part of that.

          You mention England as though it is part of a separate nation from Scotland. It is not. Labour needs to win – in the UK – to win Westminster.

      • Gary March 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

        No, there’s no one being intimidated Mike. To be fair there are a lot of overhyped stories in the media. Even during the referendum there was reporting on families ‘split in two’ and would no longer speak. I don’t know anyone who this applied to. On the plus side political debate has enjoyed a great resurgence and this from severe disengagement only a few years ago. Don’t believe everything the Daily Mail tells you Mike!

        • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

          What do you think of the YouTube video mentioned in Robert’s comment, then?
          Your comment about the Daily Mail is risible. Do a little search: “Vox Political Daily Mail” and you’ll quickly find out exactly what this blog has to say about that rag.

  10. Robert March 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply


    I’m not too sure if they are intimidating people at their doorstep, but they have been following labour campaigners and recording them. There is loads of information about their intimidation tactics online with links to verify. In the meantime here’s a couple of Links I found. Loads more info can be found on Google.

    Intimidation video


    • Joan Edington March 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Not too sure about the 2nd link here. Since it claims that Nicola Sturgeon is “unpopular”, having been voted in polls as the politician most trusted in the UK and filling meetings that would be the envy of any party leader, I feel that it is more than a bit biased. There has been some filming, as shown in the first link but, if that is what they call intimidation they must be desperate. It is merely a rather polite SNP man asking Margaret Curran for her comments on recent, less than truthful tweets that she has since deleted. Any member of the public should be allowed to ask canvassing MPs questions, so why was this different? He was polite and a fraction as intimidating as several little old charity box collectors I encounter.
      PS Mike. I don’t need your copy & paste “debunked” comment on this. Whatever your view of Margaret Curran and her tweets, anyone has the right to ask questions and they might not have had the benefit of your superior knowledge.

      • Mike Sivier March 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm - Reply

        Yes, Joan, that’s the part you should be examining – whether Nicola Sturgeon is popular or not. Don’t bother asking why SNP activists were going around intimidating people – especially women – by filming them, or what they do with the footage. That’s clearly irrelevant. It’s far more important to push the impression that she is popular, because of course, if you get that out into the media, she’ll become more popular, won’t she?

        You must be desperate – especially as you’re suggesting that the bullying manner of the SNP man in the video is “rather polite”. What did he think he was doing, interrupting a candidate while they were talking to someone else on the doorstep? You think saying, “Are you a police officer? So go away from me and go away from me now – GO A-WAY… FROM ME NOW!” is not intimidating? Anyone can view that video and make their own judgement. You can tell that the man’s voice is emotionally-charged. That was threatening behaviour, in my opinion.

        If people have not had the benefit of my knowledge – superior or otherwise – then why are you keen to deny it to them? Anyway: You are referring to the claims of SNP activisits that Margaret Curran was absent from the House of Commons during the fracking debate, when in fact she was present and took part in all votes, including the only one that counted towards preventing fracking in England (Scotland and Wales already have moratoria in place).

        People certainly do have the right to ask questions of their Parliamentary candidates – but they don’t have the right to do so in a rude and intimidating fashion. Filming people who answer the door to candidates from other parties, interrupting those candidates during those conversations, and intimidating people who ask them to stop are all, without exception, unacceptable.

      • Robert March 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm - Reply


        Just because the blog is anti snp doesnt make it less true. The author used to be in the SNP. Oh it’s not intimidation is it? Oh I forgot it’s civic nationalism the warm cuddly kind. I live in Glasgow yes city if you will, most of my friends voted yes passionately but majority ain’t voting for snp at elections because they see through this nationalism lark. It really warms the heart seeing the tories share a platform with the SNP to wipe out labour, the enemy of my enemy and all that eh joan? Let’s face it joan you would love nothing more than a tory majority at the elections wouldn’t you? The snp like to make out Scotland is angry at labour but the bottom line is most people in Glasgow don’t even talk politics you only see political talk online on forums. Political engineering and all that eh joan?

        Some more nice and cuddly civic nationalism


        It’s a biased source again but has verifiable pics etc

  11. Thomas March 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    The SNP are at least better then the Lib Dems.

  12. A-brightfuture March 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    The people will vote on what best “for them” not for the good of the country.

    No matter what side of the fence they live.

    People in poverty will not give two hoots for the deficit or the economy, nor any other giveaway gimmicks, to make the rich richer. They will vote on personal survival, and who can give it.

    • Mike Sivier March 8, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      People in poverty should care about the deficit as they’re the ones who are being made to pay for it!

  13. ispy March 9, 2015 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Do the unemployed and the sick have short memories?

    The Labour Party intensified the Tory sanctions regime when they gained power in 1997. The Labour Party also intensified “Workfare”. The Labour Party introduced the dreaded Work Capability Assessment.

    Have a look at the evidence here, (foreward by the “Iron Chancellor” and later Prime Minister, Gordon Brown). Search for the words “tough”, “mandatory” and “Summary”, to name but a few painful reminders!:


    As I understand it – correct me if I’m wrong – the current Labour Party has 80% off the Tory cuts lined up!

    It is high time politicians came clean and acknowledged there are simply not enough proper (paid) jobs around for all of the unemployed. Stop all the vote-catching by promising “guaranteed” jobs.

    The public are not fooled, you can’t get a quart out of a pint pot – irrespective of who gains power in May this year!

    • ispy March 9, 2015 at 10:25 am - Reply

      Oh, and while you are at it, search the following link for “A stronger sanctions regime”:


      • Mike Sivier March 9, 2015 at 10:40 am - Reply

        It’s still out of date by many years.

    • Mike Sivier March 9, 2015 at 10:39 am - Reply

      You are indeed wrong. The Labour Party does not intend to make any of the Tory cuts.
      Labour has agreed to stick to Coalition spending limits for 2015-16 (if elected) – in order to clear contractual commitments, we believe. The SNP has tacitly admitted it would do the same (SNP fiscal plans are for four years, but UK Parliaments current run for a fixed term of five). After that, Labour’s plan will balance the books by 2020, with expected cuts of £1.75 billion per year, on government spending of around £700 billion per year. The Conservative plan is for cuts of at least £7.5 billion per year – more than four times as much. BIG difference!

      The document to which you link is seven years old and is no longer Labour policy. This indicates that Labour agrees these were not good ideas.

      • ispy March 9, 2015 at 11:05 am - Reply

        Mike, do you expect Labour to abolish sanctions if they win in May?

        And you might like a read at this one:


        And a national day of action against benefit sanctions is planned for 19 March:


        Days of action will mean nothing but hot air if benefit sanctions are not abolished.

        • Mike Sivier March 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm - Reply

          Labour has already said it will abolish sanction targets.

          You seem to be deliberately missing the point of benefit sanctions; they have always existed. Back in the early 1990s, when I was working at the then-DSS in Bath, there was a specialist department authorised to investigate fraudulent claims and empowered to remove benefit entitlement from people found to have made such claims. This is necessary, otherwise a significant minority would certainly try to take the taxpayer for every penny possible.

          The problem is with sanctions being applied – not because a person is claiming fraudulently, but because they arrive at the Job Centre five minutes late for their signing, or because the Job Centre didn’t send them a letter about an appointment and then removed their benefit because they didn’t attend, or because of any of the other excuses that DWP staff have invented to take people’s benefits away. In these circumstances, it is the benefit advisors who are committing fraud.

          That is where the problem lies; that is what Labour is going to solve.

      • ispy March 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

        Mike, benefit fraud is another matter and should not be mixed-in with benefit sanctions.

        Benefit fraud is a criminal offence where the penalty is not sanctions but a criminal charge.

        Yes, benefit sanctions without targets must go, but there is a danger of that still being the thin edge of the wedge.

        Will Labour abolish the maximum 3 year benefit sanction – which now exceeds the maximum fine imposed by the courts to convicted criminals?

        It will be EXTREMELY controversial for the the Labour Party to leave the UK social security system in a position which treats its recipients worse than convicted criminals – and that without trial!

        I say yet again, there are not enough jobs around for all of the unemployed. Until there is, no amount of mandatory Government schemes or programmes or job guarantees will do anything to benefit the unemployed. It has long since been proved that sanctions do nothing to help the unemployed back to work – how the hell could they?

        • Mike Sivier March 9, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

          You seem to have missed the point I was making. The DSS fraud department only prosecuted people if it had to; the idea was to police the system in order to prevent abuses and the current sanction system should have the same purpose. It is the abuse of that very system by its own administrators that must be fought.

          If a person is on a benefit that requires them to seek work, it is not unreasonable to ask them to show that they are, in fact, looking. If they’re not, then it is reasonable to remove that benefit. In the old days, people were required to reclaim – a very time-consuming process. However, if a person is five minutes late for a meeting, it is totally unreasonable to impose a sanction.

          Your question about the inordinate length of time at which the maximum sanction is currently set is a very good one and must be asked – so I have done so. I’ll publicise any response.

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