Daily Archives: June 4, 2015

Lend Corbyn your nomination, Labour MPs – let’s have a REAL debate

Five-time Parliamentary 'Beard of the Year' - the likeable Jeremy Corbyn.

Five-time Parliamentary ‘Beard of the Year’ – the likeable Jeremy Corbyn.

If any of you have been struggling to work out whether you know anything at all about Jeremy Corbyn, you are not alone!

This Writer has also been at something of a loss with regard to his personality and achievements.

So let’s all be grateful to Owen Jones, who knows Mr Corbyn well, for scribbling a few details into his latest Guardian comment piece.

According to Owen, Mr Corbyn is:

  • The very antithesis of the negative caricature of an MP: he’s defined by his principles and beliefs, uninterested in personal self-advancement, and determined to use his platform to further the interests of people and causes that are otherwise ignored.
  • One of the most likable MPs – and a five-time winner of Parliamentary Beard of the Year.
  • A proponent of peace, a staunch internationalist (he was protesting against Saddam Hussein when the west was arming him), a fervent believer in workers’ rights, and an opponent of austerity whoever peddles it

Not only does he seem exactly what we’re looking for, he even seems to fit what people in this nation genuinely want, as Owen explains:

“According to the polls, millions of Britons support a living wage, a radical house building programme, public ownership of utilities and services and higher taxes on the rich… Given their widespread backing, these policies surely at least need a hearing in the leadership contest of the dominant, purportedly left-of-centre party in Britain.”

In conclusion, this blog can only echo the article’s final words:

“If Labour MPs deny the party and the country a genuine debate, it will reflect disastrously on them. It will do whoever emerges victorious no good, either. Labour has just suffered one of the worst defeats in its history. If the party doesn’t have the good sense to have a meaningful debate now, you might wonder why it doesn’t just pack up. So come on, Labour MPs. Put your future careers aside for party and national interest.

“Lend Corbyn a nomination, and let a real debate begin.”

Hear, hear.

Appeal to abandon 10% pay rise to £74,000 for MPs – BBC News

Downing Street has made a fresh appeal to the body that sets MPs’ pay to abandon plans for a £7,000 rise.

It said in a letter to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority that the planned rise was “not appropriate”.

Ipsa has said unless there is “new and compelling evidence,” MPs’ pay will rise by 10%, from £67,060 to £74,000.

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said PM David Cameron was under pressure after many opposition MPs said they would give the money to charity.

Labour’s leadership hopefuls Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall have said they will reject the extra money and Labour leader Harriet Harman is thought likely to do so, our correspondent said.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, SNP leader Angus Robertson and Lib Dem leadership hopeful Tim Farron have all said they will give the money to charity.

Source: Appeal to abandon 10% pay rise to £74,000 for MPs – BBC News

Petitioners call on DWP to end appeal against publishing benefit death totals

Gesture of defeat: Let's hope public pressure forces Iain Duncan Smith to surrender the death statistics he has been guarding so jealously (not to mention suspiciously).

Gesture of defeat: Let’s hope public pressure forces Iain Duncan Smith to surrender the death statistics he has been guarding so jealously (not to mention suspiciously).

A petition demanding that Iain Duncan Smith withdraw the DWP’s appeal against publishing death statistics relating to disability benefits has been launched, in support of Vox Political‘s efforts to get the information out to the public.

It has been created by Maggie Zolobajluk on the Change.org website, and asks:

“Why does the DWP not want to publish these figures after being told that there is no valid reason why they should not do so?  Mr Ia[I]n Duncan Smith and the DWP are public servants whose salaries are paid for by the taxpayer.  He should publish the figures and stop wasting public money.”

It seems likely that it was created in response to a piece on Ros Wynne Jones’s Real Britain page in the Daily Mirror, in which she reported that the DWP has appealed against the Information Commissioner’s ruling that this blog’s FoI request is reasonable and should receive a full response.

The petition has nothing to do with this blog; Maggie Zolobajluk created it on her own initiative. That being said, This Writer obviously wants it to succeed.

If you support Vox Political‘s demand for the death figures to be published – free of DWP spin – then please visit the Change.org site, sign the petition and share it with your friends, along with a few words explaining why it is important to you.

Let’s make this happen.

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Homeless People Face £1,000 Fines For Sleeping Rough | Welfare Weekly

Homeless people face fines of up to £1,000 for sleeping rough in public doorways, under a new asbo-style rule introduced by a London Council.

Homelessness charities have reacted angrily to Hackney Council’s ‘Public Space Protection Order’, which they say “criminalises homelessness”.

The new order bans homeless people from sleeping in public areas and doorways and can be legally enforced through a £100 on the spot fine.

This fine could quickly escalate to as much as £1,000, due to additional court costs.

It remains unclear how the Council will expect destitute homeless people to pay up.

Source: Homeless People Face £1,000 Fines For Sleeping Rough | Welfare Weekly

Labour’s new MPs call for party to ditch New Labour and oppose austerity | Left Futures

This happened before Jeremy Corbyn announced his candidacy for the Labour leadership – and is noteworthy because it seems he has a ready-made support base among Labour MPs who are new to Parliament.

Ten newly-elected first-time Labour MPs have issued a call for the party to take on a bold anti-austerity agenda.

Their statement said:

“As we seek a new leader of the Labour Party, we are needing one who looks forward and will challenge an agenda of cuts, take on the powerful vested interests of big business and will set out an alternative to austerity – not one who will draw back to the ‘New Labour’ creed of the past.”

The MPs concerned are:

Richard Burgon (Leeds East)
Louise Haigh (Sheffield Heeley)
Harry Harpham (Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough)
Imran Hussain (Bradford East)
Clive Lewis (Norwich South)
Rebecca Long Bailey (Salford and Eccles)
Rachael Maskell (York Central)
Kate Osamor (Edmonton)
Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central)

Source: Labour’s new MPs call for party to ditch New Labour and oppose austerity | Left Futures

Britain’s Right And Their Opposition To Protest | Guy Debord’s Cat

Since the general election, there have been a number of anti-austerity protests up and down the country. The Tories seem to believe that because they won 24.3% of the vote, that should be the end of the matter. People should just put up with austerity. The Tories have never been known to brook opposition. If anything, they despise it. That’s why Thatcher abolished the Greater London Council and the metropolitan county councils.Yesterday’s anti-austerity protest on the day of the State Opening of Parliament is a case in point. UKIP’s sole MP, Douglas Carswell was caught up in the protests and like all good right-wingers, he lapsed into melodrama. He told The Guardian,

“It got extremely, extremely nasty. Their intentions were pretty murderous and I needed a lot of police officers to prevent them from attacking me,”

He had a bottle of water thrown over him. Wow.

Source: Britain’s Right And Their Opposition To Protest | Guy Debord’s Cat

One burning issue was entirely absent from the Queen’s Speech | Michael Meacher

When will this country (not this government) wake up to the fact that the collapse of accountability across the board in the UK is now poisoning the raison d’etre of our most important institutions?

Source: One burning issue was entirely absent from the Queen’s Speech | Michael Meacher

Cameron fails to rule out cuts to disability benefits | Society | The Guardian

Is this some kind of bait-and-switch routine?

Are the Tories trying to get us looking in the wrong direction so they can slip a very nasty policy or two into the July Budget while we’re distracted?

This seems possible.

The prime minister, who confirmed to MPs that he stood by his commitment during the election campaign to maintain child benefit in its current form for the next five years, failed to give a similar commitment on disability payments.

Government sources suggested that the prime minister chose his words with care to appease Iain Duncan Smith, who was angered when the prime minister ruled out any changes to child benefit earlier in the week.

The work and pensions secretary believes that restricting child benefit, which could save £1bn a year, could help Osborne achieve his cuts rather than “cheese paring” all benefits. Downing Street has now ruled this out and is also understood to be wary of cutting disability benefits, possibly by taxing disability benefits.

This means the burden of welfare cuts may have to focus on tax credits and housing benefit, which help low paid workers. But government sources said they would no longer give a “running commentary” on possible welfare cuts ahead of the budget to avoid binding ministers’ hands.

Source: Cameron fails to rule out cuts to disability benefits | Society | The Guardian