This shocking travesty is why Labour may cease to be the UK’s official Opposition party

The UN has previously called on ministers to take more action to protect children’s rights in the wake of welfare cuts [Image: Christopher Thomond/the Guardian].

The UN has previously called on ministers to take more action to protect children’s rights in the wake of welfare cuts [Image: Christopher Thomond/the Guardian].

It is rumoured that the Scottish National Party may petition to be recognised as the UK’s official Opposition party today (Wednesday). There is a high possibility that the request will be granted.

This is the reason:

Yesterday (Tuesday), the United Nations published a damning report showing that the Conservative Government’s austerity policies breach the United Kingdom’s international human rights obligations.

This was a golden opportunity for the Labour Party – Her Majesty’s official Opposition party – to hold the Tory government to account for its actions – policies which have condemned vulnerable citizens to poverty, homelessness, and even death.

The Conservatives have been effectively rudderless since the EU referendum last week, and would have been a sitting target for a well-organised political attack.

But the Labour Party’s MPs were far too busy holding a contrived and pointless ‘no confidence’ vote against its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to do their duty.

The ‘no confidence’ vote was part of the attempted ‘Labour coup’ that has been planned by right-wingers in the Parliamentary party, most probably since Mr Corbyn was elected leader, in direct defiance of the will of the party’s membership.

For 172 Labour MPs, trying to shame Mr Corbyn into quitting (they cannot defeat him in a leadership election) was far more important than holding the Conservative Government to account and upholding the findings of the United Nations.

Not only have those MPs been derelict in their duty but they have also forced those who did not vote against Mr Corbyn to neglect that duty as well.

That is unforgiveable.

If the SNP does capitalise on the stupidity and selfishness of the Blairites, right-wingers and their followers, and gains the right to be called the official Opposition, This Writer could not object.

And if it does happen, one thing is certain in these twisted times:

Someone will try to blame Corbyn.

Now take a look at the wealth of ammunition the UN has provided us against the Conservative Government:

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has expressed “serious concern” about the impact of regressive policies on the enjoyment of economic and social rights in a damning report on the UK.

Based on evidence it received from Just Fair and other civil society groups, the Committee concludes that austerity measures and social security reform breach the UK’s international human rights obligations.

This was the Committee’s first review of the UK since 2009 and thus its first verdict on the Austerity policies pursued by successive governments since the financial crash. Over eight months the Committee conducted a dialogue with government officials, the UK human rights commissions and civil society groups.

In a wide ranging assessment, expressed in unusually strong terms, the Committee sets out the following findings:

  • Tax policies, including VAT increases and reductions in inheritance and corporation tax, have diminished the UK’s ability “to address persistent social inequality and to collect sufficient resources to achieve the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights”. The Committee recommends the UK adopt a “socially equitable” tax policy and the adoption of strict measures to tackle tax abuse, in particular by corporations and high-net-worth individuals.
  • Austerity measures introduced since 2010 are having a disproportionate adverse impact on the most marginalised and disadvantaged citizens including women, children, persons with disabilities, low-income families and those with two or more children. The Committee recommends that the UK reverse the cuts in social security benefits and reviews the use of sanctions.
  • The new ‘National Living Wage’ is not sufficient to ensure a decent standard of living and should be extended to under-25s. The UK should also take steps to reduce use of “zero hour contracts”, which disproportionately affect women.
  • Despite rising employment levels the Committee is concerned about the high number of low-paid jobs, especially in sectors such as cleaning and homecare.
  • The Committee urges the UK to take immediate measures to reduce the exceptionally high levels of homelessness, particularly in England and Northern Ireland, and highlights the high cost and poor quality of homes in the private rented sector and the lack of sufficient social housing.
  • The UK is not doing enough to reduce reliance on food banks.

Source: UK in breach of international human rights |

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9 thoughts on “This shocking travesty is why Labour may cease to be the UK’s official Opposition party

  1. Sammo

    Labour appears to be dying. Someone has to take the Conservatives to task. The party has been going for over one hundred years, Mike. Perhaps the kindest thing would be to let it pass and become like the Socialist Workers Party, with a leader loved by its membership and absolutely no possibility of ever putting any of its plans or principles into practice because the wider electorate turns their back on it.

    I suppose eventually Labour will schism into two or more parties.It will be interesting to see how well a Momentum dominated party does when pitched against a more traditional social democratic party.

    Thanks to Corbyn and his acolytes the 21st century looks set to be Tory.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You should be aware that the New Labour “empty suits” who are currently trying to bully Corbyn out of the leadership are nothing like a traditional social democratic party. Theirs would be a party of neoliberals. Corbyn’s Labour is the traditional democratic socialist party.

  2. foggy

    29 June 2016

    2.43 pm

    Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
    On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Page 49 of “Erskine May” refers to the official Opposition as “the largest minority party which is prepared, in the event of the resignation of the Government, to assume office”. The current official Opposition has lost two thirds of its shadow Cabinet. Their leader and what remains of the Front-Bench team no longer command the support of the overwhelming majority of their Back Benchers. They can now no longer provide shadow Ministers for large Departments of State. They are clearly in no shape to assume power or to meet the key responsibilities outlined in “Erskine May”. Given these obvious failings, what steps would now need to be taken to have the official Opposition replaced with one that can meet the responsibilities set out clearly in “Erskine May”?

    Mr Speaker
    I am familiar with “Erskine May”, as the hon. Gentleman would expect, and I am genuinely grateful to him for giving me notice of his point of order. I can confirm that the Labour party currently constitutes the official Opposition and that its leader is recognised by me, for statutory and parliamentary purposes, as the Leader of the Opposition. He will have noticed that I called the Leader of the Opposition earlier to ask a series of questions of the Prime Minister. He will also be aware that today we have Opposition business duly chosen by the Leader of the Opposition, as indicated on the Order Paper. I should perhaps add that in making these judgments and pronouncing in response to points of order, I do give, and have given, thought to the matter, and I have also benefited from expert advice. These matters are not broached lightly. I understand the vantage point from which he speaks, but he raised the question and I have given him the answer. We will leave it there for now.

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-06-29/debates/Hocdebdt20160629scrlgtghs_2Cgenerichdgod14tipointoforder/PointOfOrder

  3. mohandeer

    Now that the UN Report has ruled so decisively on the Human Rights violations we need an effective opposition to hold the Tories to account. Unfortunately the current Labour Party is failing the electorate and as always the party membership and instead focusing on serving their own self interests. You will despise me for saying this, but if they want Corbyn gone more than the Tories then the Labour Party do not represent my interests(or for that matter, anyone else’s interests except their own) and I would recommend the SNP’s take up the Opposition benches, preferably as a coalition with Green’s and Plaid and any centrist socialist party available. In 2020, I doubt that I will be voting Labour because I truly consider the right wing and Blairite majority as self serving elitists with no other agenda than holding power. They are feckless, out of touch, middle of the road Tory leaning opportunists and right now, totally lacking in any credibility or integrity. They really are no better than the Tories. I am not the only one who feels this way. Quite a few people are leaning toward Caroline Lucas, remembering that Natalie Bennett mentioned several times a balanced economic and ecological non-corporate strategy for fighting the Tory Kamikaze austerity pogrom, based along similar lines as Corbynomics.
    I feel sorry at having to leave Corbyn, McDonnell, Thornberry, Abbott, Livingstone and a few good ‘uns behind, but it was probably inevitable.

  4. foggy

    Point of Order

    29 June 2016

    Volume 612

    2.43 pm

    Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
    On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Page 49 of “Erskine May” refers to the official Opposition as “the largest minority party which is prepared, in the event of the resignation of the Government, to assume office”.
    The current official Opposition has lost two thirds of its shadow Cabinet. Their leader and what remains of the Front-Bench team no longer command the support of the overwhelming majority of their Back Benchers. They can now no longer provide shadow Ministers for large Departments of State. They are clearly in no shape to assume power or to meet the key responsibilities outlined in “Erskine May”. Given these obvious failings, what steps would now need to be taken to have the official Opposition replaced with one that can meet the responsibilities set out clearly in “Erskine May”?

    Mr Speaker
    I am familiar with “Erskine May”, as the hon. Gentleman would expect, and I am genuinely grateful to him for giving me notice of his point of order. I can confirm that the Labour party currently constitutes the official Opposition and that its leader is recognised by me, for statutory and parliamentary purposes, as the Leader of the Opposition. He will have noticed that I called the Leader of the Opposition earlier to ask a series of questions of the Prime Minister. He will also be aware that today we have Opposition business duly chosen by the Leader of the Opposition, as indicated on the Order Paper. I should perhaps add that in making these judgments and pronouncing in response to points of order, I do give, and have given, thought to the matter, and I have also benefited from expert advice. These matters are not broached lightly. I understand the vantage point from which he speaks, but he raised the question and I have given him the answer. We will leave it there for now.

Comments are closed.