John McDonnell presented a very solid case for the current Labour leadership, despite loud but misguided opposition from other Question Time panellists, and even chairman David Dimbleby himself [Image: BBC].
Media coverage of the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday seems to have reached a consensus that Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, and Tony Blair’s former press secretary Alastair Campbell dragged it down to the level of a slanging match. They didn’t.
In fact, if you watch the programme critically, it shows Mr McDonnell defending himself against attacks from all four other panellists – and David Dimbleby to boot! – and coming out of it extremely well.
Yes, criticisms were aired. But they are old arguments, long since defeated in dedicated political forums such as This Blog.
Alastair Campbell said he was worried Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour appeals to a narrow base – it doesn’t. Labour’s membership is now the largest in Europe and they don’t all come from the same background, no matter how many times New Labour holdouts try to suggest it.
Mr Campbell said Labour needs a policy agenda that will allow it to win elections – but both current leadership candidates agree on almost every policy point (at least, they do if Owen Smith means what he says) so it isn’t an argument with which Mr Corbyn can be beaten. He followed this up with a warning that Labour couldn’t win on a “hard left” platform – but of course Mr Corbyn is a centre-left politician and would not propose hard-left policies.
He said Momentum, the organisation set up to support Mr Corbyn’s policies, is divisive. This is a point that can be argued about Progress, or Labour First which is currently trying to ‘rig’ Labour’s national conference, if secretary Luke Akehurst is to be believed. Much misbehaviour has been laid at Momentum’s door without the slightest scrap of evidence, and claims of anti-Semitism have been grossly overblown; accusations against individuals have been dismissed while the organisation supported Labour’s only Jewish candidate in the recent elections to the National Executive Committee.
He said Labour was slipping back into the politics of the 1980s, with a “nastiness” not seen since then – which is easy to say when nobody requests clarification of what it means. This Writer has seen no such slippage by the leadership, and any “nastiness” seems to have been initiated by the part of the party that Mr Campbell supports – anti-Corbyn MPs. There is far more to be said about this, though, and I hope to produce a useful article in the near future.
Mr Campbell said there is “an element that prefers power in the party to power in the country”. True – but I would argue that this element is the remnant of New Labour, rather than Jeremy Corbyn, his shadow cabinet and supporters. Look at the so-called ‘chicken coup’ of late June/early July. That was triggered by New Labour hangers-on who realised that Mr Corbyn was moving Labour in a direction away from their preferred policies – policies that had lost two general elections in a row. And (again) look at the antics of Mr Akehurst and Labour First – working to disenfranchise the vast majority of Labour members by arranging support for anti-Corbyn resolutions in the conference.
Mr Campbell also repeated the mantra that Labour needs to get Conservative voters to support the party. John McDonnell countered that, later in the programme, by pointing out that New Labour haemorrhaged five million votes between 1997 and 2010. This is a point that Mr Campbell hotly disputed – and wrongly. In the 1997 general election, 31.3 million people voted and Labour took 13.5 million votes. By 2010, Labour’s vote had fallen to 8.6 million – a drop of 4.9 million, which is five million when rounded-up. Mr Campbell cannot even argue that all those voters went to the Conservatives because the Tory vote was only 1.1 million greater than in 1997 and the number of people who voted in the 2010 election was 29.7 million – 1.6 million fewer than in 1997.
Mr Campbell also said the following: “The first line in our constitution is that we exist to be a force in Parliament. That’s why the MPs, the PLP, are so important and they are being sidelined.”
Give him his due: it’s the first decent argument I’ve heard for us to give extra weight to the support of the Parliamentary Labour Party for the leader. But there’s a fairly huge snag.
What is the point of having any Labour MPs at all if they are not following the wishes of the vast majority of their party – a party of more than half a million people – but have instead decided to pursue an agenda of their own, as the 171 or more rebels against Mr Corbyn’s leadership have done?
The very next line in the constitution states: “The Party shall bring together members and supporters who share its values to develop policies, make communities stronger through collective action and support, and promote the election of Labour Party representatives at all levels of the democratic process.”
Clearly, this means representatives – which means MPs among others – are elected to enact the policies developed by Labour Party members and supporters – not to ignore the wishes of their party and engage in egotistical and wasteful acts of rebellion.
So, according to the party’s own constitution, the Labour rebels have broken their own rules and will need to account for their behaviour in the future.
Now look at John McDonnell’s comments – most of which were made in response to attacks by other panellists.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has won every Parliamentary by-election that has taken place. It has won all the mayoral elections. It equalled Ed Miliband’s Labour, at its highest, in council elections, and overtook the Conservatives in the polls. The last point was, again, hotly disputed – but is up for debate. Polls are weighted, and the current weighting is based on voters’ choices in the 2015 general election. Those choices are unlikely to be repeated now as the UK’s political landscape has undergone an upheaval of seismic proportions since. The raw figures are the best indicator of current feeling, rather than any weightings. This is why I say the matter is up for debate: I haven’t seen the polls that were released around the end of June, when Mr McDonnell claims Labour edged into the lead. If anybody can provide the information – weighted and unweighted, please – then the results could be illuminating.
It is certainly possible to argue that Mr Corbyn’s leadership was “laying the foundations for electoral victory in due course”, as Mr McDonnell stated.
He continued: “People will not vote for a divided party… A group of, unfortunately, people within the party weren’t willing to accept Jeremy’s mandate, they launched what is effectively a coup and we’ve gone through a couple of months of, I think, absolute distraction.” Right again – can anybody argue against Labour having lost the whole summer, when it seems clear Mr Corbyn will win the current leader election with a larger mandate?
David Dimbleby, in the chair, then tried to derail Mr McDonnell by asking him about his self-description as a Marxist, revealed in a 26-second video clip from an event in 2013. The other panellists and the QT audience found this hugely amusing, by Mr McDonnell explained that he was a socialist but had been putting himself in the position of being a Marxist to describe the 2008 crash – or at least, that’s how I interpreted it. In the clip, he said: “I’m a Marxist; this is a classic… capitalist crisis. I’ve been waiting for this for a generation!” He got a laugh then, as well – before going on to make his main point that a system based on greed does not work. Considering he was discussing the crash that could have destroyed the global economy, he made a good point!
Anna Soubry, the Conservative representative on the panel, then had her go: “There are a number of Labour MPs who are good and honourable. Decent people, who believe in things I don’t agree with, but they add value and they are… there to do a job… hold my government to account, and to represent those of you who are not Conservative and make sure that your voice is heard and democracy prevails, and many of those people are frightened – so frightened, humiliated, almost terrorised, by Mr McDonnell and his gang. They will leave politics, and that’s bad for politics… As a democracy, we need good, strong oppositions who are credible, who test government… That’s why we’re in the position of relying on the SNP to do the job of opposition. Shameful.
“There are colleagues of mine in the House of Commons, Labour MPs who are at the point of being terrorised by McDonnell and his cronies. There are women MPs who suffer day in and day out from misogynist unpleasant sexist abuse on Twitter, on Facebook, from people who apparently are within their own party. There is a Jewish Labour MP, a woman, who is living in a safe house. The levels of anti-Semitism she has to bear, it is a disgrace, it must stop, and you, sir, can stop it.”
The first point I would make in response to this is that any Labour MP who lives up to the description Anna Soubry gave them in that little speech should seriously consider their political allegiance. But what kind of Labour MP was she really mentioning? The kind that held David Cameron’s government “to account” over Libya, perhaps, when 557 MPs voted to support military action and only 13 voted against it? How many of those 557 were Labour MPs? I don’t know but I can name two Labour MPs who opposed it: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. And now we know that they were right to do so.
Secondly, there is absolutely no evidence that any intimidating behaviour whatsoever is the responsibility of Mr McDonnell or anybody connected with him. None at all. Claims have been made but we have yet to see any solid evidence to support them. Meanwhile, Mr McDonnell – and Mr Corbyn – strongly oppose any and all abuse, both within the Labour Party and beyond.
That’s what he said: “We’ve made it clear time and time again: We will not tolerate abuse within the Labour Party. We have condemned it time and time again. Every time there has been a level of abuse… if we have identified the individual, they will be out of the party and suspended, simple as that.”
Nobody can argue against this; Labour is currently undergoing what has been labelled a “purge” of members – largely seen as an excuse to eliminate Corbyn supporters from the leadership election, admittedly, but while it is taking place, nobody can say Labour is not taking action.
Mr McDonnell continued: “We’re not accepting this smear campaign that’s going on, from the Tories and others as well.
“We have been working over the last year, to unite the party, and we were winning electorally and in the polls. Yes, a coup was launched by a small minority who could not accept Jeremy’s mandate – Jeremy was elected on the basis of 59.5 per cent of our members. We are now going through a democratic election. Once that election is over, whoever is the leader… we will unite behind.
“And we have been an effective opposition – in terms of defeating the Tories on tax credits, on PIP – the cuts for disabled people – and a range of others.”
The SNP’s representative on the panel, Joanna Cherry, then decided to chip in, saying: “We’ve just seen the Labour Party tearing itself apart on this programme.”
She was wrong. We had just witnessed John McDonnell defending himself eloquently against a Conservative and a former Labour Party employee, both of whom had their own reasons for attacking the current representative of Labour.
It fell to an audience member to put the errant panellists in their place. Asked to comment by Dimbles, the young woman said: “Young people see these politicians and won’t go and vote because they aren’t inspired by them and don’t believe in them.
“Young people are inspired – I, personally, am inspired by Jeremy Corbyn, because he is honest, he goes into Parliament in a suit which doesn’t cost … thousands, and he didn’t claim that [back from] taxpayers’ money. And he tells the truth. I find that totally inspiring.”
For someone to believe that, after the other panellists and Mr Dimbleby himself had spent most of the programme trying to destroy Mr McDonnell’s credibility, he must have had a pretty good argument.
Own up: How many of you stayed up into the wee hours to watch TV coverage of the local council elections?
If you did, you would have witnessed a curious phenomenon. As the Conservative Party lost seat after seat (at the time of writing they have lost 113 seats altogether) and Labour won seat after seat (currently 125 seats better-off), the pundits sitting around David Dimbleby on BBC1 started telling us this put Labour in the poor position!
This, we were told, was because UKIP’s performance heralded the arrival of “four-party politics” – but does anybody believe that? UKIP won protest votes against the UK Coalition government’s policies at a time when elections to the European Parliament were also taking place. Anti-immigration feelings have been stirred up and people have been led to believe – wrongly – that a vote for UKIP will cut off the flow.
In fact, UKIP did damage Labour in areas like Swindon, where they took working-class votes and enabled the Conservatives to hold that council with a slightly increased majority.
But the ‘Purple Peril’ did far more damage to the Conservatives, with Essex Man and Woman voting very strongly for it.
What does this mean, translated to the Westminster Parliament?
The answer is, it’s difficult to judge. Turnout was only around 36 per cent – half the number who take part in a general election – because faith in democracy is so low. This means any predictions are more likely to be wrong than right.
But if the results are replicated, then the Conservative Party will lose seats to UKIP and it is possible that Labour will become the majority party in a Hung Parliament, and then…
… UKIP will do a coalition deal with the Conservatives because Nigel Farage wants a taste of power, and we’ll end up with five more years of David Cameron.
To avoid this, Labour will have to consolidate its gains and show that it can make a real difference where it wins.
A good start would be to cut the harmful social policies in Hammersmith and Fulham, which Labour took from the Tories last night. H&F was once dubbed David Cameron’s favourite council. Why? Well, a recent Guardian article showed that the council was selling off its housing stock at an increasingly accelerated rate, while forcing homeless people into temporary accommodation outside the borough. Ending this wrong-headed nonsense would be a good start.
The new Labour administration could re-examine the planned closure of Sulivan Primary School in Fulham, which won an award from London Mayor Boris Johnson at the end of last year after it “succeeded against the odds in improving pupils’ aspirations and achievements”. According to The Guardian (again), campaigners fighting to save Sulivan say it has been targeted because there are plans to turn the site into a new Free School, part of Michael Gove’s silly pet project that has been haemorrhaging money.
And Labour could halt the Earls Court Project redevelopment scheme, which will knock down elderly residents homes – buildings which are perfectly sound – in order to replace them with “impossibly expensive” flats.
The Guardian (yet again) states: “To the Tories of H&F, though, such things are of no value if there’s more money to be made from tearing them up, clearing them out, knocking them down… The council and its friends do not see what they are doing as wrecking. They see themselves as grand creators. They see those they would push aside not as citizens to be considered but non-believers, blockages, impediments; as inefficiencies that have to be squeezed out.”
Labour would score hugely if it took a stand against this merciless money-driven destruction of a neighbourhood that belongs to ordinary people.Elderly people, in fact. Not only are they vulnerable; they are also voters.
So let Hammersmith & Fulham become the example Labour holds up to the nation: “This is what we can do across the country, if you only give us the chance!”
One thing’s for sure – whatever Labour does there, The Guardian will be watching!
Results are still incoming from the council elections, so undoubtedly the ‘expert’ opinions will change before the end – and then we have the European election results to come on Sunday.
A quick anecdote about that: Yesterday evening Yr Obdt Srvt was at a meeting on a completely different subject (a local festival here in Mid Wales – I’m the organising committee’s secretary). Afterwards I was chatting with a friend about the election when a young man approached us in search of the nearest polling station.
My friend passed on the directions and the man thanked us and started on his way. “Don’t vote UKIP!” shouted my friend.
Friends in right-wing places: Nigel Farage with (among others) US right-wingers Ron Paul and James Beeland Rogers Jr. [Image swiped from Pride’s Purge.]
LBC radio interviewer James O’Brien’s encounter with Nigel Farage has been gaining attention and approval up and down the UK, after it became clear that the charismatic UKIP leader wasn’t just defeated on many issues – he was routed.
Considering Farage’s own win against Nick Clegg in the televised debates earlier this year, it seems we’ve come to a lamentable situation in this country, where politicians can lose a battle of wits with anyone who has taken the time to do a little research.
That being said, if anyone were to ask who you would prefer to have running the country, it’s unlikely that either profession would figure in the top two.
The interviewer confirmed the findings of many social media bloggers over the past few days, starting with reference to two more UKIP members who had shown their true homophobic and hypocritical colours.
He quoted former UKIP council candidate John Lyndon Sullivan, who tweeted: “I rather often wonder, if we shot one poofter, whether the next 99 would decide on balance that they weren’t after all. We might then conclude that it’s not a matter of genetics but rather more a matter of education.”
And UKIP’s small business spokesman has employed seven illegal immigrants in the last year, said Mr O’Brien.
Farage employed the usual UKIP tactic, which is to demand that the questioner find out “what’s going on in the other parties”. O’Brien put him straight by pointing out that the other parties weren’t the issue at hand.
Later in the interview, he added: “The reason it doesn’t possess the same urgency as the UKIP conversation does is – (a) – the question of quantity; there is simply not the avalanche of bigotry emerging from other parties that emerges from yours, and – (b) – … the opinion polls do not report significant swathes of the country who are fearful that your party represents deeply divisive and racist ideas.”
He was saying it is possible that UKIP is influencing people into adopting those anti-immigrant and racist ideas themselves – and this theory has been borne out by some of the pro-UKIP comments on the Vox Political Facebook page (but you have to catch them quickly, before the perpetrators realise they’ve erred and remove them).
Regarding JL Sullivan, Farage said he wasn’t a councillor but a council candidate, then contradicted himself by saying he had not heard of that gentleman’s name. If that were true, how would Farage know whether he was a councillor or a candidate?
Farage’s assertion that he would face a disciplinary charge on whether he had brought the party into disrepute was punctured by the revelation that his tweet was made in February.
On the illegal immigrants, Farage’s defence was holed by the revelation that his small business spokesman resigned as a company director three days after the immigration raid.
A conversation about Farage’s discomfort, sitting in a train carriage in which nobody else spoke English, was surreal. When I was a student I had the unique pleasure of sharing a carriage with a crowd of French schoolchildren. That was uncomfortable too, but I didn’t attach any unreasonable baggage to it – it wasn’t an indication that French kids were overrunning Britain and it didn’t show that the French were all loud and overexcitable. It was one train carriage and Farage should have more of a sense of proportion.
O’Brien put his finger on the nerve and pressed hard: “The point you’re making is that schools in the East End are filled with children who cannot speak English. .. That’s not true… Children who are typified as speaking English as a second language would include your own daughters… Perhaps [if we checked] we would realise that most bilingual children in this country are children like yours?”
He continued, highlighting accusations of bigotry and hypocrisy: “What the caller asked you was why so many people think you’re racist… and… you talk about children who can’t speak English as a first language without mentioning it includes your own children.”
There was an implication that Farage, who has banned former members of the BNP from joining UKIP in an effort to protect the party from adverse publicity, has himself associated with the far-right organisation; and a question over the far-right parties with which UKIP sits in the European Parliament. Farage said UKIP would not sit with people who didn’t have a reasonable point of view but O’Brien flagged up a member of the group who had said the ideas of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, Islamophobe, Anti-Semite and anti-feminist, were “in defence of Western civilisation”.
Farage’s paper-thin defence was that the European political discourse was very different to the UK, (again) an admission that his party had encountered problems with “one or two members”, and a reference to problems in other parties (the Conservatives, on this occasion)
O’Brien leapt on this: “Your defence so far is that you’re no different from any other political party and yet your unique selling point … is that you are different.” In addition, he pointed out that Farage refers to “members of the political class and their friends in the media”, while writing columns for the Independent and Express newspapers every week and appearing on the BBC’s Question Time more often than anyone apart from David Dimbleby.
Farage should count himself lucky he was not also asked about his connections with American right-wingers, including Ron Paul (Godfather of the Tea Party) and James Beeland Rogers Jr who, together with George Soros, engineered the British economic crash of 1992.
Farage tried to defend his way of equating Romanians with criminality by saying that Roma people in other countries have been forced into a situation where crime is their only option – and then was forced into a corner when O’Brien mentioned UKIP’s fearmongering poster, that claims millions of potential immigrants are after the jobs of British people. Wasn’t he demonising foreigners by saying they will take all the jobs and push crime up?
“I’m not demonising anyone,” said Farage, then contradicted himself: “I’m demonising a political class that has allowed us to have an open door that allowed things like this to happen.”
“So when I say Romanian and you start talking about people traffickers, why don’t you say people are perfectly entitled to feel uncomfortable about living next door to people traffickers, wherever they’re from?” asked Mr O’Brien. “Why do you say ‘Romanians’?”
Get ready for another contradiction: “I didn’t say Romanians; I was asked… if a group of Romanian men moved in next door to you, would you be concerned, and if you lived in London I think you would be.”
It was while Farage was being questioned on his expenses that Patrick O’Flynn, UKIP’s director of communications and former Daily Express political commentator, stepped in (claiming that O’Brien was over-running, 19 minutes into a 20-minute interview). Mr O’Brien’s response: “Is this a friend in the media or a member of the political class?”
Homophobia, racism, hypocrisy, and an incitement for others to display the same characteristics.
Does this country really need that kind of alternative to mainstream politics?
If you weren’t watching the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday, you didn’t miss much; questions about whether the young and poor should pay to maintain the lifestyles of the rich and old, and about whether the police should have shot unarmed Mark Duggan were deflected by Tory Nadine Dorries and Lib Dem Norman Baker – lamely, but that’s all they need to do with Dimbleby in the chair to protect them.
Dorries reckoned Mark Duggan was seen with a gun in his hand and threw it away but my information is that no witness actually said this. If so, then she should have been corrected but wasn’t – that’s the level of information you get on QT these days.
Then they moved on to immigration, and we got the wonderful speech by the lady in the YouTube clip above. She might not be the most sophisticated speaker ever to grace our screens but I, for one, don’t care a jot!
She made a point that Dorries, Baker, and particularly Dimbleby – look at the way he tried to shut her down – didn’t want aired: That this government is using the non-issue of Romanian and Bulgarian immigration as cover for its real work – destroying the National Health Service and the welfare state in order to force poor people to take out inadequate insurance against poor health and unemployment instead.
Let’s see more people doing the same on future editions of the programme.
The Establishment (including the BBC) want to keep you quiet, so just go out and make sure these people fail.
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Finger-wagging rant: One tweeter commented, “You just KNOW IDS wanted to call Owen Jones a pleb back there…”
Iain Duncan Smith probably went home last night feeling satisfied that he had done his job well, putting forward his case for benefit cuts that will push thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands – of people out of their homes, on the BBC’s Question Time. After all, he had the last word, didn’t he?
Perhaps he didn’t count on the absolute twatting he received from the inhabitants of the social media.
Those who had seen the show wasted no time in putting forward their opinions about the clash between Smith and socialist “braying jackal” Owen Jones. Here’s what happened and what they said.
The question that sparked the clash was about whether the Work and Pensions Secretary’s plan to cap benefits would push large families out of their homes in London.
Yvette Cooper, also on this week’s panel, said the full consequences of the benefit cap and other measures being pushed through by the government were pushing up homelessness. “We’ve seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of families – families with children – living in bed and breakfast accommodation… That costs us a huge amount more… It’s a mix of the housing benefit changes but also the benefit cap – the way they have been introduced.”
Then Owen Jones stepped into the ring: “The reason this whole debate has become so toxic is a cynical demonisation campaign of people on benefits by the government,” he said. It’s as if he has been reading this blog.
“What they have tried to do is redirect people’s justifiable anger over ever-declining living standards from those at the top who’ve caused this crisis to people’s neighbours down the street. The working poor against the unemployed over benefits. Non-disabled people against disabled people. Private sector workers against public sector workers over pensions.” Absolutely correct, as pointed out and reiterated here many times in the past.
“Housing benefit is not going into the pockets of tenants, it’s lining the pockets of wealthy landlords charging extortionate rents,” he said, going on to utter something indistinct because others were talking over him. The impression I got was that he was saying successive governments, New Labour included, didn’t build council housing.
He went on to point out a statistic that the Tories have worked very hard to bury: “Most new claimants of housing benefit are in work; they don’t have enough money to pay extortionate rents.” Again, factually correct – and one must ask why employers do not pay enough. Why do they ask the government to subsidise the workforce?
“If we built housing in this country, we’d bring down the welfare bill, stimulate the economy, and create jobs.”
Having scored his first few points, Mr Jones went for the knockout blow. Although blocked in his first attempt to mention the disabled, he tried again: “There is a point that has to be made about the treatment of disabled people in this country, and there are two names I want to give Iain… Brian McArdle, 57 years old, paralysed down one side, blind in one eye; he couldn’t speak. He died one day after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos. Another example – Karen Sherlock.”
For those who don’t know, Karen Sherlock was a desperately ill woman, suffering from kidney failure, whose Employment and Support Allowance was cut off by Iain Duncan Smith’s minions. She died on June 8 this year, apparently of a heart attack, after an operation was cancelled. Read her story here.
This is where IDS lost it. Irately wagging his finger in Mr Jones’s general direction, he barked: “We’ve heard a lot from you. I didn’t hear you screaming about two and a half million people who were parked, nobody saw them, for over 10 years, not working, no hope, no aspiration. We are changing their lives; I’m proud of doing that. Getting them off-benefit is what we’re going to do.”
What he didn’t say was, “We’re changing their lives for the better.” As for getting them off-benefit – that’s a threat, if there are no jobs for them to take (and there aren’t – or at least, not enough).
And that was the end of the programme. Owen Jones later commented that, as chairman David Dimbleby was finishing up, “a protestor yelled about Atos and left – not sure that will come across because it descended into total chaos.” It didn’t, but it would be interesting to know what their point was.
Jamie Laverty made a point about it: “Woman shouting about Atos on BBCQT – how symbolic. The BBC fails to listen to the people whilst giving the Tories a soapbox.”
Then came the verdict. Nathaniel Tapley saw through the Secretary of State straight away: “IDS thinks it’s unreasonable for anyone to receive more than £35,000 pa from the state. And claimed £98,000 in expenses last year.” Hypocritical? I think I’ve written a blog about that…
‘The UK today’ tweeted: “Only the wealthy moan about benefits for the poor but don’t complain about the bankers and shareholders who created the present problem.”
Mark Ferguson of LabourList tried sticking to the thrust of the question: “Shockingly, London MP IDS seems totally ignorant about the impact of his own government’s housing benefit cap in the capital. Astonishing.
“Build more houses, lower the cost of renting, save money on benefits. It’s not f*cking rocket science is it?”
To Iain Duncan Smith, it is. He’s a Tory, Mark! You’re suggesting they lay out money on public works. They don’t do that! Their plan is to hold money back, and use it to say they’ve balanced the books a bit more. Pointless and utterly unworkable in the long-term, but it is what it is.
Jenny Landreth made the point that’s been on everyone’s mind about housing benefit: “Do benefit claimants profit from their rent being paid? No. Landlords do. They are the reason the rents are high. HELLO?” Exactly right. Perhaps it’s time to change its title to one that is more appropriate, like Landlord’s Benefit?
John McDonnell MP applauded Mr Jones: “Well done for getting the tragedy of Mr McArdle and barbarity of Atos on the record. We must never forget or forgive this cruelty.”
Finally, there came the comments on the cabinet member himself.
Zoe Williams, Guardian columnist, tweeted: “‘we’ve heard a lot from you’ IDS says to Owen jones. Only narrowly avoids adding ‘oik’.”
Matthew Walker added: “IDS has finger wagging rant at Owen Jones – he just needed to finish with ‘you need a damn good thrashing, lad’ and it would have been perfect.”
Simplem+ths: “All that remained was for IDS to say ‘shut it you fu#@ing pleb best you learn your [email protected]#ing place'”.
And the amusingly-named ‘Jeremy Twunt’ concluded: “You just know IDS wanted to call Owen Jones a pleb back there…”
Isobel Waby went for the jugular: “Iain Duncan Smith is an insult to the British people. How dare he undermine the British people, insulting our sick, disabled, unemployed kids?
“He should be sacked NOW… MPs’ inhumanity to the less fortunate.”
And Gracie Samuels made the most telling point: “The lying bastard he’s killing people, BBCQT, and we were not allowed to discuss it.”
But Diana Foster put viewers’ fear into words when she tweeted: “Disability hatecrime up, IDS gets final say – giving impression he’s whiter than white and no disabled people are affected by reform. Disgusting.”
Well, if Mr Smith (I never call him ‘Duncan Smith’ because that kind of attempt at a double-barrelled name is nothing other than pretentious) is reading this, I wonder if he’ll still be putting that appearance in the ‘plus’ column. The net result, according to the public is that he is ignorant, cruel, an insult to the British people, inhuman, a lying bastard and disgusting. Wag your finger at that, Iain!
Since IDS got the last word on television, let’s give the last word here to Owen Jones: “Blimey, thanks everyone. But what a a shame that stating the bleeding obvious on telly is such a revolutionary act.”
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