THE government has been dealt a blow in the House of Lords after the Lords voted to delay tax credit cuts, until an independent analysis is made of them, and compensation paid to those affected.
The Cameron government is down, and screaming about the unelected House of Lords seeking to dictate to the elected House of Commons – however, it it is not out. This is because a ‘fatal motion’, tabled by the Lib Dem peer Lady Manzoor, which would have scrapped the bill and stopped the £4.4bn cuts to tax credits was defeated by 310 votes to 99.
This was lost after Labour decided not to support scrapping the tax credit bill as a whole in favour of a Labour-backed motion, moved by Baroness Hollis, to halt the bill pending independent analysis. Labour, when voting against the Manzoor resolution, decided to support a tax credit bill in principle, and not to seek to defeat the government. After propping up the Tories it now awaits Tory proposals.
The new Labour Party ‘left’ leadership of Corbyn and McDonnell, despite all of its anti-austerity propaganda, saved the government and embraced tax credit cuts in principle. It carried out a Syriza turn-around!
If the bill had been scrapped, the Tories would have faced the demand that they resign and would be now considering calling a crisis general election over who rules Britain – the unelected House of Lords or the elected House of Commons. This would be a repetition of Heath’s famous 1974 election to decide who ran the UK – the Tories or the trade unions, an election that he called and lost.
Where has this extraordinarily charitable attitude of the Corbyn-McDonnell leadership to the Tories come from. It comes from the fact that while right wing New Labour governments were unashamedly governments for the bosses and the bankers, the left Corbyn-McDonnell anti-austerity Labour Party leadership is incapable of going beyond left words to challenge the power of the Tories and bring them down. Like its inspirer Syriza it cannot match left words to revolutionary deeds.
In fact, Labour’s vote against Manzoor’s motion was prepared by McDonnell’s extraordinary letter to Chancellor Osborne on the eve of the vote. This ‘Dear George’ letter said: ‘Now, you, me and everyone else in Westminster knows that you will have to u-turn on this issue. However, you need to do it in full. It can’t be a fudge. Not some partial reversal that scores cheap headlines, yet leaves people still worse off or lands another burden on middle and low earners or the poorest in our society. You need to drop this policy completely.
‘I know first-hand that for politicians the fallout from changing policy can be tough. But sometimes you have to be big enough to admit you got it wrong and do the right thing. So I am appealing to you to put the interests of these three million families ahead of any concerns you may have about losing face and ahead of petty party politics. If you do, I promise you personally and publicly that if you u-turn and reverse this decision fairly and in full, I will not attack you for it.
”To restore faith in our political system it’s time that politicians stopped making promises at elections that they won’t keep when in power – this is the lesson the Lib Dems learnt the hard way on tuition fees. For the sake of those three million families, and the British people’s trust in politics, please see sense and fully u-turn on your cuts to tax credits.’
Instead of acting to bring down the political system Labour, led by Corbyn and McDonnell, were pleading with Osborne to help restore faith in it. Corbyn and McDonnell are playing the parliamentary game, seeking to maintain the unity of the crisis-ridden Labour Party by appeasing its right wing while preparing for an election in four years time. They are not challenging and fighting austerity by seeking to bring the Tories down.
The Tories now live to fight another day, and will shortly be bringing in extreme right wing anti-trade union legislation. They will also be selling off all social housing to create the greatest housing crisis ever. What this situation needs is not more parliamentary cretinism, but the building of the revolutionary party to lead the British socialist revolution.
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