Ed Miliband and the Labour Right’s Refusal to Oppose Sanctions

Back on Monday, or thereabouts, I put up a series of four articles on Workfare, drawn largely from Guy Standing’s A Precariat Charter, which has an entire section detailing why it is unjust, cruel, and just plainly factually wrong. Contrary to what we’ve been told, it does not help people into jobs. It may even do the opposite, as forcing people to perform deliberately degrading jobs intended to stigmatise them as one of the Nazis’ Arbeitscheu will demoralise and deter people from pursuing work, and not persuade them that it’s actually at all rewarding. There’s also, contrary to the lies peddled by the media, actually very little evidence for multigenerational families, who’ve lived without working. A couple of academics found that only about 1 per cent of Britain’s families actually consist of two or more generations of the unemployed. As for cutting down on expenditure on the welfare state, it doesn’t do that either. It’s actually far more expensive in terms of administration costs and subsidies to the companies taking on workfare labour than simply letting people draw their dole. It also has the effect of driving down wages for low-paid workers, and throwing permanent employees out of their jobs, and denying work to the short-term unemployed, who would otherwise be hired. But I suspect that’s the real point of it all: to supply cheap labour for big business like Asda, Homebase, Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and the other companies, who are part of the scheme.

Standing also shows how the Labour party backed the scheme, giving quotes in support of it from Liam Byrne and Ed Miliband. Stewart Lansley and Joanna Mack also have a very telling piece about Miliband’s attitude towards the unemployed in their book, Breadline Britain: The Rise of Mass Poverty (London: Oneworld 2015). When Cameron introduced sanctions against workfare, Miliband told his shadow cabinet that they were not to vote against them, but abstain. If they did not do so, they would be forced to resign.

A number of people have made this point before, including several commenters to Mike’s site and here, if not Mike himself. Johnny Void and Ian Bone, who are both Anarchists, were bitterly critical of Miliband because he appeared to offer platitudes instead of tackling Tory austerity. And they have a point. New Labour’s electoral strategy was based on copying the Tories in order to appeal to swing voters in marginal constituencies. One of them – I’ve forgotten who – even promised that once in power, Labour would be even harder on the unemployed than the Tories. And so Ed Miliband’s outright refusal to have the party oppose one of the worst aspects of the Tories’ austerity campaign against the poor and unemployed.

This is what the Blairite Right represents. They do not represent working people, but corporate interests and the middle class. And it’s because of policies supported by many of the parliamentary labour party, that so many are now in grinding poverty.

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11 Responses to “Ed Miliband and the Labour Right’s Refusal to Oppose Sanctions”

  1. joanna Says:

    How can I get a pamphlet please? I can’t put my address on here, sorry I don’t know how it works. Thank you Beast!

  2. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. Ulysses Says:

    Rachel Reeves was the tougher on welfare culprit…

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks, Ulysses. People have told me before, but I keep forgetting. There just seems to be so many of them willing to repeat vile Tory dogma.

      • Florence Says:

        Many of us would like to be able to forget Rachel Reeves dead eyed, dead voiced, zombie promise to hound the disabled and ill into destitution and death! Along with the pert promises of Cooper to out do the Tories on making the unwaged pay handsomely for societies ills the GE15 was for many of us the last straw. Jeremy Corbyn is finally hammering the nails into the coffin lid of austerity / neoliberalism in the Labour Party. Its going to be “interesting” to take part in the downfall of this brutal ideology, especially this pair of handmaidens of sheer evil.

      • joanna Says:

        Hi Beast my email is (-)

      • beastrabban Says:

        Thanks, Jo – I’ve got your email address. I’ve edited it out of your comment, as I didn’t think you’d want it displayed publicly for too long.

  4. Ed Miliband and the Labour Right’s Refusal to Oppose Sanctions — Beastrabban’s Weblog | The Greater Fool Says:

    […] via Ed Miliband and the Labour Right’s Refusal to Oppose Sanctions — Beastrabban’s Weblog […]

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