Posts Tagged ‘Keir Starmer’

Jeremy Corbyn Blasts Universal Credit

October 23, 2018

As Mike has described in detail on his blog, Universal Credit is set to increase the misery of millions more people across the UK when it is rolled out across the country. Various Tories have made gestures of opposing it, but as Mike also explains, you can’t trust any of them. When Tory rebels have their bluff called, or the government offers just a token gesture to placate them, they immediately show their true colours: blue, all the way through. They automatically give in. And the Tories making noises about opposing it are doing no more than that: making noises. Heidi Allen made a great show of weeping in parliament at one woman’s description of the hardships she had suffered due to Iain Duncan Smith’s wretched brainchild. But when Labour made a humble petition to have all the documents published, which the government has not released on the effects of Universal Credit, Allen voted against it with the rest of the Tory party.

Hypocrites to a man and woman.

The Labour party is genuinely critical of Universal Credit, and will do something about it. And in this video, Jeremy Corbyn attacks it and reveals some of the changes he intends to make. He also talks about the mess Brexit has created regarding Northern Ireland and the open border with Eire. It’s from the Daily Heil’s channel on YouTube, but they seem to be letting him speak without misrepresenting him. Corbyn made the comments to them when he appeared in Bristol, and gave his opinion that British schoolchildren needed to know the complete history of the British Empire, and what it had done to the subject nations and peoples.

The video shows Corbyn getting out of his car in front of Bristol Cathedral and the city’s Central Library before going into City Hall, where he watches a video on the Empire. It then moves to him standing outside, with College Green and Park Street, including the Lord Mayor’s chapel, as his backdrop. He says

Three million families are going to be worse off by about fifty pounds a week from Universal Credit, 2.7 million more families will be forced into Universal Credit next year. So immediately we will say ‘We will stop this process and we will make sure that no-one is worse-off under Universal Credit. The experience of Universal Credit has been that the majority of people are considerably worse off, many forced into debt due to delays in payments and many, particularly in the private rented sector, property or home is put at risk because of it. This has got to change very, very rapidly. I raised it yesterday with the Prime Minister the question of the poverty that’s come about because of austerity and because of University credit.

He goes on, but it’s obvious there’s been a cut at this section of the interview.

Well, it would cost in the sense that we’re cutting benefits by Universal Credit, we would be maintaining existing levels of benefit immediately.

There’s then a question from the interviewing journalist, who asks about ‘those savings being built into projections of the country’s (path?)’

Corbyn replies that
That is the problem. The savings that are built in are at the expense of the poorest in our society.

Then comes the inevitable question: ‘so how will you pay?’

Corbyn replies

We’ll pay for it by increasing income from corporate taxation and the wealthiest in our society. We would not be taxing the lowest paid and medium income groups.

Another cut, then

I think it has to change, I think the system has to change dramatically and we will be using a more comprehensive system on this, but essentially our benchmarks would be: nobody should be worse off, nobody should have their homes put at risk because of Universal Credit.

Another cut, then

Well, I think it’s a very real threat, and the DUP are obviously speaking up for their own constituency on this, and indeed there is a great deal of unity on this amongst all political parties in Northern Ireland across all the political divide on having an open border with the Republic, obviously open trade and therefore a customs union within the European Union which reflects that, and I think their position is very real. We will judge this government against the six tests that Keir Starmer has laid out for us and we will vote accordingly in parliament, but we cannot support chequers.

Another cut, then Corbyn concludes

The government has had more than two years to negotiate this and still hasn’t made any progress on it. Quite simply there has to be open trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and that has to be the basis of any agreement.

Mike today reported that the DUP were threatening to vote against Tweezer and with as many as 40 other Tory MPs. May was seen blustering in parliament when it came to questions about Northern Ireland. She declared to do that Brexit was ’95 per cent complete’. Among the many excellent Tweets Mike has put up about this issue, from Clare Hepworth, David Lammy, Corbyn and Steven Swinford was a nice rebuttal from Dan Lewis, the NW Chair of the CWU. He reminded everyone that the Titanic also successfully completed 95 per cent of its journey.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/10/22/so-much-for-her-1bn-bribe-dup-turns-against-may-and-joins-the-eurosceptics/

Tweezer and her disgusting party are a menace to the British people. The poverty foisted on us through austerity and Universal Credit is killing people. And their debacle over Northern Ireland risks one of the essential pillars of the Good Friday Agreement. And if that goes, then the province really could return to murderous chaos.

Mike states that it’s possible she won’t last till the end of the week. I hope so. And if she’s pushed tomorrow, it won’t be too soon.

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Vox Political: Tory Win Vote Not to Take Child Refugees

April 26, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political also has a story reporting that the Tories have won a knife edge vote against a motion that would have obliged Britain to take in about 3,000 child refugees a year. The motion was tabled by the Labour Peer, Lord Dubs, who was one of those fortunate enough to be given sanctuary in Britain away from the Nazis through the Kindertransport in 1939. Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, has stated that this won’t stop their efforts to get the bill passed, and that the fight will go on.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/04/26/labour-says-fight-will-go-on-after-tories-vote-down-child-refugee-plan/

Mike has covered the problem of child refugees before. They were an issue twenty years ago, when Yasmin Alibhai-Browne in her column in the Independent urged Britain to take them in. The issue has become more acute since it was revealed that over a hundred of them have just disappeared after the Calais migrant camp, the ‘Jungle’, was levelled. Mike’s article on that incident highlighted the fact that the children were at risk, not just of poverty, but also of exploitation. He asked rhetorically if this was acceptable.

Simple humanity says it is not.

But apparently, the Tories think so. Or at least, if there’s a choice between saving the government and saving children, they’d rather bail out Cameron.

Vox Political: Six MPs Explain Why They’re Voting against Bombing Syria

December 1, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has posted six individual pieces about Labour MPs, who are against bombing Syria, in which they give their reasons for opposing the government’s policy.

They are

Cat Smith, the MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood,
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/cat-smith-labours-lancaster-and-fleetwood-mp-will-not-support-air-strikes/

Jo Stevens, the MP for Cardiff Central
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/cardiff-central-mp-will-vote-against-air-strikes-in-syria/

Matthew Pennycook, the MP for Greenwich and Woolwich
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/greenwich-and-woolwich-mp-weighs-in-against-air-strikes-in-syria/

Paula Sheriff, the MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/paula-sheriff-labours-dewsbury-and-mirfield-mp-opposes-air-strikes/

John Mann. Mann has criticised Corbyn about the way he handled setting out Labour’s policy, putting his own beliefs ahead of everyone else’s. But he is also going to vote against bombing Syria.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/john-mann-is-a-corbyn-critic-but-like-corbyn-he-opposes-air-strikes-in-syria/

And Keir Starmer, the Labour MP for Holbourne and St. Pancras, formerly Director of Public Prosecutions
http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/former-dpp-keir-starmer-is-no-pacifist-but-he-wont-support-air-strikes-in-syria/.

These give various reasons for not supporting Cameron’s decision. These include the lack of UN and international support, concern for the ordinary people caught up in the bombing and the further destabilisation that will occur, and the belief that bombing alone will not solve the problem. Starmer in particular makes it clear that Cameron’s statement that there are 70,000 fighters already in Syria willing to take our side is wholly unrealistic.

Mike has also written another long piece observing that the media seems desperate to make Labour seem responsible for Britain’s bombing of Syria, if this goes ahead, despite Corbyn and the majority of Labour members opposing it.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/12/01/syria-have-the-uk-news-media-ever-been-as-desperate-to-convince-the-public-of-a-lie/

This bias is shared not just by newspapers like the Metro, but also by the Beeb’s own Newsnight programme. The narrative being spun here is that if some Labour MPs do vote with the government, the bombing will be due to division in the Labour party. Mike observes that they’re desperate for a war and more blood spilt, but want to blame it on the Labour party instead of with the government.

I can’t say I’m surprised at the tactic. When Thatcher and Major were in power, the constant refrain from the Tories was that Labour was divided by factionalism, and hence a shambolic mess that shouldn’t be in power. Quite different from the confident and monolithic Tories, whipped into line by Maggie. This changed with the control-freakery of New Labour, but now that Cameron has emerged from the Left of the party – actually, the traditional centre ground before Bliar took it to the right – they’ve simply dusted off and revived that bit of Tory rhetoric. They’ve also remembered how unpopular the invasion of Iraq was, and how deeply Bliar and his crew have been resented for that. And so they’re determined to pin this on Corbyn’s Labour. Even though they’ve been loudly denouncing Corbyn for being somehow unpatriotic and openly supporting terrorism from the IRA to Osama bin Laden.

It’s unsurprising that most of the Tory media are against Labour. It’s also almost to be expected that Newsnight would follow suit. The Beeb is currently fending off Tory plans to strip it of the licence fee, or privatise it. Their response has been to roll over and adopt a fawningly pro-government position in the hope that it will somehow appease them. It won’t.

It’s also a strategy by which the media can hide their own volte face in supporting the bombing. Nearly a decade and a half ago, many Conservative MPs opposed the invasion of Iraq, and various Tory rags like the Spectator also took an anti-War line. Now they’re pro-war, in contrast to the grassroots of the Labour party, which is opposed to it. But it’s clearly an uncomfortable position. After all, Private Eye and other consistent critics of humbug by the great and good make a point of showing up cases where MPs and the media have changed their opinions when it’s been convenient. Their support for bombing now could cause people to question whether their opposition to the Iraq invasion came from genuine conviction, or simply because this time the calls for military action came from the Labour party. So they have to pass responsibility for bombing onto Labour, in order to avoid criticising their favoured party, the Tories, or appearing to contradict themselves by supporting military action in circumstances similar to Bliar’s invasion of Iraq.