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Does Abstaining on the Welfare Bill Represents Labour’s Darkest Hour?


Any Labour MP who sat on their hands and refused to vote against Welfare cuts actually polished their steel toe cap, took careful and considered aim and then kicked their constituents squarely, and without equivocation right in the teeth. I don’t care about Parliamentary tactics and amendments. That is disingenuous crap. There is right and there is wrong. There is moral and immoral. MP’s had a clear choice what to do. Only 48 Labour MP’s did the right thing by their residents. Shame on the others. Shame on them.

Simples. I get that sometimes politics isn’t black and white. This something Danny and I discovered during the course of writing, “Through Red Lenses”.  For example the European Union as it stands represents a capitalist club which can only operate in the interests of big business. Any concessions are just that. But a vote for the UK to leave would throw up all sorts of problems including the triumph of xenophobia. Britain would become an even more horrible place if we decided to sit in splendid isolation. This is a nuanced issue and requires thoughtful analysis. As a Socialist I appreciate internationalism and creating a Socialist Europe is a must as Socialism in one country is ultimately futile.

The Tories Welfare Bill is nothing short of evil. Its putrid motives are obvious for all to see. The poor and the young are the ones to pay the price to try and keep capitalism afloat in the UK. The Tories realise that if they keep 80% of people neutral about things then that apathy allows them to pick of the margins.

According to Dr. Simon Duffy of the think tank Campaign for Welfare Reform the £12 billion cuts work like this;

“They target the very groups that a decent society would protect:

  • People in poverty (1 in 5 of us) bear 39%of all the cuts
  • Disabled people (1 in 13 of us) bear 29%of all the cuts
  • People with severe disabilities (1 in 50 of us) bear 15%of all the cuts”


I could go on…


We know the arguments. We know how rancid this Government is. They have no mandate for this and yet Labour failed to do the basic, just thing and vote against this raft of cuts which Bernados say will, “lock more children into poverty”.


This was truly Labour’s darkest day and perhaps the most pitiful thing about it was Andy “Flip Flop” Burnham’s assertion after the vote that Labour, “simply cannot abstain” on such an important Bill. His aim to be all things to everybody meant that his conscience was subverted by the needs of his career. Very sad. But when you have existed in the Westminster Bubble for so long it’s to be expected. What excuse did those from the 2015 intake have for such moral cowardice?


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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