Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the Labour party has joined a number of the leadership candidates in what is fast becoming a competition to see who can most blatantly encourage hatred of claimants. Harman complained that Labour was seen as supporting “people on benefits” but not those who “work hard.”
Last week, in Labour leadership hopefuls queued up to kick claimants – even in speech to tax avoidance auditors we reported that a number of Labour leadership candidates, including Andy Burnham and Caroline Flint had sought to distance themselves from any appearance of support for people on benefits.
Burnham talked about some people believing Labour wants ‘to be soft on people who want something for nothing’, whilst Flint said Labour ought to start attacking benefits scroungers as much as bankers and should give people choosing to live off benefits a “kick up the backside”.
The attempts to denigrate people claiming benefits appear to based on the idea that Labour lost the election because it wasn’t tough enough on claimants.
Now, in an interview in today’s Independent, Harriet Harman has joined in the attacks. The paper explained that:
“Ms Harman believes a common problem all over Britain was that voters felt the party “doesn’t talk about me”. Labour was seen as supporting “people on benefits” but not those who “work hard.” She said: “It doesn’t matter how many leaflets you deliver if the message is not right.””
Labour’s Northern heartland is being urged to fight any plan for a 2015 coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2015.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has hit out at suggestions that Labour could work with the Lib Dems if there is no overall control after the next General Election.
Polls have suggested Labour could take the largest number of seats but not have enough for an overall majority, rasing the prospect of teaming up with the Conservative’s coalition partners.
Mr Lavery, chair of the trade union group of MPs, said the thought of Lib Dems seeking a possible deal with Labour after working with the Tories “is enough to make my blood boil.”
In an article on the future Government, the MP said that Lib Dems suggesting that there should be a coalition with Labour needed to realise that “in areas like mine, that position simply wouldn’t be stomached, either by voters or activists. In the event of a hung parliament with Labour the largest party, we simply have to go it alone.”
He later told The Journal that Lib Dem voters should “consider where their loyalties lie” adding that he would welcome them into the Labour party “with open arms”.
Writing for the Labour List website, Mr Lavery added: “The green benches in the Commons are increasingly populated by the elite and the political careerists. A minority of MPs have a working class background. We are in danger of no longer reflecting the people we represent.”
> Way too late, mate. The majority of the Labour party are part of the elite and the political careerists. Maybe you ought to be leaving them, and setting up your own party ?
Mr Lavery’s Lib Dem attack came after Unite’s Len McCluskey said any new coalition would only keep the country “bogged down in the same failed consensus”.
Last night senior North East peer Lord Shipley accused Mr Lavery of failing to recognise the will of the voters.
Lord Shipley, a former Newcastle council leader, advises the Government on city issues and helps decide where to spends its multi-billion pound regional growth fund.
> And since the North East has been on the end of cut after cut, I think we can make a guess at just what kind of advice he gives the government…
He said: “Ian Lavery should remember that the voters will decide who forms the next Government. If no party wins a majority of seats it means the electorate does not wish any of them to govern alone. If Labour tries to form a minority government in spite of the voters’ wishes, they won’t last long.”
> No, it’s the old lie : voters will decide who forms the next Government. All voters get to do is choose their constituency MP. No-one voted for the current ConDem government.
Mr Lavery, an MP who has previously spoken out in criticism of the party, stepped down as an parliamentary aide to Harriet Harman in 2012 after refusing to abstain on a vote to cut public sector pensions.
In his piece Mr lavery again raised party concerns, saying Labour is not doing enough to fight for workers’ rights.
“Sadly we’ve long since stopped talking about repealing anti trade union laws, but a consequence of neutering trade unions we have seen real wages falling for most people in work. For 45 consecutive months wages have declined in value,” Mr Lavery said.
> The trouble is, there is no indication that, should they become the government after the next election, Labour will do anything to reverse the ConDem excesses – quite the opposite.
People like Mr Lavery will have to decide which side of the line they want to be.
Source – Newcastle Journal, 28 Feb 2014