Hell Yes! I’m Abstaining! The end of the Labour Party as we know it



Last night the Labour Party abstained from voting against the brutal, cruel and genuinely evil bill that I’ve seen in my life put forth by the Tories and that’s saying a hell of a lot. Today Labour leadership candidates, Labour MP’s and the handful of Labour supporters that think this was a smart thing to do are desperately trying to spin it but it’s not working. It’s pretty hard to present a party supposedly fighting for social justice when all their MP’s bar 48 abstained. In fact here’s a list of those Labour MP’s that did abstain so I suggest if your MP is on that list you let them realise your displeasure.

In fact Labour abstaining isn’t new. They’ve been doing this for five years, and only at the start of the year they did a similar thing in regards Osborne’s budget and essentially rubber-stamped Tory austerity. Even more in fact people have been pointing this out all the time but people like Owen Jones or various columnists at the Guardian and New Statesman would dismiss such claims, or you’d get crap that Labour have to be ‘pragmatic’ yet all the time Labour were standing for nothing and failing to stand against something. It went into an election like this, lost and still tries to carry on the same policies of abstaining when it can which results in last night when even the most ardent Labour supporter has to admit they fucked it last night, possibly they’ve fucked their party forever.

After all if the Labour Party doesn’t stand for social justice, or fight against a brutal Tory welfare bill and the SNP, Greens, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Lib Dems and even the hardline DUP vote against it as a party then Labour should realise they’re not in Star Wars speeding away from an exploding Death Star, but are actually sitting there supporting the Empire destroy millions. They’re on the wrong side and today, they realise that but you’d think they’d have learned from last night?

Nah, today was a debate and vote on George Osborne’s finance bill. Yes it’s the last day before the summer break but all the SNP MP’s were there and in a gigantic bit of brass neck decided to take the official opposition benches as there were no Labour MP’s to be found.


I’m sure the sight of 56 SNP MP’s sitting where Labour normally would is going to hurt some Labour supporters but Mhairi Black has a point here. Surely the point of an opposition is to oppose rather than sit back or support even the most abhorrent bill? If Labour can’t get their heads round that over the summer holiday then that’s it, they never will. At that point the left, especially in England, need to work out what to do next because there’s no point supporting a supine, spineless, cowardly Labour Party that’d rather throw the most vulnerable to the floor if it meant putting the party first.

Of course there’s still Jeremy Corbyn possibly coming in on his white stallion but with talk of a coup if Corbyn is elected leader, I don’t think he’ll save Labour. They’re too far gone. Their only hope is to split in two with the Red Tory faction carrying on and the more socially democratic faction joining with the Greens, SNP, Plaid and SDLP to oppose austerity. I can’t see any other future for them otherwise apart from irrelevance and a slow demise.

2 thoughts on “Hell Yes! I’m Abstaining! The end of the Labour Party as we know it

  1. Lifted from the internet, not saying its right………H

    i Tom. I just wanted to get your opinion on this post Tom Watson made on my facebook page a little while ago. I have huge respect and admiration for the man, and although Labour have made several fuck-ups over this welfare reform bill, Tom’s comments seem reasonable. Let me know what you think – and sorry for the extraordinarily long post (below):

    Tom Watson
    2 hrs · Edited ·
    I know a lot of members are angry about Labour’s position on the Welfare Bill. Many of them have contacted me directly. I share many of their concerns and to be blunt I think we have handled this badly.
    I want to explain how and why I decided to back our leader Harriet Harman..
    But first, let’s be clear about what isn’t in the Welfare Bill.
    The cuts to tax credits that will make three million low and middle income working families worse off do not form part of this legislation. Those cuts will be introduced in the Government’s Emergency Budget and in Statutory Instruments to be introduced in the autumn. I will oppose them.
    It is important to be clear about something else too. The entire Parliamentary Labour Party, including me, voted against the Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Bill on Monday evening.
    Harriet Harman tabled a Reasoned Amendment in Parliament that set out our opposition to the vast majority of the measures in the Bill and made it clear we wouldn’t allow a second reading. So we did collectively vote against the Bill.
    The Welfare Bill contained measures we support – including lower rents for families in social housing and the extension of apprenticeships. The Tories included them because they knew if we voted against the entire Bill we’d be voting against them as well.
    It is a source of regret that our Reasoned Amendment was only tabled 10 minutes before the deadline for submission. That is because our internal decision-making was too slow. By then it was too late to communicate our opposition to the Bill before social media had exploded into fury about the measures it contained. Without setting out a clear position early on we found it impossible to counter the argument we hadn’t opposed the most egregious parts of the Bill.
    One clear lesson we all need to learn is that as a front bench we must take good and timely decisions on legislation that properly holds this government to account. If we are serious about bringing our front bench closer to our members then we need to communicate our position much more quickly and more clearly to supporters.
    Our reasoned amendment to reject the Bill was defeated by the Tories, as we knew it would be.
    So when we then voted on the Welfare Bill itself I abstained, along with the majority of my Parliamentary colleagues after, Harriet had made the decision to do so.
    I’m not a serial rebel, although I have defied a three-line whip over social security spending in the past:http://www.newstatesman.com/…/labour-welfare-cap-rebels-ful…. But I did consider sharing the division lobby with Jeremy Corbyn on this occasion.
    In the end I chose to back Harriet Harman after she responded to colleagues in the shadow cabinet. Frankly both Andy and Yvette played their role in shifting our position so that we had an amendment on the order paper that expressed outright opposition. After that concession was made, I felt we should try to unify around our new position opposing the Bill. That didn’t happen because different parts of the PLP held diverging views about the best way to oppose the Tories cuts.
    The truth is if we are to hold our shape and remain unified there will be times when we are all going to have to give a little. For example, this is not the period in Labour history where calling people ‘morons’ because they hold a different view is going to help us maintain the solidarity we need to oppose the Tories effectively.
    This is the reason I supported Harriet, who is doing a difficult job in testing times when she is seeking a quieter parliamentary life. And we’re going to have to unify at the end of these internal elections – whoever ends up as leader.
    I know supporting Harriet angered many supporters because they have told me in the most direct way imaginable and I am very sorry about that. I hope this candid explanation shows that I am very alive to the fact that we need to sharpen up and show much clearer differentiation between the Tories and us on some of these key issues.
    On points of detail regarding the Bill:
    The Bill contains some measures we support (not least because many were lifted straight from our manifesto), including a commitment to three million apprenticeships, measures to cut council and housing association rents, and extra support for troubled families.
    George Osborne added these measures to the Bill so that he could spend the next five years claiming we’d voted against them. It was a typically cynical move from the Chancellor but we shouldn’t let that distract us from what matters most.
    What matters most is fighting the Tories and working hard in opposition to improve people’s lives where we can. We can make a difference from opposition and that remains our collective priority, despite what you may have read and heard in the media in the last few days.
    Our first amendment may have been defeated but the Parliamentary Party will now fight the Bill line by line, word by word, at Committee and Report stage. That work has already begun with the tabling of a list of amendments on the substance of the Bill that includes:
    · an amendment to prevent the Government abolishing the targets for reducing child poverty.
    · An amendment which will mean that the household benefit cap would not apply to persons who are responsible for a child under 2 years old, or a carer, or those who are in temporary accommodation because of domestic violence.
    · An amendment which will require the level of the household benefit cap to be reviewed every year, rather than only once in a Parliament.
    · An amendment which will set the target of full employment as 80 per cent of the working age population – in line with the Labour Government’s definition and recent research which shows that this would be an ambitious target.
    · An amendment to require the UK Commission on Employment and Skills to assess whether the Government’s target for apprenticeships is being met, so that the Government can be held to account.
    · A new clause preventing the restrictions to tax credits applying to three or more children where a third child is born as a result of a multiple birth, where a third or subsequent child is fostered or adopted, is disabled, or where a family with three or more children moves onto tax credits or universal credit in exceptional circumstances.
    · An amendment preventing cuts in the Employment and Support Allowance for people who have been through a rigorous test which has deemed them not fit for work.
    · An amendment requiring the Government to produce a plan to offset the impact of lower social rents on housing associations.
    We will force individual votes on each of these amendments and many others, so it will be entirely clear what we do and don’t support.
    To be absolutely clear: if we are not able to secure the major changes to the Bill that are necessary I will oppose it in its entirety when MPs return to consider it for a final time at Third Reading in the autumn.
    We may not have got everything right in the way things have been communicated by us as a Party in the last week but no one should doubt our intention to hold this Government to account when it seeks to write off the young and the poor, as it did in last month’s Budget. We will continue to take the fight to the Tories on this and other issues.
    One other thing – my sincere apologies for the delay in posting this explanation. I wanted to take the time to give you as full and honest an account of my position as possible. And that took time.


  2. It’s not a problem of communication Labour suffered, it’s a problem of principle and integrity. This frankly is nonsense and I expect better from Watson as saying ‘oh, I’ll oppose it on the third reading’ isn’t bloody good enough.

    Oppose it now. Fight, Make it a point of principle that because Labour like one or two things they have to haver over opposing the rest of the crap.

    And it’s not just the welfare bill. They abstained on the finance bill and there’s a list of coaltion/Tory bills they’ve abstained from over the last five years as long as my arm.

    No, Watson’s guilty of failing his constituents. Just endless tabling amendments isn’t going to achieve anything because right now it looks as if Labour don’t care of being an opposition.


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