Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Man of the Hour Corbyn Provides Refreshing Change

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Man of the Hour Corbyn Provides Refreshing Change

Article excerpt


BECAUSE of politics being exactly how it's portrayed on House of Cards and the West Wing and political thrillers, I imagine Northern Labour politicians have had a difficult week this week.

Having the bad cop whips put them in nipple clamps and threaten to expose the way they shop at Waitrose (and spend hundreds on Heston Blumenthal ready meals) until good cop Harriet Harman takes them aside and promises a new-build learning community centre cum ciabatta factory for their constituency if they will only agree not to vote against the benefits cuts, which will take PS300m out of the North East and reinforce the deadly myths about a big welfare load being the reason we need austerity.

Eight of them resisted. Notably, Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman, who drew up a motion saying they should reject the bill. She was recently shadow minister for welfare reform, so knows what she's talking about when she says that it would attack working families on low incomes, lone parents and sick and disabled people and their carers. Fellow North East rebels were Mary Glindon, Dave Anderson, Andy McDonald, Grahame Morris, Ian Mearns, Ian Lavery and Iain Wright. Writing it out like that reveals the statistic that 37.5% of the North East MPs who voted against the bill were called Ian.

This is probably not as relevant as the fact that several North East MPs abstained on a bill which will hit their North East constituents particularly hard. It feels unfair to pick people out but there are certainly a couple of newer North East MPs whose anti-austerity rhetoric would have led me to think they might stand a bit firmer.

None of them have yet come out like Andy Burnham and say that this is a terrible bill, a really rubbish bill which we must resist at all costs. Fight them on the barricades, protest, disavow and generally do anything we can to bring down. Oh, apart from actually vote against it.

No, we mustn't do that, because we must show party solidarity and also win our leadership election. …

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