Wednesday 20 March 2013


Yesterday New One Nation Labour did something shameful.

It agreed to an emergency session in parliament to change the law ex post facto in order to ensure that some of the UK's poorest people were done out of a payment to which the law said they were entitled. And then, whilst not voting with the government Labour ordered its members not to vote against them, allowing it to pass with ease. A few decent Labour MPs who remember what Labour used to be about defied the party and voted against the Tories.

The DWP failed in their responsibilities to explain properly the slave labour element of Workfare programmes, in which unemployed people are sent to work for nothing for certain down market grasping stores, and the penalty for refusing to do this work, or being dismissed from it, is sanctioning and removal from entitlements. 

The Court of Appeal in London found this to be illegal and clearly the unemployed people who had been sanctioned were entitled to reclaim the money that had been taken from them illegally.

Approximately 230,000 people were owed on average around £550 each.

With help from Labour, the government were able to get rid of that particular debt and deal with the judgement that it had broken the law...  by changing the law retrospectively.

When I started work in the employment business in 1996, there was a Tory scheme called "Project Work". It took long term unemployed people from the register for three months during which they were paid a "training allowance" (the same as their JSA +£10) and, following two weeks' induction, put them into "work" for 18 hours a week. 

Major's Tories had wanted to put them into factories and shops, but the unions, and Labour were resolutely against this, on the basis that a post filled by someone still on the dole, denied that post to a genuine jobseeker and subsidised the company by providing it with free labour. 

If a business required workers it should recruit them and pay them, the thinking went. As a result of this, work experience in 'Project Work' had to be in charities, churches and the likes.

Clearly New One Nation Labour no longer care about that. I can't help but think that it is time that the unions looked hard at how much they want to keep supporting this party.

Ironically, perhaps, the decision to back this, while it must have been backed by "Red" Ed!!!, came from Liam “I am afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck!” Byrne, the man who rented an apartment at £2,400 a month plus £400 a week for food, and tried to add room service to his expenses bill.

On a wider, and much more frightening level, the UK government has just crossed the Rubicon. With an unwritten constitution, parliament has set a precedent. Whatever displeases it can now be removed with retrospective legislation. The possible consequences of this are incredibly frightening.

The sooner we are out of this undemocratic union, the better.


  1. I hear that labour are joining up with Sally's Army as they also firmly believe in abstinence.

  2. God help the Sally Army

  3. tris

    Its a numbing feeling why they did it without even
    an proper explanation .(is there one)
    My take is that Labour believing the leftish vote
    is in the bag ??as they have nowhere to go.
    Did not want to alienate the anti welfare brigade
    in the south of England...and so abstained
    a dishonorable calculated political ploy.
    where has the morality beliefs and values
    of Labour gone??

    as I sure dont Fuc@ing know any more

    I am going though a painful existential crisis
    at the present time..I may not survive

  4. Tris

    It was a shameful exhibition by the Labour movement in parliament yesterday, they truly died as a left wing movement and I actually think this might just be the one that comes back and bites them big time in Scotland, not sure about England as like Niko says where do the left leaning in the South turn now, I would hate to think.

    Even today in Edinburgh it seems they abstained on everything which just goes to show how vacuous they are now and devoid of any meaningful ideas or talent for that matter. I don't think people or most will forget this one.

    There are also other issues which people need to consider, the lack of coverage by the MSM was nothing short of a disgrace and continues to be today. Our toothless press are running scared or are so ingrained in the union and establishment that they will do nothing even as this parliament have done something that no one has dared in a democracy ever in this country, they have overturned a ruling of a high court judge. The people have not reacted, the MPs on most sides support it so what is next. 1984 beckons me thinks.

    People in Scotland better wake up and get on the yes bandwagon before things get worse much much worse.

    The budget was also a shameful non-event for the working class and the poor while the rich will be delighted with there change in tax rate. What a shameful couple of days. Of course the devil and my getting poorer will be in the detail tomorrow when we find out the things Gideon didn't have the balls to announce today. Of course Labour will say.......well nothing really.


  5. hey Niko.

    You will survive. It is only politics, and let's be honest most politicians let us down.

    I worry that having chosen RED Ed, they are trying even harder not to alienate the Tory vote of England... one of the reasons that I am so keen to avoid having the south of England choose my government for me. They will always chose one that suits them... obviously (who wouldn't).

    You are right. They know that the left wingers will do what they always do, because there is no where else to go that isn't a little scary... Socialist parties... and in Scotland obviously the SNP.

    But this isn't the time to be ramming independence down your throat... It's a time to say to a friend...sorry. They let you down. Actually they let us all down.

    Bravo to the few that remembered why Labour was set up and why it exists, including Dundee's own Jim McGovern.

    Like I said Niko: You will survive; you'd better survive.

    It would be dull here without you...

    Cheer up mate.

    1. Tris

      About Niko and the left have nowhere to go in England, I have to disagree. Is it not about time that the true socialists in the Labour party grew a pair and took their party back. How long will the unions sit back and watch this shambles?

      It was hijacked by Blair and Brown and turned into a party that even Thatcher could have joined.

      This also applies to whats left of the socialists in that party that does not exist, Scottish Labour. Scotland is not well served with no effective opposition if you discount the BBC and the media. Time for true Labour members to get behind Allan Grogan and form a true Scottish Labour party.

    2. Well, Dubs, as usual you've made a good point there. Allan Grogan is a pretty fair old fashioned Labour man. He still seems to stand for the policies on which Labour is based, or was based prior to Brown, Mandelson and Blair.

      I dunno how Niko feels about Grogan. Obviously, it seems to me, the big problem is that Allan comes with "independence", and if you don't want that, you don't want it.

      I respect that view, but I also think that as part of the UK we will never get a Labour Party suitable for Scotland and its needs. It will always be a Labour Party bent out of shape to satisfy the aspirations of where the bulk of the population lives. And that is quite reasonable. You don't legislate for a little county in the north, especially if they always vote for you anyway.

      But seriously, if all your life you have thought about Britain as your country and London as your capital, it's maybe not that easy to change that view.

      You also make a valid point about the opposition. It is BBC Scotland (glad I pay them, NOT) and the written press.

  6. Well Bruce. I don't think they have much idea in Edinburgh. Anas Sarwar and Maggie Curren haven't been there to tell them how to vote.

    The budget is a joke. 1p off a pint as a sop to the working classes. I don't drink much, but I reckon a pint costs around £2.80. If you have 5 in a night that's £14, and it will now only cost you £13,95!

    Gideot hasn't a clue. He probably thinks 5p will buy the baby's food for a week.

    His way of getting the economy going is to ahve another attempt at getting people to buy houses, so that they can expand the prices again and make everyone feel rich. Brilliant.

    And as you say tomorrow is the detail day... and there is still another 1% reduction in public spending over the already announced reduction.

    But I note that someone at Barclays got an £18 million bonus, so that will be OK.

  7. Well why don't you stop prevaricating and as Hume said "proportion your belief according to the evidence"
    Even you can work out that with all London parties inextricably bound to appealing to voters in London and the South you will never get them to change and reflect what we want in Scotland???

  8. Sorry...comment was meant for Niko!!!

    1. LOL

      I was interested this morning to hear Mr Hesletine tell us that the country was too London centric... and that all the great cities were what made Britain great: Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol...

      And that, he said, was where the money should go. Top the regional enterprise offices.

      And he had travelled up and down the country (doubtless meeting hard pressed, hard working families) to come to that conclusion.

      So there you go... Heseltine hasn't heard of Scotland. But then he was never one of the huntin' fishin' shootin' Tories was he, he had to buy his own he probably never came here.

  9. Tris

    There are other things that really bother me about this budget, saying not putting fuel duty up will save me £25 over the course of the year. F**K me they are not taking more of my money and the media protray that as a boost to my income, what a sham.

    The supposed £700 tax cut from next year, yeah that will replace the tax credits I have already lost, the no pay rise, the inflation, the increase in fuel, heating, food, rent, insurance, changes to MOTs today which the bill for my old car goes up probably to the point that it might be worthwhile just getting rid of it as it's 10 years old and that prick Moore tells me it's a good deal.

    I so hate this country right now and the fact that people do nothing about it. Ok I just moan and hassle MPs and MSPs via email and twitter, try and ask hard questions and generally try and make fun of them in front of everyone on social media so others see it but when people do eventually take to the streets I am there this time and I have not done that for years.

    Bastards and bastard media.

    Bruce (sorry very angry tonight plus my 5 year old smashed my 51 inch plasma tv yesterday so not a good week) it was an accident still love him lol.


    1. Argh Bruce...

      That hurts, but hey 5 year olds will be 5 year olds...and you're so lucky to have him... sod the telly.

      But yeah, I noticed that we were all supposed to be over the moon about the tax reduction which won't happen till NEXT year. Well, no, it is good. No one living on under £10,000 should ever have been paying tax, but we need to remember that most people in that pay category have to pay £1,000 or so for their council tax!

      People in the pubs were supposedly happy that the beer was coming down by 1/250th of its price ...

      They'll be less happy when they find almost everything else is going up.

      The petrol story was made to sound like we were all saving money, but they have played this card every year. They might as well say, we are going to double VAT, then say that they are postponing it for a year saving us all thousands of pounds!

      We all do our bit by writing, by taking part in the social media and disseminating information.

      Tweeting and posting blogs on Facebook may help to get the message across.

      Anyway, cool it dude! Don't get too angry. That's not going to do you any good...just get a bit angry ...OK? :) So see you in Edinburgh in September, yeah?

  10. Tris

    Another one of the many things that truly gets my goat about Westminster is during the budget the big announcement that they are taking so many millions out of paying income tax by raising the threshold to £10000.

    What they are really saying is that is the amount of people in the FormerUK that are very poorly paid. If people were paid realistic wages they could pay proper taxes.

    1. I love the way that they portray it as a tax cut for the poor Dubs... It's not. It's a tax cut for David Cameron as well...

      I seem to remember that the tax threshold in France was above that 10 years ago!

  11. Budget 2013: Six Scary Graphs

    The ship is holed below the waterline so full steam ahead towards those rocks.

    1. Obviously we are better together going by these graphs. Did you notice Norway?

  12. Trade Unionists for Independence public meeting on "Why workers need independence"

    The meeting will be held tomorrow, Thursday 21st March 7pm at Renfield St Stephens Church Centre, 260 Bath St, Glasgow.

    1. Easy...

      The Tory Party led by Cameron; The Tory Party led by Clegg; The Tory Party led by Ed Miliband.

      Trades unionists will get sod all out of any of them.

  13. Cynical

    Will we be able to get a report on that meeting, how it went, how many turned up, that sort of thing. I doubt the BBC will cover it LOL.

    Is there a website for TU for Indy?

    1. Thanks CH

      Will look again tomorrow. I hope some more of the 500+ invited turn up, it certainly looks interesting.

      Very good article by Harry Patterson on the page.

  14. Falkirk Council Now Officially A One Party Dictatorship

    The meeting began with SNP leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, pointing out that the proposal was not only in breach of the 1989 Act of Parliament that guaranteed proportionality and therefore a breach of Falkirk Council’s own Standing Orders, the rules in which the council operate.

    Bizarrely Falkirk Council Chief Executive, Mary Pitcaithly, ruled that the report indicates an intention to change the Standing Orders at the April meeting it is therefore OK to ignore the current rules. A ruling which brings into question the role of senior officers in the process of change.

  15. Well, I guess if HM Governemtn can throw the rules to the floor and spit on them, so can Falkirk.

    They will make a terrible mess of everything though, and in the end do themselves more harm than good.

    Dying throes of a dying party.

    I really genuinely feel so sorry for Niko, who has believed in them man and laddie. This must be a terrible wrench to see these people turn into something monstrous.

  16. Ah, Niko, you are not alone in feeling let down by Labour. I discovered that a long time ago. Anyway, I don't know how to link to it but go to You tube and play "My wish" by Rascal Flatts and see if that makes you feel any better!

    I am genuinely shocked by Labour so I feel a blog coming on.

    1. blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog

  17. Niko

    Some of us got there a little before you - that's all. We've All been through this shock of being betrayed by New Labour.

  18. For Niko
    We'll wipe your tears,we'll ease your pain
    Come close,dear friend, and welcome hame
    We'll walk together, to a fairer place
    We'll never rush, you'll set the pace
    The road ahead though long and slow
    Takes one small step, and off we go
    Your tears will dry and soon you'll smile
    Just throw off the shackles of these people SO VILE
    No more will we hope to be thrown some crumbs
    Hearts throbbing together like the beat o' the drums
    Wi' shoulders pulled back and heads held up high
    And a plot in dear Scotland when each of us die

  19. Yes, I'll agree that this was an error in judgement.

    However let it be known many a good Labour MP rebelled, refusing to abstain 56 voted no, most of them were Labour MPs with good consciences.

    Evil prevails when good men do nothing.

  20. and that's exactly what most of the Labour MPs did, Dean, thus ensuring that evil will prevail?

  21. Niko:

  22. I'm not defending the indefensible this time John.

    To quote francis urqhurt, "you may very well think that, but I could not possibly comment"

  23. Hi Norwaywalker: Nice to welcome you to Munguin's Republic. And yes, I agree with you, and from the other comments, so do most of us.

    When you think back to the history of the Labour and Trades Unions movements were it's hard to accept what they have become.

    The bravery of the early trades unionists and the Labour Party members, the risks they took with their livelihoods, with their lives even, changed the way ordinary people lived.

    The stood for the poor, the badly paid, the badly treated, pensioners, and the sick.

    No one doubted they had to change. They changed life, and they had to adapt, but instead of being a Labour movement, it has become yet another club of people who went from relatively prosperous beginnings, though independent schools, Oxford and political internships to seats in parliament.

    What do people like Blair or Miliband know of being poor, or hungry, or cold? How can they have a clue what that feels like? They have far more in common with Cameron than they do with me.

  24. fairfor...

    I think you you set it to music. :)

  25. Dean: With respect I'd suggest it was more than an error of judgement.

    The state, in incompetence, took on average £550 in benefits from people who are living on next to nothing (around £67-71 a week). When the courts (which you'd expect the government to respect) ruled that they had done this illegally, the government changed the law retrospectively.

    Labour aided and abetted them.

    Firstly, they did people out of money that was legally theirs. That's theft.

    Secondly, the people they stole from are poor, by and large. That might not matter a fig to Tories (in general) but it should matter to Labour.

    Thirdly, they allowed the government to set a precedent to overturn any ruling on them by the courts, but enacting law ex post facto.

    Dangerous stuff here. And will this precedent be used against people like the Barclay's blokey who just got himself £18 million bonus? Nope, it will always be used against ordinary people.

    More than an error of judgement.

    Well done to the real Labour MPs who remembered why they were elected and voted against this.They never had any chance of preferment in any case, and probably most of them wouldn't thank you for a seat in the Lords. Just as well, because if they carry on in that vein they have no chance of either.

    I wonder what Ms Lamont thinks of the situation...

    1. Tris

      Interesting thing about this is that I think only four Scottish Labour MPs had the balls to vote against this bill.

      I always thought that Labours feeble fifty were the worst Labour MPs every but the present day even more feeble forty, minus the major, are a dam site worse.

      Over on Better Nation our old friend Duncan is trying to argue black is white.

    2. I know that Jim McGovern from Dundee West showed some guts Dubs... and I'm proud of him for that.

      That means that Dundee voted against it!

      But yes, imagine Labour guys in Glasgow explaining so some of the poorest people in Europe why they voted with the party of the aristocrat to steel £550 from people who had been forced into slave labour by said aristos.

      Maybe they are braver than we give them credit for.

      Or maybe they are just so assured that no matter what they will be elected next time round and they don't want to be falling out with Curren, who must be a terrifying sight when she's not happy.... or Bruiser, who might sit on them before or after giving them a doing!.

  26. Tris, sorry to rain on your parade but bruiser Davidson voted for good old fashioned labour principles. Though it must have caused him severe pain to be in the same lobby as the SNP,

    1. Thanks for putting me right on that Boorach. I can't abide the man; he's an oaf. But full credit to him here for voting against this.

      He must have some good in him.

  27. tris and others you know who you are

    But critics within his party accuse Byrne of failing to mount any significant opposition to the government's bill. "The problem is that Liam basically agrees with them," said one.

    Spot on I should say dont you???

    and this as well

    First, say many, is this Bill not retrospective legalisation of workfare? No. It categorically isn’t. If you don’t believe me, read the Bill. Here’s the link. This Bill restores to the department of work and pensions its legal power to sanction anyone who gets Jobseeker’s Allowance if they did not take steps to find work. It’s a power that government has had since 1911.

    Now, you might believe that governments should not have that power. If you do, then you should disagree with me and the Bill and most of the Labour party. Because Labour has supported this legal power for years and years.

    Well perhaps it was a good opportunity to gain maximum concessions from
    the Tory enemy rather than aid them to use this power.
    using liams sophistry we would still be hanging people and gays/ethnic minorities/ women would still be discriminated against.

    The problem is that Liam basically agrees with them,"
    and thats the truth

  28. @ Niko

    If the government had that power since 1911 the court could not have found against them.

    Nor was the bill retrospective, what it does is allow the gov't to apply sanctions retrospectively. They couldn't allow the court's judgement to stand as that would have meant them making payments (retrospectively) and that money is required to fund the millionaire's tax cut....... or even their new second homes budget award for the well to do!

    1. Boorach: When I heard about the find for mortgages, I thought 3 things:

      Wasn't the ridiculous increase in house prices responsible in part for the mess we are in? Why then repeat it?

      Didn't we give the banks hundreds of billions so they would have money to lend to people, business, whatever?

      Didn't Clegg set up some sort of housing loan system that no one took any money from, because they are sensible enough to know that if their jobs are on the line, it's better not to have a pile of debt round their necks?

      ... Now I see that it looks like the fund was set up to help millionaires buy second and third houses... and forth and fifth probably.

      The good old Tories, never let their jolly old chums down for long.

      Still, all you working class got a penny off a pint of lower order drink. Be grateful, you scum.

  29. Yes, I think that is the problem, Niko. Byrne is an ex fund manager; his base isn't in trade unions:

    Born in Warrington, Byrne was educated at Burnt Mill School in Harlow and completed his A levels at The Hertfordshire and Essex High School in Bishop's Stortford. He went on to study at the University of Manchester, where he obtained a First class honours in Politics and Modern History and was elected the Communications Officer of the University of Manchester Students' Union.

    He also holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School where he was a Fulbright Scholar.

    Before working in Parliament, he worked for the multi-national consulting firm, Accenture and merchant bankers, N M Rothschild & Sons, before co-founding a venture backed technology company, e-Government Solutions Group, in 2000. Between 1996 and 1997 he advised the Labour Party on the re-organisation of its Millbank headquarters, and helped lead Labour's business campaign under the 'New Labour' scheme.

    All from Wikipedia, but probably true!

    That's the NEW in NEW Labour.

    Like every other party, Niko, Labour's a broad church, but there are too few people now who know or care about the poor.

    I accept that the ruling wasn't about whether or not people should be made to work in slave labour, but about when people, even important ones that count like, IDS, make careless errors, and there is a court ruling, then the government should take its punishment...same as anyone else.

    I'm angry that Labour sat on their hands because they did want unemployed people to gain from the incompetence of IDS. They weren't going to bloody well gain. They were going to get THEIR money back. They had their money stopped illegally and Labour backed making it legal to diddle them out of that money. I bet you Liam wouldn't have been so quick to stop rich people getting their money back. Indeed, as I recall, he was sharp off the mark getting as much money from the state for himself as possible. Grubby little squirt.

    As a person who has worked in employment, I think work experience isn't a bad idea. But you can't have people working in private companies for nothing along side other people earning wages. It's not right. And labour shouldn't back that in any case.

    But they most surely shouldn't back cheating poor folk out of money, and they shouldn't support government being able to wave a magic wand and get themselves out of the shit.

    We have a monstrous government at the moment. I struggle to think of one human being in the cabinet. They don't give a damn about anyone except themselves and their own class! (Imagine having to say that word in 2013).

    It's not like any of it was working anyway. Britain is still completely and utterly gubbed.

    Labour should be opposing this government of Eton dummies not consorting with them.

  30. The reason Labour abstained is because they've let the Nasty Party do something that they'll find useful later if they get back into Government. Retrospective law (aka make-it-up-as-you-go-along) has now become a power reserved. What is proven though is that Labour have no principles nor morals and their only quest, their only doctrine is to gain power and hold it by any means, retrospective law making will be considered as one of those means in the future. Westminster is becoming very unBritish very quickly.

  31. Dcan more... hi and welcome

    True. This precedent is now set in the constitution (such as it is) and next time they want to make some legal, or illegal retrospectively, they will be able to claim that the Camergoon government set the standard.

    Very handy to get a set of immoral toffs to do your dirty work for you.

    The British aristocracy, nothing more corrupt this side of Kathmandu... or much the other side either!