The Attraction of EVEL 160

George Osborne has just proved that absolutely anybody can outflank the modern Labour Party to the left. Given that Labour were pledged to at least match Tory benefit cuts, Osborne’s raising of the minimum wage for over 25s, and tempering of the excesses of non-doms and buy to let landlords, make him look like Leon Trotsky when compared with Cooper, Burnham or Kendall. But then Donald Trump looks like Leon Trotsky when compared to Cooper, Burnham or Kendall.

As I hope I just made clear, I am not saying that this was a left wing budget. The continued wage freezes on low-paid public employees and the cuts and freezes to tax credits and other benefits (of which the details are smuggled in Sir Jasper’s cloak) will hit those already in difficulty hard. And if there is one thing of which we can be absolutely certain in modern Britain it is this. The cut in corporation tax will not result in increased spend on research and development or plant and equipment. It will go straight into executive salaries, perks and bonuses and shareholder dividends.

I am particularly sad at the final ending of student maintenance grants for the poorest. I was educated on a full maintenance grant, and would not have been able to write this blog otherwise. Of this I am sure. Taken together with the major reduction in inheritance tax, the abolition of maintenance grants is extremely retrograde and will help ensure that the poor are kept in their place and gilded youth, as Osborne, Cameron and Johnson were, well and truly advantaged through life, as though that needed further reinforcement.

When I was a very young man, proper socialists (of which I was not one) used to argue about palliatives a lot. Did measures like welfare benefits which apparently helped poor people, postpone the crisis of capitalism and the inevitable revolution? Should they therefore be opposed as unhelpful? Perhaps in darkest Salford there is an SWP branch still earnestly discussing this stuff.

But funnily enough I find myself continually rehearsing in my mind the same arguments in relation to Scottish Independence. I sometimes have to kick myself not to rejoice at the open cruelty of the Tories, which I have no doubt is making Scottish Independence not only inevitable but imminent. Real vulnerable people are going to be hurt by benefit cuts. We have to devise what mitigation through social action that we can. And in England, people don’t have the prospect of a different political system to anticipate.

My answer to the last point is that Scottish Independence will kick the UK establishment so hard that it is the best prospect of shaking up Tory domination of English politics. But the main point remains. I always predicted that the Tories would be back in power after the general election, though I expected it would be in coalition again. My wanting it or not was irrelevant to the fact it was pretty obviously going to happen. But I regarded the alternative prospect of a SNP/Labour coalition as a disaster, because it was the only outcome which realistically might put back Scottish Independence.

I was guilty of not saying that too openly during the election. Furthermore, English Votes for English Laws is entirely what I want to achieve, except that as a slogan it typically ignores the Welsh, Northern Irish and Cornish. The sooner there are no Scottish MPs at all at Westminster the better.

The incredible arrogance of the Tories in enacting EVEL, a major constitutional change, through amendments to standing orders is breathtaking in its audacity.

How far could they theoretically take this? For example, could standing orders say that male MPs can’t vote on certain issues? Or MPs under 50? Or urban MPs be excluded from voting on fox-hunting? The idea that fundamental constitutional change is simply a question of regulations on voting procedure is plainly intellectually indefensible. That it is happening is startling evidence our democracy is dysfunctional.

But it is all gryst to the mill of Independence. The more appallingly the Tories behave, the sooner Independence is coming. They could not possibly be doing more to promote Independence if they tried. I don’t think more than a tiny number of Tory MPs would like to see the back of Scotland, but I do wonder whether there is sub-conscious conditioning at work, as many of them believe England will be permanently Tory.

I don’t quite buy the SNP argument against EVEL that public spending decisions in England affect spending in Scotland through the Barnett formula. Or rather while it is true, I really can’t care overmuch. It comes back to those palliatives. I would much rather the Tories were just Tories, and isolated the Scottish MPs into the second class at Westminster. It will bring Independence sooner. When the Tories rejected every single amendment to the Scotland Act against 95% of Scottish MPs, solely by the massed votes of English MPs, while at the same time proclaiming EVEL, I was thrilled by their blatant hypocrisy. It will bring Independence sooner.

You see I don’t give a fig about the Vow or the Smith Commission. I don’t care who maintains the sewers or designs the road signs. I want my country to be free of weapons of mass destruction. I want my country to be free of the stigma of illegal wars. I want my country to be free.

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160 thoughts on “The Attraction of EVEL

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  • nevermind

    RD, pathetic attempt, show us any evidence of the 300.000 German POW’s returning emaciated and limp from the eastern fronts and beyond that were imprisoned in Flanders fields. The already very weak, were put on starvation rations by the USUK genocide guards, kept until dead, in holes in the ground, not many survived the harsh winter of 1946/47.

    Clearly this was retribution and genocide, all evidence was destroyed by the allies and the only evidence is locked up in the Red Cross archives in Genever, never to see the light of day.

    Your facetious accounts of Boris Yeltsins reign, showing Putin as an major ex KGB pin then, are noted, so are his attempt to save Radic from the charges today, he’s not different to our bastards here.

  • Resident Dissident


    Your selective view of history of course fails to mention the treatment of German POWs who fell into the hands of the Red Army.

    But cut it whatever way you want Putin is wrong in his genocide denial in respect of Srebrenica – two wrongs have never made a right. You are also wrong if you think I supported the corruption that occurred as well under Yeltsin.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Your facetious accounts of Boris Yeltsins reign, showing Putin as an major ex KGB pin then, are noted,”

    Since you noted them – perhaps you could tell me and everyone else where they are.

  • Daniel

    Ba’al Zevul @ 10.28

    I agree with that in principle in the sense that the state does need to encourage a sense of individual responsibility from here on in. However, it’s wrong to penalize existing families (and more to the point their children) for their past actions. They are where they are and that cannot be undone.

  • Dave Lawton

    The Truth about the EU was quite simple,but many were blind,we knew it was a scam years ago C.Gordon Tether wrote about the scam and for doing so lost his job after twenty years as writer of the Lombard column in the Financial Times.After which his writings were blacklisted.

    Here is a piece.
    “There is element of starry-eyed idealism in a pro-Market lobby – People
    who genuinely believe that the true interests of the peoples of Western Europe would be advanced by welding them into a European Super State ruled by a European Super Government. But it derives its formidable fire-power in the main from international Big Business interests–giant
    multi-national,industrial and financial conglomerates who have a considerable vested interest in
    removal of national boundaries and the emergence of a ‘one-world’ political and economic system.”

  • OldMark

    Your selective view of history of course fails to mention the treatment of German POWs who fell into the hands of the Red Army.

    Res Diss/Nevermind

    The mistreatment of German POWs continued after the war in the Soviet bloc, and both POWs and ethnic Germans suffered horribly in both Poland and the Soviet Union in the decade following 1945. Around 200,000 were worked to death in Poland, and wrt the Soviet Union, over 1 million German POWs are still listed as ‘missing’ by the German Red Cross- the great majority of these were also probably worked to death. The surviving German POWs in the USSR were not returned by the Soviets until after the fall of Stalin.

    In Germany it is widely believed that large numbers German slave labourers were used during the construction of the ‘seven sisters’- skyscrapers built in Moscow between 1947 & 1953, and to a high specification never before seen in the Soviet Union. Quite a few of the POWs would have received a technical education in the Realschule system to a level beyond that which prevailed in Russia during the Stalin era.

  • Resident Dissident

    Thank you Old Mark – even today residents in Moscow can point out the apartment blocks built by German POWs – which are viewed of being of higher quality than most of later apartments. Of course none of this, although interesting, Is of much relevance to Putin denying the genocide in Srebrenica or rewriting history about the Prague Spring.

  • OldMark

    Of course none of this, although interesting, Is of much relevance to Putin denying the genocide in Srebrenica

    Really Res Diss ? Srebrenica is being memorialised to death by the West in part because it was used as justification for Operation Storm a month later, the victims of which aren’t memorialised- rather as the the dead German POWs (many times more than the number of dead at Srebrenica) are also forgotten.

  • Resident Dissident

    Really not OldMark – genocides or mis treatment of POWs should never be used to justify each other. If you wish to attack Tudjman or Slobo for their myriad abuses of human rights please feel free to do so – but it still doesn’t get Putin off the hook for genocide denial or rewriting history in respect of the Prague Spring.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    RD, if you’re a genuine commenter, and I for one believe you are, do, please, take a little time to examine the issue further. I think you will find that the Russian POV is defensible in this instance. There is much to be said against both sides’ conduct.

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