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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  • Tony_0pmoc

    I am delighted, but even more than that, I am delighted that my Son’s Girlfriend kind of confided in me, as if I were her best friend – or her Dad.

    I don’t think the news has quite hit him yet.

    He’s going to be a Dad.

    It will be the best time of his life.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    One in one out…but what a way to do it!!! There is an old Lady – a complete “Character” who ran a farm and popularized it – making it “Family Friendly”. I can’t give any details…because I guess it will just be for Family & Friends…people she knew and loved.

    She died recently at a very old age…and is going to have a funeral that only she could have thought of…

    The finale – is going to be a massive Fireworks display – where her ashes will go up attached to a rocket and exploded in mid air – and all her ashes will be scattered all over the farm she loved so much.

    Now that is Class.


  • RobG

    Tony, talking of yoof, Mhairi Black, the youngest MP in the House of Commons for almost 400 years, has graduated with a first class honours degree in politics from Glasgow University:

    Just think, your grandchild could be doing stuff like this in just 20 years, as long as they don’t read the likes of the Daily Mail, in what will then be a full-on Orwellian state.

  • Mary

    O/T Ref London Tubes and biological tests in the 60s.

    Zinc cadmium sulphide, Bacillus globigii et al.

    Air drops over Norwich, Salisbury, Cardington, English Channel and the North Sea.

    How British government carried out secret biological warfare tests on London Tube passengers in 1960s during Cold WarNew research suggests Britons were exposed to chemical tests
    Biological warfare tests apparently more widespread than once thought
    Professor Ulf Schmidt said there were secret trials on the Tube in 1964
    ‘Mock’ chemical warfare tests on thousands of Britons from 1953 to 1964

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • John Goss

    “Where are Bob Crow, Jimmy Reid and Tony Benn? Gone but never forgotten.”

    I might even add Kier Hardie to that list, and a lot of others from earlier generations like Eric Heffer, Arthur Scargill, Jack Dash “Good morning brothers”, my old workmate, E.N. and one for Habbabkuk, Derek Robinson, whose mass media epithet H. once stole. But thanks Mary for the Huff Post article. The strike is justified.

    I think a lot of strikers can plead sickness for strike-days. I know I am heartily sick of the estblishment and its destruction of civilisation to make way for a robotic world. Wake up! Wake up before it’s too late.

  • lysias

    Many experimental exposures of U.S. populations by the U.S. government to chemical and biological agents. A History Of US Secret
    Human Experimentation

    Just some of the items in this chronology:

    1945 “Program F” is implemented by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). This is the most extensive U.S. study of the health effects of fluoride, which was the key chemical component in atomic bomb production. One of the most toxic chemicals known to man, fluoride, it is found, causes marked adverse effects to the central nervous system but much of the information is squelched in the name of national security because of fear that lawsuits would undermine full-scale production of atomic bombs. 1946 Patients in VA hospitals are used as guinea pigs for medical experiments. In order to allay suspicions, the order is given to change the word “experiments” to “investigations” or “observations” whenever reporting a medical study performed in one of the nation’s veteran’s hospitals. 1947 Colonel E.E. Kirkpatrick of the U.S. Atomic Energy Comission issues a secret document (Document 07075001, January 8, 1947) stating that the agency will begin administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects. 1947 The CIA begins its study of LSD as a potential weapon for use by American intelligence. Human subjects (both civilian and military) are used with and without their knowledge.

    . . .

    1950 In an experiment to determine how susceptible an American city would be to biological attack, the U.S. Navy sprays a cloud of bacteria from ships over San Franciso. Monitoring devices are situated throughout the city in order to test the extent of infection. Many residents become ill with pneumonia-like symptoms.

    . . .

    1953 Joint Army-Navy-CIA experiments are conducted in which tens of thousands of people in New York and San Francisco are exposed to the airborne germs Serratia marcescens and Bacillus glogigii.

    . . .

    1955 The CIA, in an experiment to test its ability to infect human populations with biological agents, releases a bacteria withdrawn from the Army’s biological warfare arsenal over Tampa Bay, Fl.

    . . .

    1956 U.S. military releases mosquitoes infected with Yellow Fever over Savannah, Ga and Avon Park, Fl. Following each test, Army agents posing as public health officials test victims for effects.

    . . .

    1966 U.S. Army dispenses Bacillus subtilis variant niger throughout the New York City subway system. More than a million civilians are exposed when army scientists drop lightbulbs filled with the bacteria onto ventilation grates.

    . . .

    1977 Senate hearings on Health and Scientific Research confirm that 239 populated areas had been contaminated with biological agents between 1949 and 1969. Some of the areas included San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Key West, Panama City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis.

    . . .

  • RobG

    Mary, the airwaves today have been full of voxpops where the public are moaning about the tube strike. About 15% to 25% of those striking today (depending on whose figures you believe) are actually people who drive the tube trains. The rest are ancillary workers on the tube, mostly on crap wages and conditions.

    The tube drivers get 50 grand a year and work less than 40 hours a week. The voxpops say that they earn less than half of that and are on zero hours contracts with no security, etc, yet the voxpops are still brainwashed enough to rubbish a group of other workers whose union fights for fair pay and conditions.

    50 grand a year in London is, thesedays, not a vast amount of money to live on, what with housing costs, etc.

    You can either be an obediant wage slave living in abject poverty all your life, or you can organise and form a union to fight back against these bastards who want to turn Britain back to the 19th century.

  • Mary

    Tommy Sheppard SNP is getting much applause from the Sheffield audience as he is speaking sense. This is how the Torygraph dissed him in May in an article entitled

    ‘The maverick SNP MPs heading to Westminster
    From one who joked “off with their heads” during the Royal Wedding to the man who called for Scotland to declare self rule, here are some of the new SNP representatives heading for Westminster;

    ‘Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East)
    Although the comedy club guru has made a career from making other people laugh, he has also shown a tendency towards using insults to further his staunch Republican credentials.

    During the Royal Wedding in 2011, he tweeted “off with their heads”, and added: “This might be a good time to declare a provisional government”.

    He started Edinburgh’s Stand Comedy Club as a hobby in 1995, and is still at the helm.

    The 56-year-old, a former Masterchef contestant, was previously a member of the Labour party and held high rank in Scotland.

    But he claimed he ditched his Labour membership because the SNP now stood for “equality and social justice”.’

    He actually sounds moderate and his comments are reasoned.

  • Daniel

    Sheppard was extremely reluctant to endorse Corbyn which I thought was strange.

  • OldMark

    ‘I could also add that the SNPs budget plans were for a slightly quicker reduction of the deficit than Labour – or at least that is what the IFS said in a report I linked too during the election.’

    Res Diss- the SNP also appear to speak with forked tongue on the issue of corporation tax, inasmuch as they argue for its reduction in Scotland but for the retention of the 20% rate in the rest of the UK. Mr Sheppard of the SNP had an awkward moment on QT tonight when attempting to defend the SNPs stance on this issue.

  • OldMark

    ‘Our economy’s based on a model which institutionalises large pools of unemployed (keeps wages down), and migrant labour (ditto).’

    I certainly don’t deny that Ba’al, or your contention that in the later Victorian era standards slowly improved for working people whereas now they are gradually getting worse- as the IFS has made clear today in their demolition of the claims Osborne made for his budget. It was just that Daniel seriously over egged the pudding when suggesting there is a direct parallel between benefit cuts now and the ‘less eligibility’ rules applied in Victorian workhouses.

  • K Crosby

    If you want your country to be free, you will need to dish the SNP as soon as it delivers independence and replace it with democratically-elected working-class MPs. No poxy FPTP or AV for a free country.

  • Savilestan

    Lysias, true, independence is conditional in that sense. But peremptory norms are a tightly restricted set. They are limited to non-derogable international law applicable in all regions to treaty parties and nonparties alike, subject to strict standards of universal recognition. To invoke that criterion to hang onto Scotland, the UK would have to allege serious crimes such as aggression, slavery, genocide, grave suspensions of non-derogable rights such as torture, or breach of fundamental principles of juridical order that every nation has a stake in. It cuts no ice that Britain doesn’t like it.

    In practice, Scotland’s declaration of independence has to acknowledge as its authorities the UN Charter, the International Bill of Human Rights, and the Rome Statute. That establishes responsible sovereignty. Other countries such as Slovakia and Slovenia have handled it with general but inclusive acknowledgement of rights and obligations. If Britain tries to pull an Ireland and provoke jus cogens violations with coercive interference, attacks on civilian populations, or a civil war, then Scotland takes countermeasures and the ICJ (or ICC) adjudicate.

    That’s why Scotland’s path to independence is to out-comply Britain. Scottish insistence on peace, nuclear disarmament, an end to impunity, and human rights including economic and social rights are unanswerable grounds for independence from a British state under ICC investigation for war crimes that breaches the ECHR and Vienna Conventions with unlawful surveillance and flouts the Declaration on the Right to Development.

  • Mary

    The attraction to evil.

    The IICSA has started with much publicity under Judge Goddard following the Butler Sloss and Woolf fiascos.

    Cost £millions.

    Length of time needed to report-5 yrs. (Vaz says 10 yrs!)

    Will any of the vile perpetrators be arrested? Not very likely. Most are dead or will be when this farce is completed.

    Child sexual abuse inquiry ‘could last until 2020’

  • Beanz counter

    Osbornes number are so cocaine simple, con the masses with ossterity and burrow £600billion ( to be paid when able by the next generation) over the life of this Parliament, to finance the tax cuts for the rich. This formula has worked in the US ($19t debt today) and over the last five years (£800b burrowed), the illusion of prosperity is maintained with all this money being pumped into the economy, and a Syriza to take over when the cocaine con collapses and the books cannot be balanced anymore. Simple.

  • nevermind

    Congratulations to your new found status as babysitter Tony, no doubt life will change for all of you, not just for the dad…..;)

    Roberto Saviano, Beanz counter, living in a secret cupboard somewhere, because the Mafia wants to cut him into little pieces, has written a new book on cocaine, how international banks have profited from it, and how they were kept in liquidity during the financial crash.

    I have not read it yet, just a short intro, but it sounds revealing.

  • Muscleguy

    @Ba’al Zevul

    Media studies are necessary to supply those sufficiently conversant to work in the Arts and Media which are huge export earners for the UK. Just because containers of it do not leave these shores in masses does not change that. Britain exports culture and is very effective at it. With the current account deficit at 5.8% killing the Arts and Media by depriving them of skilled staff would be very silly just to satisfy your ignorant prejudices.

    As for Sports Science, again there is money to be made there and great demand for such services. Again UK sports are exported across the world and there is strong demand to watch games in North America and Asia. Another export market you are ignorant of so you discount it.

    And finally the Social Sciences. I’m a Biomedical Scientist but I am happy to defend my colleagues and what they do. We have a friend who is a professor who very successfully researches productivity and things like workplace satisfaction and what firms can do to retain staff. Staff turnover is costly and disruptive. Just one example. Another friend, a professor emeritus earns export money advising foreign governments on economic matters. Again I suspect your ignorance of such matters is leading you discount that you neither know nor understand.

    Save us from such luddites as yourself. You would indeed be like Pol Pot. The world has changed and you have failed to change with it and so you want to destroy the changes. Get back in your cave.

  • OldMark

    Media studies are necessary to supply those sufficiently conversant to work in the Arts and Media which are huge export earners for the UK.

    Really Muscleguy ?

    How many-
    UK Booker prizewinners/nominees
    UK Oscar/Tony/Golden Globe winners/nominees
    Journalist of the Year winners/nominees

    Have Media Studies degrees ?

    I suspect the answer is very likely zero, or can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

  • Summerhead

    Mary – thanks for the post by the ASLEF train driver. I don’t know if you read the comments underneath it, but they were full of the usual foot-stamping envy and stupidity that seems to accompany every media story relating to rail workers, you know, people who say – we’ve got it bad so why shouldn’t everyone else have it bad too. Just another sign that the corporate media are winning in their attempt to demonize and divide the working class while the parasitic elite continue to rob us blind.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    Good post. In a post-industrial economy the media,sports and on contribute to GNP (although one should not of course over=estimate their contribution). And the further education tent should be big enough to let the kids who want to study those subjects do so.
    BTW and just out of interest, what’s your field within the biomedical sciences?

  • Porkfright

    Mary.7.56 a.m. I thought along these lines also. A large gravy-train going nowhere. Perhaps the long-delayed arrival of said train is all part of the plan.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Mary (07h56)

    As usual, sterile carping and negative speculation.

    Concretely – what steps would you recommend for improving and accelerating the process. What would be your recommendations – preferably in your own words as opposed to a cut-and-paste from somewhere?


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