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.


160 thoughts on “The Attraction of EVEL

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  • Mick McNulty

    Without welfare there would be uprising before the rich had time to acquire everything. With welfare they can actually buy time.

  • Mary

    Thanks Summerhead. Yes I did read the comments. Worthy of the Mail or Torygraph. ‘Where do they all come from?’ as the first line of the Beatles song asks.

  • Mary

    Yes Porkfright. The coverup will continue whatever this New Zealand judge promises. The establishment think we were born yesterday.

  • Robert Crawford

    Dear Mary.

    Your post are so informative (pure dead brilliant!).

    I came across the following in my search to find something which might help the eradication of the possible cancer in my lungs, after the cancerous kidney was removed.

    This diet is suitable for everyone who cares about their health. Check out this if you care about your own health, especially if this government is experimenting with your reaction to things they may be doing secretly to you.

    http://www.budwig-diet.co.uk

    You will be shocked at what you must not eat.

    Look after yourselves,”Good folk are scarce”.

    PS. Congratulations Tony and family. Whisper, whisper Tony, they always knew what to do!

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Mick McNulty 10 Jul, 2015 – 10:36 am :“Without welfare there would be uprising before the rich had time to acquire everything. With welfare they can actually buy time.”

    Yes Mick, and another aspect of that :

    If you earn a living wage, you are in charge of your own destiny, but when your wage is topped up to a living standard by welfare payments, the state controls you.

  • glenn

    Node (11:03) – I’ve been wondering about that for a while. Not only is the taxpayer backstopping the inadequate wages of corporations, which is another huge taxpayer handout to the investor class, but it gives the state a significant leverage on the lives of millions.

    Withdrawing of state benefit as a punishment for whatever is deemed misbehaviour might prove irresistible to an authoritarian administration. Attending protests? Support the wrong causes? Hiding something? Committed some misdemeanour that annoys the state? Read a wikileaks memo? Then the state may not grace you with a subsidy.

  • Robert Crawford

    Do English people living in Scotland get to vote for an English Political Party? Yes, of course they do. Then, Scots living in England should be able to vote for a Scottish Political Party.

    Come on with your democratic answer.

    Come to think about. Why are the English not allowed to vote for a Scottish Political Party? Because if a Scottish Political Party was allowed in England, Tory and Labour would feel threatened by democracy.

  • MJ

    “Come on with your democratic answer”

    I’m not aware that there are any English political parties standing in England, let alone Scotland. We only have parties that stand throughout Great Britain as a whole. There is no law preventing regional parties from standing in any UK constituency.

  • Mary

    Global Justice Now

    MEP rollcall for 8 July vote

    We’ve come a long way, but not far enough in our campaign against TTIP, the dangerous EU-US agreement. Despite the work of many Member of the European Parliament (MEPs), including half of the British representatives, we lost the vote on the European Parliament’s TTIP resolution on 8 July.

    Fortunately the vote was just a position statement and not a binding vote on TTIP. But it gives us an idea of how parliamentarians might be voting when they do vote on TTIP.

    We’ve found out who voted which way and by clicking on your MEP, you can send a tweet to thank them or express your regret.

    Key:

    Colour Green
    Didn’t vote for TTIP! (45)

    Colour Orange
    Abstained (1)

    Coloured Blue
    Didn’t show up to vote (7)

    Coloured Red
    Voted for TTIP (20)

    Four of the 10 South East MEPs voted for TTIP. Three of those are Conservative and one LD.

    http://action.globaljustice.org.uk/ea-campaign/action.retrievestaticpage.do?ea_static_page_id=4182

  • MJ

    “China’s stock market is apparently in freefall”

    It’s up almost 5% today. It’s fallen 30% over the past couple of weeks but there again it almost doubled in the previous six months.

  • Beanz counter

    @Mary – A big thank you for your informative posts. CM in his greater wisdom tolerates the rubbish here for reasons only known to him.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    John Goss, 10 Jul, 2015 – 12:12 pm : “O/T China’s stock market is apparently in freefall. I wonder how that will affect the Dow Jones!”

    The big players make their biggest profits when the stock market fluctuates wildly. The Dow Jones will react according to the big players’ best interests.

    I suspect that the Chinese stock market is experiencing these difficulties as a result of deliberate manipulation by big players. They are flexing their muscles as a warning to the Chinese government after it clamped down on margin trading.

  • MJ

    “It’s still going to affect oil prices”

    The article to which you linked states that the fall in the oil price is due to over-supply, principally as a result of Saudi Arabia cranking up production. No mention of China.

    The point of the deliberate over-production is to harm Russia, the world’s largest oil exporter, but obviously western oil companies can’t take the hit indefinitely. Russia and China have already tied up a long-term oil and gas deal with invoices settled in roubles and yuan, not dollars.

  • fred

    “The article to which you linked states that the fall in the oil price is due to over-supply, principally as a result of Saudi Arabia cranking up production. No mention of China.”

    Saudi exports a million barrels a day to China.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    ““It’s up almost 5% today. It’s fallen 30% over the past couple of weeks but there again it almost doubled in the previous six months.””
    ________________

    The UK stock marker fell by a far higher percentage at a certain moment back in the 1970s. As far as I’m aware, it recovered within a year or two and the country survived.

  • lwtc247

    ” It will bring Independence sooner.”
    – You say this a few times in the post Craig, but I’m forced to disagree with you. To be independent Westminster has to legislate for it. If it’s stuffed full of Unionists (Tories original flavour, NuTories and Tory’Democrats’) then I’m afraid you’re smoking a left over pipe. Of course there’s always revolution, but nobody is prepared to go down that road.

  • MJ

    “To be independent Westminster has to legislate for it”

    Which it did, stuffed with Unionists or not, only last year. The Scottish people voted decisively, 55-45, against independence. Not a very strong basis for revolution. Craig has great difficulty acknowledging that the majority of his beloved Scots disagree with him.

  • Porkfright

    What would your suggestions be, Oh mighty and wise one? From what I hear and have read, enquiries will continue apace regarding suspects amongst Joe Public and Celebs and Ex-Stars. But we have had this side-show already. Nothing happening in the other places. I for one haven’t been asleep or a sheep.

  • Ba;al Zevul

    Media studies are necessary …

    Oh, ffs. Allow me a rant now and then, please…

    That said, I’m all for exports, but tangible exports are the priority. And expertise in the realm where hands get dirty.

    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.

    Bill Gates and others are way ahead of him there. The knowledge exists, and it’s scarcely rocket science. Give em a share and a say, and they’ll stay. Doesn’t need refining until it is generally applied. See also ‘Clare in the Community’ for (humorous*) counter-examples.

    BTW, if you work in a university, how’s the management for you? Got enough layers between you and any possible input?

    Another friend, a professor emeritus earns export money advising foreign governments on economic matters.

    What does that prove, beyond the sheer gullibility of governments? So does bloody Tony Blair. And he didn’t predict the banks would go tits-up either.

    Again I suspect your ignorance of such matters is leading you discount that you neither know nor understand.

    I suspect you are leaping to conclusions, haven’t got anything but anecdotal support and can’t resist an ad hominem.

    Notice on uni toilet roll holder: ‘Get your Arts degree here.’

    *admittedly relies on the assumption that you do humour.

  • MJ

    I think media studies should be compulsory in all schools if it means that kids are trained to look critically and dispassionately at everything the media throw at them.

  • Ba;al Zevul

    I think media studies should be compulsory in all schools if it means that kids are trained to look critically and dispassionately at everything the media throw at them.

    Would enthusiastically agree, if that were what media studies did.

  • Mary

    38 Degrees Mayfair Tax Loophole 10 July 2015
    https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2015/07/09/were-making-progress-on-closing-the-mayfair-tax-loophole/

    ‘Massive news: we have a chance to get the Mayfair Loophole closed by next week. That’s the tax-dodging loophole that 38 Degrees members exposed: the loophole that lets super-rich finance bosses get away with paying a lower rate of tax than nurses and teachers.

    Now, the government has finally made a move to fix it. That’s a huge victory for hundreds of thousands of us who threw this tax dodge scam into the limelight, and kept on the government’s case. But they haven’t closed the loophole yet.

    The government know they can’t get away with this for much longer. They want to look like they’re siding with ordinary people, not the super rich. So let’s pile on the pressure to make sure they finish the job.

    Will you sign an emergency petition to the government’s finance minister, David Gauke, to demand he closes the Mayfair Loophole? We only have a few days. It’s because of 38 Degrees members that this loophole was exposed. Together, we put pressure on the government by convincing Labour, the SNP and the Greens to come on side. We pushed it into the media, held public meetings and built a huge petition to spread the word.

    So it’s down to us that the government’s current plans to close the loophole will bring in over £200m a year. That’s money that will pay for our NHS and schools. But if we don’t act now, no one is going to step in for us. This is our job to finish.

    Please add your name to the petition now. We’ll deliver it to Parliament next Tuesday, when all MPs are coming together to debate this issue. And we’ll throw the kitchen sink at getting MPs to vote to close the loophole properly. But for our petition to make an impact at the debate, it needs to be massive.

    38 Degrees members stand together to fight for fairness. It’s hard to believe that money which should be funding the NHS is being handed to millionaire finance bosses instead. Let’s show that when it comes to tax dodging, we don’t give up halfway.’

  • RobG

    RE: the CSA inquiry set-up by Theresa May: the inquiry has no statutory powers; it can’t make witnesses testify under oath; there won’t be any willing testimony from people who fall under the Official Secrets Act, because earlier this year May & Co voted down a motion to waiver the OSA in relation to the CSA inquiry…

    http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5529/ministers-block-move-to-lift-official-secrets-act-for-csa-scandal

    The CSA inquiry has no legal teeth and is a whitewash.

    But remember, folks, there are still three ongoing police investigations into the child sex abuse scandal. The fact that Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, was recently forced to overturn her earlier decision not to prosecute our leaping Lord Janner is all a part of this…

    http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5603/lord-janner-charged-with-child-sex-abuse-in-reversal-for-dpp

    Forget May’s CSA inquiry. If anything happens here it’ll come from PC Plod, who does have full legal powers; that is, if PC Plod is brave enough to go against pressure from on high.

    Perhaps the most appalling thing about all this is that people in the highest levels of government are deliberately covering-up terrible crimes against children (and this is not just historic abuse; it’s allegedly still going on), yet very few of the voting public are made aware of this because of our jolly corporate controlled media.

    Britain in the early 21st century is like a house infested with vermin.

  • RobG

    Oh, and as an aside: the fact that Simon Danczuk MP recently announced that he is stepping back from his campaigning work on child sexual abuse, to seek help for depression, should perhaps be viewed with a measure of suspicion…

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-33409563

    … after all, we don’t live in a mass surveillance society, do we.

    They’ll probably go after John Mann next (Mann put forward the motion to waiver the Official Secrets Act for those willing to testify in the CSA inquiry).

  • Republicofscotland

    The number of Syrians who have fled Syria, since the outbreak of civil war, is the highest the UN has seen in over a quarter of a century.

    Four million Syrians have have taken flight into neighbouring countries, with a further eight million Syrians displaced within Syria.

    Not since 1992 when five million Afghani’s fled Afghanistan, and the conficts, has such an exodus been seen.

    There are almost two million Syrians now living in Turkey making Turkey the biggest host of refugees in the world.

  • Blair-on-Savile

    MJ at 1:40 is fixated on the results of the first, propaganda-flooded referendum with its manipulative threats to pensions. But if Britain continues to coercively interfere in Scottish referendums with its state propaganda organ, the BBC, we should recall the precedent of Slovakia, which declared independence legislatively without a referendum. Scotland can enact its self-determination by direct democracy or by representative democracy.

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