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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  • Ben

    Brokers are rumored to refuse sell orders


    “Bears who piled on bets against China’s mainland market using the biggest U.S. exchange-traded fund tracking those stocks were burned by an unprecedented 20 percent surge Thursday. Short interest in Deutsche Bank AG’s X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF accounted for 19 percent of shares outstanding, after tripling from a month earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg and Markit Group Ltd. show.”

  • Clark

    Node, 9 July 7:08 pm: dunno; the ft article was paywalled for me which is why I looked for an alternative.

  • RobG

    10 Jul, 2015 – 5:33 pm

    And Omar stayed in his home country! (which would have been no easy ride over the last four years)

    Doctor Zhivago was my favourite, and of course Laura’s Theme…

    (the house in the above clip reminds me of winters in a London bedsit I used to live in)

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Breaking news

    In a few minutes the Greek parliament will vote on whether or not to approuve the packet of measures the SYRIZA govt submitted to the EU, ECB and IMF yesterday in exchange for a third bail-out programme.

    It appears that the loud=mouthed and oh-so-clever former Finance Minister, Mr Yiannis Varoufakis – the master of game theory and the sworn enemy of further austerity – was spotted (and photographed) earlier today on a ferry on the way to his rather large and luxurious holiday villa on the island of Aegina.

    So, Master Varoufakis will not be present in the parliament either to vote for or against Mr Tsipras’s proposal.

    Such courage!

    No hero, just another Greek wanker politician – no different from the rest.

  • Mary

    Thanks Daniel.

    Rob G Yes I agree about the Goddard inquiry. We have inquiries on an industrial scale in this country to no purpose other than to delay and obfuscate. A result from Chilcot would be good. Earlier I was reading about the lies on Iraqi WMD that Bush and Cheney told. There were two reports from a David Kay and a Charles Duelfer, two inspectors, stating that none were found.. Absolutely wicked people.

    Secret Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq
    8 July 2015

    Bush has charged a $100,000 fee for speaking to a charity, A true psychopath. Plus a private jet provided.
    July 8th 2015
    It stuck in my mind that, as a child, he used to put firecrackers inside frogs for fun.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    It does appear, however, that Mr Varoufakis’s successor as Finance Minister = one Mr Euclid Tsakalotos, educated St Paul’s, London and Oxford University (BA in PPE, just like David Cameron) – WILL be present at the vote.

    So, unlike his illustrious predecessor, he has at least one ball.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    “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…”

    Could you flesh out that “suspicion” for us, RobG?

    (assuming of course that you’re talking about yourself and not other people)

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “It stuck in my mind that, as a child, he (ie, Bush junior)used to put firecrackers inside frogs for fun.”

    That reminds me of the story that Krushchev used to swing round cats by their tail prior to bashing their head out against a wall. Only for fun, though.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    Since SYRIZA – after almost plunging Greece into a terminal catastrophe – has now finally bowed to reality and put forward a packet in total opposition to the promises that won it the elections, would you agree with me that the members of the said govt should be = to use one of your favorite expressions – “put up against a wall and shot?”

  • glenn

    RoS/ Daniel – About the 4 million fleeing Syria – don’t forget they probably include large numbers of the poor buggers who originally fled Iraq.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


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


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but have the various associations of the victims not now stated that they are satisfied with the arrangements for the enquiry?

    Surely their views are just slightly more important (and, perhaps, better informed) than yours?

  • RobG

    Habba are you on a zero hours contract, or do you get paid overtime?

    You seem to be on overtime at the moment.

    If you look at the old clips of the Nuremburg trials one of the most striking things is how utterly pathetic those on trial were; pathetic creatures who repressed and murdered millions.

    I can’t now remember who coined the phrase: ‘the banality of evil’.

  • Beanz counter

    @RobG – the devils are all on tenterhooks now, with the Iranian negotiations at a critical stage, its showing in habba. The only two forces that are spiritually aware of these devils are the Russian Orthodox Church and Irans Shiites eg we have their supposedly forgiving Christian Wellby take over our CoE and wish the French Godspeed in finding and eliminating the two brown eyed Charlie Hebdo patsies, when the notes of the suicided French detective described one of the attackers (one who picked up the DNA evidence trainer) as having blue eyes?

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node


    It does seem to be as simple as deleting your cookies for a particular site. I just tested it on the Press and Journal site which informed me that I had read 5 articles and couldn’t read any more unless I registered. I deleted the cookies for that site (in Firefox) and when I went back I could read the article.

    I’ll go back to the FT site, read enough articles to bring up the firewall, then see if I can get past it by deleting cookies. Watch this space.

  • MJ

    “MJ at 1:40 is fixated on the results of the first, propaganda-flooded referendum with its manipulative threats to pensions”

    Of course the first (and last) referendum was flooded with propaganda. That’s what happens I’m afraid. It came from both sides. The Yes campaign’s propaganda was much better by a country mile. It was colourful, vivid and life-affirming. The No campaign was as dull as dish-water. The appointment of Alistair Darling as its chief spokesperson set the tone. Salmond must have felt rather insulted, with good reason.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Murdoch’s paywall doesn’t seem to work on the x strikes and you’re out principal, so it doesn’t use cookies for that purpose. So why was I able to view the full article earlier today?

    This is apparently a way of hacking the FT site, but I haven’t got a clue what it means :

    For the FT, just use an extension to supply the site with the googlebot user agent string.

  • fred

    “For the FT, just use an extension to supply the site with the googlebot user agent string.”

    If you google “firefox user agent switcher” there are extensions that will tell the sites you’re using a different browser, handy for telling sites you’re accessing them on a mobile so you don’t have to take masses of junk. Just click on the toolbar and tell them you are a google bot.

  • lwtc247

    MJ 10 Jul, 2015 – 1:40 pm
    MJ, as I said Scots Independence can only come from the Union and I think we all know how that’s going to pan out. I’m actually for Scottish independence. I wonder if the referendum was allowed in the first place because they were confident of the result… thought: “Con.Lab,Lib alliance couldn’t lose surely.!?!”

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Hey, thanks, Fred. That works. Now I can CHOOSE not to read that Murdoch shite.

  • Clark

    Node, my browser would have had no ft cookie when I visited the site, and NoScript would have been disabling Javascript.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    I’m out of my depth, tech-wise. I don’t know how the FT site does it.
    This Firefox add-on gets round it though.

  • lysias

    I can’t now remember who coined the phrase: ‘the banality of evil’.

    Hannah Arendt.

  • Daniel

    Baal Zevul,

    Poor Law Tories:

    “Yesterday Gideon Osborne the chancellor of the ruling Conservative party in Britain revealed to the country his budget proposals. Although on the surface, the intention to phase-in a £9 an hour living wage by 2020 sounds progressive, the real intention was to hoodwink the public into thinking this announcement somehow ameliorated the effect on the poor resulting from the reduction in working tax credits and the limiting of welfare payments to a maximum of £23,000 per household. Given that the Labour opposition to Tory welfare cuts pre-election were non existent, Osborne’s decision to introduce the £9 living wage sounds comparatively revolutionary – which says a lot about the depressing state of the Labour Party and the British political scene in general.”

  • Salford Lad

    Apologies if a little off-topic. But this Thierry Meysann article goes to the origins and heart of the European Project.
    Unsurprisingly the usual suspects are behind it. Its intention was a continuation of WW2 against the Soviet Union and now directed at Russia, using the EU states as cannon fodder. (Similar to Ukraine)
    Scots Freedom fighters are directing their energy at the wrong target. They will never be allowed freedom from the UK and to exit NATO and its puppet creation of slavery and subjugation, the EU. Not until the collapse of the US Empire.
    This explains why Greece has swallowed the bitter pill of more austerity and continues in the Euro, EU and NATO.
    Shades of Hotel California, ‘ you may checkout ,but you can never leave.’
    Deep Machiavellian politics in play since 1945.
    To paraphrase Craig, ‘The EU Project is Bullshit,’

  • giyane

    Salford Lad

    The said article at is so full of scandal that would-be Scots-Nats would have to swallow hard before joining the EU project as an Independent country. Scotland would not be in the Anglo-saxon supervisor group as it is now as part of the UK, but be one of the supervised by the USUK.

    Nightmares. Scotland would be a EU doughnut, the hole in the middle being the Royal Estates and the jam would get located and eaten first to stop it squirting over the European bankers starchy shirts.

    Mods ate my comment that Habbabkuk was returning to defending paedophiles by attacking Mary for ‘carping’ about the paedophile investigations that have ground to a halt.
    Well mods, I have backed down once about Habbabkuk and Anon1 defending paedophiles, but I have no intention of backing down twice.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    …OTOH there is something badly wrong with an economic structure which requires that the state pay anyone something around the average wage in addition to any other income on the basis that their family planning went awry. Two issues here: individual responsibility (boo!) and the requirement of The Market that a pool of unemployed be retained in order to keep the rest compliant (hooray!) I’d like to see not just a country in which a fair day’s work got a fair day’s pay but also one in which that fair day’s pay covered a fair day’s individual expenditure, based on the reasonable expectations of a secure home and enough to eat. Without needing subsidy of any kind from taxpayers. Housing benefit and family credit should simply not be necessary in a sane economy, except for the actually unemployed.

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