Garters in a Twist 641

The House of Lords broke no constitutional conventions in referring back Osborne’s vindictive tax credit cuts. The Tories and their media supporters are talking utter garbage on the question. Taking Britain’s appalling “constitution” for what it is, the arcane rules of procedure were not breached.

Ever since David Lloyd George and Herbert Asquith forced, by threat of massive creation of peerages, the 1911 Budget through and with it the start of National Insurance and the demise of the workhouse, there has been a convention that the Lords do not oppose or amend Finance Bills.

But the tax credit cuts were not in a Finance Bill. Osborne instead tried to sneak them through by statutory instrument. This is secondary legislation whereby a Minister signs off laws under powers delegated to him by primary legislation. Secondary legislation gets much less parliamentary time and committee scrutiny. If Osborne had put the tax credit proposals in a Finance Bill, as they certainly should have been – it is Osborne who was breaking parliamentary convention here – rather than sneak them under the table as secondary legislation, the Lords would indeed not have been able to stop them without breaching constitutional convention. Which just goes to show it doesn’t always pay to be a weasel.

Osborne is hoist by his own petard.

Aah, Tories say. But there is another convention that the Lords do not block secondary legislation.

They are making that one up. There is no such constitutional convention and there are plenty of examples of the Lords blocking secondary legislation. There is a huge quantity of secondary legislation, thousands and thousands of laws – ministers continually are signing off legal changes.

But the entire basis of the secondary legislation is that parliament has delegated to ministers, in Acts, powers to sign off uncontroversial matter. This can be, for example, the detail of regulations needed technically to enforce primary legislation, and the occasional updates needed. Only a very low percentage indeed of secondary legislation ever gets queried by the Lords, but that is not because of a constitutional convention. That is because most of it is dull stuff. But when the government abuses its authority and tries to smuggle vital changes through secondary legislation, the Lords not only has the constitutional right to challenge this abuse, it has the constitutional duty to do so.

I wish they would do it more often. For example, when the Labour Party used Westminster secondary legislation to cede 6,000 square miles of Scotland’s sea to England without parliamentary scrutiny.

Finally, there is a constitutional convention that the Lords do not oppose manifesto commitments on which a government has been elected. But the Tories rather carefully did not put tax credit cuts in their manifesto, and indeed in campaigning said they would not do it.

The British constitution is appallingly undemocratic. The fact that an undemocratic chamber has fended off a proposal from an undemocratic executive which gained the votes of only 37% of the voting electors, is not a blow struck for democracy. It is however a temporary victory for human decency in mitigating an attack on the poor.

It is also an achievement for Jeremy Corbyn. Nobody can truly believe that Labour peers would have been organised to do this under Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall.

UPDATE Wings Over Scotland has a very different take on the Labour Party performance. That the Labour Party was not radical enough to go for the “fatal” option I am afraid I find unsurprising. It remains a deeply conservative institution. But I had not previously encountered the argument that 90% would lose the money from universal credit anyway, and it is stunningly cynical. But on close consideration, I cannot work out what it means. Either there must be some additional cut to universal credit, or that those who lost tax credit could have regained it on universal credit anyway. If anybody could explain that one further, I should be grateful.

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641 thoughts on “Garters in a Twist

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  • Jives

    Its all about being bold enough to expect a tomorrow but not without amplified self-awareness nor irony with regards to history.

    Ho ho..

  • Mary

    UK Police State cont’d.

    Councils and taxman to be given power to view your internet history
    Dozens of public bodies will be able to search people’s internet activity for the purposes of ‘detecting or preventing crime’

    ‘The intelligence agencies, police and the National Crime Agency will be the most prolific users of the new powers.

    But other bodies including the Financial Conduct Authority, HMRC, councils, the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Work and Pensions will be able to access the information.’

  • Rev 2:9

    Just like a new POTUS is clearly seen to age 5 years overnight upon taking up office (it may be the innocent lamb is presented with a dossier of false flags by the deep state, first thing on his table?) our chinless wonder seems to have similarly aged after satanyahus recent visit. What exactly was it that satanyahu came to 10 Downing with?

  • Tony M

    Big uptick this year in kids of all age-ranges, out for their Halloween. Supplementing their diets maybe, though it seemed to be more sweets predominantly in their hauls, than fruit. It was a decent day till dusk when it turned dreich.

    The nations treasures, scrubbed-up Wally-Dugs, in china, seek new home.


    # Trident - the UK's dependable detergent - demo

    if [ $(id -u) != 0 ]; then
    echo "ERROR Not authorised."
    exit 1

    source ~/subfunctions #arf arf
    missilesequence='1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8'

    while $(/sbin/allatsea); do
    if reallyfedup
    if ! dadsarmyonbbc2; then
    if unclesamalive; then
    if unclesamsaysgo; then
    for missile in ${missilesequence}; do
    /bin/firemissile ${missile}

  • giyane

    Selahuddin Demirtas of the Kurdish HPD party looked extremely fed up with Herr Dog’s victory yesterday. People shouldn’t be too surprised that Herr Dog can turn around electoral defeat in 5 months. Turkey tried Democracy and it didn’t deliver the wanted result so the leverages of power on people’s jobs and position in society have been engaged leading to electoral victory.

    Selauddin Demirtas should be happy that Herr Dog has shown his true colours as a neo-con war-mongering totalitarian freemason who stood on a racist ticket against the Kurdish independence movement. The Turkish people remember and love Islam which forbids corruption, freemasonry, war-mongering,terrorism and racism.

    They will neither forget, nor forgive, being forced to vote for this ruthless bigot who has been using Turkey as a platform for Saudi style terror for fear of losing their livelihoods. Herr Dog may have won an election but he has also, like Lot’s wife who looked back , been turned into a pillar of salt at the same time.

  • Mary

    November 01, 2015

    ‘Erdogan’s AKP “Wins” Snap Election – Successful Challenge Unlikely

    The snap election results in Turkey are somewhat surprising and strongly diverge from recent opinion polls. And the result will, as predicted, not check Erdogan. This snap election than “corrected” the June vote in which the AKP had lost its former majority.

    With 98% of the vote counted the announced preliminary result is about

    •AKP 50%
    •CHP 25%
    •MHP 12%
    •HDP 10%

    With this count Erdogan’s AKP would have some 317 seats, 13 less than the 330 needed for constitution changing supermajority. But should the lefty/Kurdish HDP fall, by whatever means, under 10% its seats would practically go to the AKP and a supermajority would be likely.’


    Very many comments below the piece.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Get the impression that Ardogan sees himself as a godbothering reincarnation of the secularist Kemal, will develop the personality cult which is already emergent, suppress all hostile media, kill as many Kurds as possible, and fuck Turkey completely. His appeal is to central and eastern Turkey. The country’s commercial concentration is in the west. I think the democratic experiment is over. On the bright side, he doesn’t look to be much of a globalist. Down the line, I can see him leaving NATO, and the US/EU rejoicing may well be premature.

  • Habbabkuk (stop fakes even if Palestinian)

    Pulcinella (aka Monteverdi)

    “Always enjoy seeing a hasbarist back-pedaling fast .Evasion and obfuscation a traditional response and reaction when being exposed publically .”


    No back-pedalling involved, Pulcinella, but it is standard practice for Israel-haters like yourself to attempt to divert.

    This is what I wrote:

    “If that investigation [ie, by the Israeli Border Police]should conclude that the alleged incident happened as described in “middleeasteye” (and relayed by the two Israeli media you linked to) – and that, therefore, the video in question is not a fake as far as the speaker is concerned – I should be happy to withdraw what I wrote.”

    I also asked you – you are obviously following this matter closely – to keep up up to date with the development and outcome of that investigation. Will you commit publicly to doing that?

    It is also refreshing to see that you appear to approve of the fact that alleged incidents like this are taken seriously by the competent Israeli authorities, that an investigation has been launched and that wrong-doing, if established, will be appropriately sanctioned. Would that that were the case in certain other countries of whose leaders and policies you approve….(you might think of the case of Boris Nemtsov – where actual murder as opposed to alleged verbal threats was involved – when reflecting on the above)


    I believe you also asked me to “apologise” to the posters on here ( I assume you refer to yourself, Nebelmind and Fedup) I have “maligned”.

    Would you like me to respond to that now or would you prefer to wait until the outcome of the IBP investigation has been made available (perhaps through your good offices)?

  • Silvio

    Rev2:9 asks:

    Just like a new POTUS is clearly seen to age 5 years overnight upon taking up office (it may be the innocent lamb is presented with a dossier of false flags by the deep state, first thing on his table?) our chinless wonder seems to have similarly aged after satanyahus recent visit. What exactly was it that satanyahu came to 10 Downing with?

    What exactly was it that satanyahu came to 10 Downing with?
    Lets hope it wasn’t an update for the Brits on an upcoming implementation of the VanCrevel plan (with a heavy emphasis on what might happen to any European countries who might be silly enough to step out of line and try to foil the implementation of said plan).

    Regarding the POTUS, Some wag once said its almost like when a new president is elected the very first day on the job he is taken into the White House theatre to view an orientation film, and as the lights go down a film of the JFK assassination shot from the grassy knoll starts rolling. A few short minutes later when it’s over and the lights start to come back up, someone in the back of the room calls out,”Any questions, Mr. President?”

    Of course George “Dubya” Bush’s daddy being a former CIA director and also present in Dallas on Nov 22nd 1963 Dubya was probably one president elect already well schooled on what happens to wayward presidents who might be tempted to wander off the reservation.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Must have missed Polak’s elevation. No doubt he voted for scarpping tax credits. If he wasn’t in Tel Aviv.

    Most, if not all, of the West’s large arms manufacturers have business connections to Israel. So there is no excuse for Polak to hide the identities of his clients. Each time he defends Israel, it should be emphasized that he has a vested interest in supporting that state.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi…


    His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received here yesterday a delegation from JP Morgan, headed by Tony Blair (Chair, JP Morgan International Council – BZ) and Jamie Dimon, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. The delegation is visiting the country to attend the group’s annual board meeting in Abu Dhabi.


    His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, yesterday received British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond…

    Not what you’re thinking. There is absolutely no connection. Mr Hammond was merely there to collect some parking fines –

  • Macky

    Monteverdi; ” Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with their experience ”

    Can’t believe people are still wasting their time engaging with the Habby-Clown; there’s not even a sense of satisfaction in skewering this particularly not very bright troll, and little point exposing its blatant lies & deceptions, as all trolls are shameless by definition.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    What happens if an airliner is directed from outside to make a 180 degree turn at 600 mph?

    Doesn’t the tail break off, and the fuselage and the wings slow down until they hit the ground and burn up’

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    According to the turning equation I found on the internet, it would be nearly three times the safe turning angle aka 70 degrees.

    Of course, all the airline crash experts don’t even suggest such a possibility – it’s all Isis and its bombers.

  • Habbabkuk (stop fakes even if Palestinian)


    “What exactly was it that satanyahu came to 10 Downing with?
    Lets hope it wasn’t an update for the Brits on an upcoming implementation of the VanCrevel plan……”


    Well, firstly, you have linked to the egregious “voltairenet” website which, lazily, has still not seen fit to spell the name of its target properly. It is Martin van Creveld. Not, of course, that you bothered to check either…

    Secondly, when this “voltairenet” watcher opened your link to see what “voltairenet” had to say, he found this:

    “The seventh [sic]Israeli radio broadcasted [sic] an interview with Professor Martin Van-Crevel, [sic] a noted world specialist in low-intensity wars. Former Professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Van-Crevel discussed publicly what he has been advocating for years in closed military academic circles in Israel and the United States.

    In his view, the continued struggle of the Palestinians will inexhorably [sic] lead to the collapse of the State of Israel. Which is why Tel-Aviv has no choice but to “transfer” the Israeli Arabs and the stateless Palestinians beyond safe borders (that is, not only outside the 1948 borders but also from the 1976 occupied territories and, ideally, from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip). Etc..etc..etc”

    So these are presented by “voltairenet” as Professor van Creveld’s own ideas.

    Strangely enough, neither the egregious “voltairenet” , nor indeed any of the other first items thrown up by a google search, seems able to give an exact reference for when and where he is supposed to have said the above.

    According to “voltairenet” he said it to the the “seventh” Israeli radio. According to another website found prominently on Google, he said it in a magazine interview but the name of the magazine and its date is unfortunately not given.


    THEREFORE – since there are many Friends of Palestine on this blog – could one of them perhaps point me in the right direction wrt to establishing exactly where Professor van Creveld said the above words?

    Thank you.


    The following edited extract from the new and updated edition of David Hurst’s “The Gun and the Olive Branch”, which appeared in The Guardian on 20 September 2003, might be of interest. Of particular interest are the first 14 words of the second paragraph:

    “Iran can never be threatened in its very existence. Israel can. Indeed, such a threat could even grow out of the current intifada. That, at least, is the pessimistic opinion of Martin van Creveld, professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. ‘If it went on much longer,’ he said, ‘the Israeli government [would] lose control of the people. In campaigns like this, the anti-terror forces lose, because they don’t win, and the rebels win by not losing. I regard a total Israeli defeat as unavoidable. That will mean the collapse of the Israeli state and society. We’ll destroy ourselves.’

    In this situation, he went on, more and more Israelis were coming to regard the ‘transfer’ of the Palestinians as the only salvation; resort to it was growing ‘more probable’ with each passing day. Sharon ‘wants to escalate the conflict and knows that nothing else will succeed’.”

  • Mary

    Van Creveld is quoted:

    ‘They [Israeli soldiers] are very brave people… they are idealists… they want to serve their country and they want to prove themselves. The problem is that you cannot prove yourself against someone who is much weaker than yourself. They are in a lose-lose situation. If you are strong and fighting the weak, then if you kill your opponent then you are a scoundrel… if you let him kill you, then you are an idiot. So here is a dilemma which others have suffered before us, and for which as far as I can see there is simply no escape. Now the Israeli army has not by any means been the worst of the lot. It has not done what for instance the Americans did in Vietnam… it did not use napalm, it did not kill millions of people. So everything is relative, but by definition, to return to what I said earlier, if you are strong and you are fighting the weak, then anything you do is criminal.’

    Yesterday the sainted IDF acted:

    Israeli forces injure 21 at memorial for slain student in Abu Dis
    Nov. 2, 2015

    Israeli forces raid home of Palestinian killed last week in Jenin
    Nov. 2, 2015

    Israeli forces demolish Palestinian home in East Jerusalem
    Nov. 2, 2015

    Israeli forces detain 21 Palestinians across West Bank
    Nov. 2, 2015

    Israeli forces detain Palestinian children, aged 7 and 8, in Jerusalem
    Nov 2, 2015

    Israeli forces detain Hebron teen after alleged attack
    Nov. 2, 2015

    On Sunday:

    Israel returns bodies of 2 Palestinians shot dead in Jerusalem
    Nov. 1, 2015

    and finally, a statistic

    Red Crescent: Over 2,600 shot with live, rubber bullets in October
    Nov. 1, 2015

    ‘BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and wounded at least 2,617 Palestinians with live and rubber-coated steel bullets through October, the Palestinian Red Cross said Sunday, as clashes carried on into the new month.

    A Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an that at least 760 Palestinians were shot with live rounds across the occupied Palestinian territory, while another 1,857 were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets.

    He said that a further 5,399 Palestinians were treated for excessive tear gas inhalation during the period, while another 246 were injured in other ways, including assault by Israeli soldiers and burns from tear gas canisters.

    The spokesperson said that it brought the total injured during October to 8,262 Palestinians.

    How kind. How noble. How brave.

    PS The maniacal Van Creveld, brought up in Ramat Gan in Occupied Jaffa, aka Tel Aviv, and now living in a Jerusalem settlement named Mevaseret_Zion also said,

    ‘We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force…. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.’

    Dr Strangelove would be proud.

  • Mary

    Israel’s Encirclement of al-Aqsa “nearly complete”
    US move to install cameras at Jerusalem mosque overlooks Israeli ‘obstacle course’ barring Palestinian worship, say archaeologists
    by Jonathan Cook / November 2nd, 2015

    Despite claims it is seeking to calm tensions in Jerusalem, Israel is intensifying activities to encircle the al-Aqsa mosque and strengthen its control over the holy site, a group of Israeli archaeologists warned last week.

    The group sounded the alarm as the United States oversaw moves at the mosque compound, known as the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, intended to end weeks of Palestinian unrest focused on Jerusalem.


  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    So in the crash. the tail broke off from the fuselage, causing it to explode, why are the so-called experts eager to blame an accident to the tail over a decade ago which was fixed, and has been checked regularly?

    The stress of a top speed turn on the tail is a more reasonable assumption to investigate further.

  • Silvio

    Habbabkuk asks:
    THEREFORE – since there are many Friends of Palestine on this blog – could one of them perhaps point me in the right direction wrt to establishing exactly where Professor van Creveld said the above words?

    Thank you.

    No problem Habbabkuk,

    Whether or not the learned professor said the words on a radio broadcast, he apparently certainly said them in an interview with the Dutch weekly Elsevier in Sep 2003, according to The EU Times.


    Here is a transcript of the interview in English, apparently translated from Dutch to German and then German to English. (A footnote at the bottom of the page says “This interview was conducted by Ferry Biedermann in Jerusalem.”):

  • twoleftfeet

    As Macky more or less said, habba is barely worth the effort of typing but I’m not pushed for time and it’s quite good fun. He thinks he’s clever but I’m sure many people see what I see and that’s him flailing about, desperately trying to use smoke and mirrors to hide the injustices. Israel is indefensible, even for someone with the brass neck of habba. Anyone approaching the subject, completely unbiased, soon becomes aware who the aggressor is and which side uses an historic event to justify every crime. Ethnic cleansing in slow motion is no less vile than shipping them out in train carriages. Economic strangulation, deprivation of basic human needs, check points with no apparent use than to make normal life almost impossible, internment, the list is endless .
    A perfect ending for you and the Israeli regime would be to have you both erased from the page of time (smiley face).

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    An external “certain impact” could be too much wind. increasingly hitting the plane’s vertical stabilizer when it tried to make an impossible turn.

    Obviously, the media loons have never heard about hijacking transponders. though there are around, for example, 360,000 entries on google.

  • Mary

    The lying spin doctor to the paramount war criminal Blair is coming on to ITV’s 10pm news to speak about mental health.

    Alastair Campbell of course. I think it is appalling that MIND still have him as one of their ambassadors. He should be shunned instead for his crimes.

    ‘Alastair Campbell is a writer, communicator and strategist best known for his role as Tony Blair’s Director of Communications.

    He has written and talked extensively about his experience of depression, creating a BBC documentary entitled Cracking Up that dealt with his breakdown. His books All In The Mind and The Happy Depressive both deal with mental health issues.

    A relentless campaigner against mental health stigma, particularly for Time to Change, Alastair won the 2009 Mind Champion of the Year award in a public vote.’

    I applaud the aims of the campaign. I see he is described as a ‘high profile figure’.

    Public figures sign letter seeking equality for mental health
    2 November 2015
    Alastair Campbell, Danny Boyle, Sunderland FC manager Sam Allardyce and the archbishop of Canterbury are among more than 200 high profile figures who have signed an open letter that calls for equality between physical and mental health treatment before the government’s spending review.

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