One tweet sums up Labour’s new, confused stance on cuts


7:27 pm - June 26th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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I said the other day that Labour’s position was henceforth going to sound confused and need constant clarification.

This tweet by John Rentoul makes the same point.

Far from establishing a clear position on deficit reduction and moving on from it, Labour could spend the next two years just explaining it (and losing).

And did Labour’s plan to match Osborne’s cuts get them any political credit? Nope

A range of new restrictions on welfare claims will be introduced, including a delay between first claim and payment, and a requirement for 100,000 claimants with poor English to learn the language. Lone parents will get a push to start preparing to return to work earlier. And British pensioners living in warm countries will lose winter fuel payments. Given Labour’s difficulties shedding its image as the party of profligate welfare, the Chancellor’s political calculation wasn’t subtle.

I don’t think the penny has dropped yet, but it has to sooner or later.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Shatterface

A range of new restrictions on welfare claims will be introduced, including a delay between first claim and payment, and a requirement for 100,000 claimants with poor English to learn the language.

The 7 day delay is allegedly so the unemployed can look for work – which is what they are supposed to do while on benefits anyway so the justification for the delay is obviously bullshit. It will also penalise people who do temporary work as well – why work for a week if you aren’t entitled for benefits the next week? You might as well stay on benefits for the fortnight.

Good news for the booming loan shark business though.

Lone parents will get a push to start preparing to return to work earlier.

A case might be made they should be looking for work when their kids start school but this is basically just a continuation of Labour policy.

And British pensioners living in warm countries will lose winter fuel payments.

So fewer coctails on the beach. There are admin costs to targeting winter fuel payments and that’s why I support universal benefits – it’s not because I give a toss about people who don’t need it losing out and I doubt those sunning away the winter overseas give a shit about those left behind.

Either they’re morons or they’re in on the scam of austerity (or both). To hell with them.

Labour seem to believe they will walk into power at the next election. Given that incumbents normally have more influence on the outcome they have a point. Have they now decided they don’t want to win and would rather leave the whole mess to the Lib Dems?

4. Planeshift

“It will also penalise people who do temporary work as well – why work for a week if you aren’t entitled for benefits the next week? You might as well stay on benefits for the fortnight.”

Will copy and paste into any thread when a tory moans about incentives. They spent a decade moaning about incentives in the welfare system, then promptly made things worse when they got in.

A budget for wonga, funded by wonga, and only believed in by people who think wonga represents a good interest rate.

@2. Philip

Don’t think austerity is or isn’t a scam. It is a mechanism to reduce government expenditure where it outstrips tax revenue, or indeed at any time.

However, what the govt has failed to realise is that it is only half of the equation. Neither Labour or Conservatives realise that you have to drop govt expenditure when you are running a huge deficit, but you also need to promote supply side policy to produce an uptake in employment and growth.

We currently only seem to have half the equation currently and anyone who thinks it will be better under Labour is deluded. A drop in corporation tax is all well and good, but it still doesn’t make us that competitive, and it is only one measure in hundreds.

QE for instance has wreaked havoc on pensioners by pushing down yields. Whereas we could have just as easily given every working person in the country an 11,000 tax break which would have stimulated the economy far better.

“And did Labour’s plan to match Osborne’s cuts get them any political credit? Nope”

In very much the same way as Cameron/Osborne’s promise to match Labour’s spending in 2008 cost them the election. It’s funny how politics goes in full circles.

Try Sam Brittan in Friday’s FT:

Britain has been let down by its bean-counting politicians

I think the penny dropped and Labour are still searching for it, Miliband does not have the guile to speak out and fight for his cause, that’s because he knows he won the prize because the Unions backed him not the members.

Miliband understand he has one chance at this, if he fails he is out gone a second rate leader who will move back to the back benches until his brother phones up offering him a job.

Labour does not have a really good leader who would take the party forward, we are back again into the Thatcher period, no leader really good to defeat her, and no real need to actually vote against her.

After all if your going to vote for a party it has to have something you think worthy of voting for, a second rate mini Tory or as we call it down by me Tory Lite, I suspect the public will decide it would be better to stick with what we have.

We seem to have a distinct lack of democracy amongst our politicians and as for socialist temdencies they also seem to be sadly lacking.
As for concern for our ‘vunerable’ members of soiety forget it. There aint none.
We,re on our own, suckers.


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