Friday, April 18, 2008

Labour backbenchers are like spineless jellies

Well, she didn't resign after all. Angela Smith MP is staying in place. She is so like all those Labour backbenchers, spineless jellies who make a great deal of noise about how dreadful the government is yet when it comes to doing anything that will really change what the government is doing, they bottle it.

Take for example, all those Labour MPs signing EDMs opposing the doubling of the 10p income tax rate. The talk in the press this week is of "rebellion". Believe it when it happens! Those spineless backbenchers will vote the way they are told to. The vast majority of them always do so. They are voting fodder and Brown knows it. So he won't make any significant concessions because he knows he can get away with forcing through the doubling of the 10p rate. He may spin a few lines that are designed to look as if he has changed his policy but the substance won't be there.

So as a general rule with the Labour party, expect whinging and whining from the backbenchers but apart from the usual suspects, don't expect them to force a change in what the government is doing.

There is one exception. I accept that matters are a little different on the 42 day detention issue. Opposition in Labour's ranks has a harder core on this issue. But even there, many Labour backbenchers will be looking for an opportunity to climb back on board the Brown government train and will use some ultra-minor concession as the ticket to climb aboard. That is likely to explain why the government continues to pursue this astonishing legislative change. Experience tells ministers that backbenchers can often bottle it when it comes to a vote.

The Brown government may well be a mess, congested by indecision with a Prime Minister who is totally inappropriate for the job. But even though the talk in the media is of changing the man at the top, the ability of Brown to stay in office at least until the general election is enhanced by the spineless jellies who are the Labour backbenchers.

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2 comments:

Miller 2.0 said...

Labour MPs in this parliament are more rebellious than any MPs of any party before.

Further, Blair lost more votes than Thatcher, despite his gargantuan majorities.

What was the rebellion rate like in the last Liberal government? And when did your party last have to deal with such responsibilities?

Jonathan Wallace said...

I am not sure whether you are trying to make out that rebellions by your beloved Labour MPs are badges of honour or shame!

And trying to have a go at the Lib Dems on the basis of the voting record of MPs 100 years ago does bring new meaning to the term "scraping the bottom of the barrel".