Voting, abstaining, and opposing the tories: a quick reminder

As things stand, I really can’t blame anyone for wanting to take a punt on Corbynism in the upcoming election. It’s not what I believe in; I can’t see how social democracy in one country could be workable, and I still believe that the only thing that’ll get us out of the mess we’re in would be ungovernable mass working-class movements. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses I walk past every day would tell you the same thing about Jesus, and in the UK in 2017 I recognise that my hopes don’t really look all that more plausible than theirs. So, in the absence of anything better, I can totally understand why people might want to vote to oppose the tories.

As a quick aside, I understand the Lib Dems are currently posing as the real alternative who can be trusted to oppose May’s Brexit plans all the way. I find it hard to imagine that anyone could be gullible enough to fall for that, and if they are, they’re unlikely to be looking for advice from obscure anarchist bloggers, but if anyone is: for god’s sake, sort yourself out.

Anyway, back to Labour: I can respect the reasons why people might want to vote for Corbynism as an alternative project, but the way the electoral system is set up means that, if you don’t live in Islington North, you’re not going to be able to vote for Corbyn. Across vast sections of the country, the closest thing we can do is to vote for some red-tied snake who’s committed to doing everything they can to sabotage the Corbyn project, which seems like a funny way of supporting him.

Only you can decide whether you’re going to bother voting or not, and I don’t know how likely my thoughts are to sway anyone else; but for what it’s worth, I just want to remind readers of two prime examples of what the Parliamentary Labour Party’s record of opposing the tories looks like in practice.

The first is from 2013, when benefits claimants who’d been pressured into unpaid work schemes managed to win a court case, meaning that the benefit sanctions used to punish people who refused to participate were ruled unlawful, and it briefly looked like the government might have to pay a lot of compensation to claimants who’d been sanctioned for refusing to work for free, before the government got around it by changing the law to retrospectively make their actions legal. The majority of Labour MPs chose to abstain on the question of whether the tories should be able to rewrite the law to get out of their obligations to people they’d bullied for refusing to work for free.

The second is the Welfare Reform Bill of 2015, which cut child tax credits, lowered the disability benefit ESA from £103 to £73 a week, introduced the benefits cap and abandoned the goal of ending child poverty. The majority of Labour MPs also chose to abstain on that vote.

So, in this coming election, do whatever you think is best; but, as the sayings go, turnabout is fair play, and what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If your local MP is among those who, when given a chance to do something to help claimants, chose to sit on their hands, I think it’s entirely fair enough to do the same in response when they come begging for you to help them keep their cushy jobs. It certainly seems more sensible than hoping that they’ll suddenly change their ways next time round.

In the interests of historical memory, here are the Labour MPs who abstained on the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill in 2013:

Diane Abbott    Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Debbie Abrahams    Oldham East and Saddleworth
Bob Ainsworth    Coventry North East
Douglas Alexander    Paisley and Renfrewshire South
Heidi Alexander    Lewisham East
Rushanara Ali    Bethnal Green and Bow
Graham Allen    Nottingham North
Jon Ashworth    Leicester South
Ian Austin    Dudley North
Adrian Bailey    West Bromwich West
William Bain    Glasgow North East
Edward Balls    Morley and Outwood
Gordon Banks    Ochil and South Perthshire
Kevin Barron    Rother Valley
Hugh Bayley    York Central
Margaret Beckett    Derby South
Anne Begg    Aberdeen South
Hilary Benn    Leeds Central
Joe Benton    Bootle
Luciana Berger    Liverpool, Wavertree
Clive Betts    Sheffield South East
Roberta Blackman-Woods    City of Durham
Hazel Blears    Salford and Eccles
Tom Blenkinsop    Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
Paul Blomfield    Sheffield Central
David Blunkett    Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
Ben Bradshaw    Exeter
Kevin Brennan    Cardiff West
Gordon Brown    Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
Lyn Brown    West Ham
Russell Brown    Dumfries and Galloway
Chris Bryant    Rhondda
Karen Buck    Westminster North
Andy Burnham    Leigh
Liam Byrne    Birmingham, Hodge Hill
Alan Campbell    Tynemouth
Ronnie Campbell    Blyth Valley
Martin Caton    Gower
Sarah Champion    Rotherham
Jenny Chapman    Darlington
Tom Clarke    Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
Ann Clwyd    Cynon Valley
Vernon Coaker    Gedling
Ann Coffey    Stockport
Rosie Cooper    West Lancashire
Yvette Cooper    Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford
Mary Creagh    Wakefield
Stella Creasy    Walthamstow
Jon Cruddas    Dagenham and Rainham
John Cryer    Leyton and Wanstead
Alex Cunningham    Stockton North
Jim Cunningham    Coventry South
Tony Cunningham    Workington
Margaret Curran    Glasgow East
Nicholas Dakin    Scunthorpe
Simon Danczuk    Rochdale
Alistair Darling    Edinburgh South West
Wayne David    Caerphilly
Geraint Davies    Swansea West
Gloria De Piero    Ashfield
John Denham    Southampton, Itchen
Frank Dobson    Holborn and St Pancras
Thomas Docherty    Dunfermline and West Fife
Brian H Donohoe    Central Ayrshire
Frank Doran    Aberdeen North
Stephen Doughty    Cardiff South and Penarth
Jim Dowd    Lewisham West and Penge
Gemma Doyle    West Dunbartonshire
Jack Dromey    Birmingham, Erdington
Michael Dugher    Barnsley East
Angela Eagle    Wallasey
Maria Eagle    Garston and Halewood
Clive Efford    Eltham
Julie Elliott    Sunderland Central
Louise Ellman    Liverpool, Riverside
Natascha Engel    North East Derbyshire
Chris Evans    Islwyn
Paul Farrelly    Newcastle-under-Lyme
Frank Field    Birkenhead
Jim Fitzpatrick    Poplar and Limehouse
Rob Flello    Stoke-on-Trent South
Caroline Flint    Don Valley
Paul Flynn    Newport West
Yvonne Fovargue    Makerfield
Hywel Francis    Aberavon
Mike Gapes    Ilford South
Barry Gardiner    Brent North
Sheila Gilmore    Edinburgh East
Pat Glass    North West Durham
Roger Godsiff    Birmingham, Hall Green
Paul Goggins    Wythenshawe and Sale East
Helen Goodman    Bishop Auckland
Tom Greatrex    Rutherglen and Hamilton West
Kate Green    Stretford and Urmston
Lilian Greenwood    Nottingham South
Nia Griffith    Llanelli
Andrew Gwynne    Denton and Reddish
Peter Hain    Neath
David Hamilton    Midlothian
David Hanson    Delyn
Harriet Harman    Camberwell and Peckham
Tom Harris    Glasgow South
John Healey    Wentworth and Dearne
Mark Hendrick    Preston
Stephen Hepburn    Jarrow
David Heyes    Ashton-under-Lyne
Meg Hillier    Hackney South and Shoreditch
Julie Hilling    Bolton West
Margaret Hodge    Barking
Sharon Hodgson    Washington and Sunderland West
Kate Hoey    Vauxhall
Jimmy Hood    Lanark and Hamilton East
George Howarth    Knowsley
Lindsay Hoyle    Chorley
Tristram Hunt    Stoke-on-Trent Central
Huw Irranca-Davies    Ogmore
Glenda Jackson    Hampstead and Kilburn
Siân James    Swansea East
Cathy Jamieson    Kilmarnock and Loudoun
Dan Jarvis    Barnsley Central
Alan Johnson    Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle
Diana R. Johnson    Kingston upon Hull North
Graham Jones    Hyndburn
Helen Jones    Warrington North
Kevan Jones    North Durham
Susan Elan Jones    Clwyd South
Tessa Jowell    Dulwich and West Norwood
Eric Joyce    Falkirk
Gerald Kaufman    Manchester, Gorton
Barbara Keeley    Worsley and Eccles South
Liz Kendall    Leicester West
Sadiq Khan    Tooting
David Lammy    Tottenham
Chris Leslie    Nottingham East
Ivan Lewis    Bury South
Andrew Love    Edmonton
Ian Lucas    Wrexham
Khalid Mahmood    Birmingham, Perry Barr
Shabana Mahmood    Birmingham, Ladywood
Seema Malhotra    Feltham and Heston
John Mann    Bassetlaw
Gordon Marsden    Blackpool South
Steve McCabe    Birmingham, Selly Oak
Michael McCann    East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
Kerry McCarthy    Bristol East
Gregg McClymont    Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
Siobhain McDonagh    Mitcham and Morden
Andy McDonald    Middlesbrough
Pat McFadden    Wolverhampton South East
Alison McGovern    Wirral South
Anne McGuire    Stirling
Ann McKechin    Glasgow North
Iain McKenzie    Inverclyde
Catherine McKinnell    Newcastle upon Tyne North
Alan Meale    Mansfield
David Miliband    South Shields
Ed Miliband    Doncaster North
Andrew Miller    Ellesmere Port and Neston
Jessica Morden    Newport East
Graeme Morrice    Livingston
George Mudie    Leeds East
Meg Munn    Sheffield, Heeley
Jim Murphy    East Renfrewshire
Paul Murphy    Torfaen
Ian Murray    Edinburgh South
Lisa Nandy    Wigan
Pamela Nash    Airdrie and Shotts
Fiona O’Donnell    East Lothian
Chi Onwurah    Newcastle upon Tyne Central
Albert Owen    Ynys Môn
Toby Perkins    Chesterfield
Bridget Phillipson    Houghton and Sunderland South
Steve Pound    Ealing North
Lucy Powell    Manchester Central
Dawn Primarolo    Bristol South
Yasmin Qureshi    Bolton South East
Nick Raynsford    Greenwich and Woolwich
Jamie Reed    Copeland
Steve Reed    Croydon North
Rachel Reeves    Leeds West
Emma Reynolds    Wolverhampton North East
Jonathan Reynolds    Stalybridge and Hyde
Linda Riordan    Halifax
John Robertson    Glasgow North West
Geoffrey Robinson    Coventry North West
Frank Roy    Motherwell and Wishaw
Lindsay Roy    Glenrothes
Chris Ruane    Vale of Clwyd
Joan Ruddock    Lewisham, Deptford
Anas Sarwar    Glasgow Central
Andy Sawford    Corby
Alison Seabeck    Plymouth, Moor View
Virendra Sharma    Ealing, Southall
Gavin Shuker    Luton South
Andrew Slaughter    Hammersmith
Andrew Smith    Oxford East
Angela Smith    Penistone and Stocksbridge
Nick Smith    Blaenau Gwent
Owen Smith    Pontypridd
John Spellar    Warley
Jack Straw    Blackburn
Gisela Stuart    Birmingham, Edgbaston
Mark Tami    Alyn and Deeside
Gareth Thomas    Harrow West
Emily Thornberry    Islington South and Finsbury
Stephen Timms    East Ham
Jon Trickett    Hemsworth
Karl Turner    Kingston upon Hull East
Derek Twigg    Halton
Stephen Twigg    Liverpool, West Derby
Chuka Umunna    Streatham
Keith Vaz    Leicester East
Valerie Vaz    Walsall South
Tom Watson    West Bromwich East
Dave Watts    St Helens North
Alan Whitehead    Southampton, Test
Chris Williamson    Derby North
Phil Wilson    Sedgefield
Rosie Winterton    Doncaster Central
John Woodcock    Barrow and Furness
Shaun Woodward    St Helens South and Whiston
David Wright    Telford
Iain Wright    Hartlepool

And here are the 184 who didn’t vote against the cuts to welfare in 2015:

Heidi Alexander
Rushanara Ali
Graham Allen
Jon Ashworth
Ian Austin
Adrian Bailey
Kevin Barron
Margaret Beckett
Hilary Benn
Luciana Berger
Clive Betts
Roberta Blackman-Woods
Tom Blenkinsop
Paul Blomfield
Ben Bradshaw
Kevin Brennan
Lyn Brown
Nick Brown
Chris Bryant
Karen Buck
Richard Burden
Andy Burnham
Liam Byrne
Ruth Cadbury
Alan Campbell
Ronnie Campbell
Sarah Champion
Jenny Chapman
Vernon Coaker
Ann Coffey
Julie Cooper
Rosie Cooper
Yvette Cooper
Jo Cox
Neil Coyle
David Crausby
Mary Creagh
Stella Creasy
Jon Cruddas
John Cryer
Judith Cummins
Alex Cunningham
Jim Cunningham
Nicholas Dakin
Simon Danczuk
Wayne David
Gloria De Piero
Thangam Debbonaire
Stephen Doughty
Jim Dowd
Jack Dromey
Michael Dugher
Angela Eagle
Maria Eagle
Clive Efford
Julie Elliott
Louise Ellman
Natascha Engel
Bill Esterson
Chris Evans
Paul Farrelly
Frank Field
Jim Fitzpatrick
Rob Flello
Colleen Fletcher
Caroline Flint
Yvonne Fovargue
Vicky Foxcroft
Mike Gapes
Barry Gardiner
Pat Glass
Kate Green
Lilian Greenwood
Nia Griffith
Andrew Gwynne
Fabian Hamilton
David Hanson
Harriet Harman
Harry Harpham
Helen Hayes
John Healey
Mark Hendrick
Stephen Hepburn
Meg Hillier
Margaret Hodge
Sharon Hodgson
Kate Hoey
Kate Hollern
George Howarth
Lindsay Hoyle
Tristram Hunt
Rupa Huq
Huw Irranca-Davies
Dan Jarvis
Alan Johnson
Diana R. Johnson
Graham Jones
Kevan Jones
Susan Elan Jones
Mike Kane
Barbara Keeley
Liz Kendall
Stephen Kinnock
Peter Kyle
Chris Leslie
Emma Lewell-Buck
Ivan Lewis
Ian Lucas
Fiona Mactaggart
Justin Madders
Khalid Mahmood
Shabana Mahmood
Seema Malhotra
John Mann
Gordon Marsden
Chris Matheson
Steve McCabe
Kerry McCarthy
Siobhain McDonagh
Pat McFadden
Conor McGinn
Alison McGovern
Catherine McKinnell
Alan Meale
Ed Miliband
Jessica Morden
Ian Murray
Lisa Nandy
Melanie Onn
Chi Onwurah
Albert Owen
Matthew Pennycook
Toby Perkins
Jess Phillips
Bridget Phillipson
Steve Pound
Lucy Powell
Yasmin Qureshi
Angela Rayner
Jamie Reed
Steve Reed
Christina Rees
Rachel Reeves
Emma Reynolds
Jonathan Reynolds
Geoffrey Robinson
Stephen Philip Rotheram
Joan Ryan
Naseem Shah
Virendra Sharma
Barry Sheerman
Gavin Shuker
Andrew Slaughter
Ruth Smeeth
Andrew Smith
Angela Smith
Jeff Smith
Nick Smith
Owen Smith
Karin Smyth
John Spellar
Keir Starmer
Wes Streeting
Gisela Stuart
Mark Tami
Gareth Thomas
Nick Thomas-Symonds
Emily Thornberry
Stephen Timms
Jon Trickett
Anna Turley
Karl Turner
Derek Twigg
Stephen Twigg
Chuka Umunna
Keith Vaz
Valerie Vaz
Holly Walker-Lynch
Tom Watson
Catherine West
Alan Whitehead
Phil Wilson
Rosie Winterton
John Woodcock

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Disability, Labour, Stuff that I don't think is very useful, Unemployment/claimants and welfare and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Voting, abstaining, and opposing the tories: a quick reminder

  1. Pingback: Scattered thoughts on anarcho-Corbynism, abstracto-communism, and unconvincing arguments | Cautiously pessimistic

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