Monday 13th July
Trouble at mill for Labour. No change there then, but today’s particular example concerns benefit cuts. Acting Leader Harriet Harman has said that Labour will oppose measures including cuts to Child Benefit and the reduction of the Benefit Cap, saying “We cannot simply say to the public you were wrong at the election”.
Well, three of the leadership candidates disagree saying that Labour must stand against Tory cuts, whilst the other candidate says that Harman is entirely right. You will be unsurprised to learn that the latter is Liz Kendall, whose admirably honest campaign is beginning to look more and more like the kamikaze charge at the end of The Last Samurai.
Tuesday 14th July
As Labour continues to drift listlessly, the SNP are taking on the mantle of unofficial opposition. First, their 20 year-old MP, Mhairi Black, delivered the only effective response to last week’s Budget. Now they have declared that they will vote on fox-hunting, thereby delaying the vote as it raises the prospect of a defeat for the Government: if the Government can be defeated on a free vote, that is.
This means they will vote on a law which will not effect Scotland, and on an issue that Nicola Sturgeon specifically cited as one the SNP would not vote on before the election. But such inconsistency doesn’t matter for two reasons:
1. Fox-hunting is still opposed by 51% of the country.
2. Ms Sturgeon walks on water.
Wednesday 15th July
It is easy to get distracted by the Labour Leadership right now, but we forget that there is another race going on that no-one is paying any attention to.
I refer of course to the Conservatives. After all, no-one could get distracted by the Lib Dem Leadership. Not even Norman Lamb.
Big figures in the Tory party are currently fighting a cold war with each other, waiting for the moment when David Cameron goes to his dream career of chillaxer who doesn’t watch football.
Today saw the clearest potshot yet when Theresa May refused to allow the use of water cannons in England and Wales. Which is a little awkward because Mayor of London and fellow Cameron-vulture, Boris Johnson, authorised the Met to buy three last year.
May even raised questions about the quality of the water cannon Boris purchased. It transpires that Boris bought them at a reduction, because they were being phased out by the Germans. That’s right: they were crowd-control too cruel for the Germans.
Johnson, doing his best impression of Del Boy, said it had been a great opportunity to buy them on the cheap. Great work again from Boris, because when you’re dealing with technology that has been known to blind someone, you want to do it half-arsed and cut-price.
Thursday 16th July
And so it was that Tim Farron became Lib Dem Leader. Good. The suspense was barely registering.
Far more suspenseful, all of a sudden, is the Labour Leadership Contest, because it transpires that Jeremy Corbyn has a real chance of winning. According to the New Statesman, Corbyn may be able to get enough second preferences to pull off a surprise coup.
Which would be a disaster. Not so much for Labour but for Jeremy Corbyn, who has hitherto been so unexpectant of victory that he’s been canvassing to get a place on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
Nevertheless, he’ll never be Prime Minister, and we all know why: we haven’t had a bearded PM since the Marquess of Salisbury in 1902.
Oh – and the country just isn’t that left-wing. That too.
Friday 17th July
On a quiet Friday, one decides to look back at the week just gone by and it becomes apparent that I have been completely out-satirised by the Labour Party. What started on Monday (see above) just got worse and worse, all as Harriet Harman attempts to navigate waters she doesn’t seem to understand.
What sort of a statement is it from an opposition leader – “Acting” or otherwise – to say that we can’t tell the public that they are wrong. That is a key aspect of leadership in a nutshell, but by all means play to our inferred tune. By all means, don’t say anything that may be possibly unpopular, and absolutely, definitely don’t say what you think is right.
As if to counter-balance this, the Labour Party voted against certain welfare reforms in the budget, thereby allowing the Prime Minister to claim that they were fighting the Living Wage.
It is a sign of a party which is not just rudderless but in total disarray that such a characterisation was able to be put to them, and response came there none. It has recently been said that they lost the election just passed in the equivalent period five years ago: leaving a vacuum which allowed the Tories to cement their narrative on Labour overspend.
Well, if that was a vacuum, then this is the abyss.