Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The North by North Westminster Diary: Only One Direction for Rees-Mogg - Back to the Past

Wednesday 21st October
The migrant crisis really is just getting worse. There was a full two minute piece about it on the news, and we saw these poor people being herded about the place, all hopeful and expectant, and then being told by a man to go home, and they wept and they wailed. It was a real scene of human misery.
Later, it transpired that this was actually about the cancellation of a One Direction gig. Two minutes coverage on the lunchtime news. The arrival of 114 people on boats at a British base in Cyprus received a cursory mention. Proportionate news broadcasting at its best.
Meanwhile, Wednesday brought another round of Prime Minister’s Questions and Jeremy Corbyn delivered his most assured performance yet, but whenever he had Cameron unsettled, he changed subject.
Tax credits featured heavily, but only one man has identified the real issue. As ever, the matter has only been truly analysed by the searing, contemporary scrutiny of Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Yes, the Member for the 19th Century is worried about the widespread speculation that the House of Lords will chuck out the credit cuts, despite the fact that the Commons has now backed the plans twice.
Now, the Tories don’t have a majority in the Lords, and opposition Peers feel they are entitled to vote against the measure because:
a) it wasn’t in the Tory manifesto, and
b) the piece was introduced as secondary legislation, rather than a finance bill.
On Back to the Future Day, Rees-Mogg’s question took us back to 1678, and led to accusations that he was being “disingenuous” with his critiques of “the other place”.
However, it does seem like a delicious irony that the left may end up thanking their lucky stars when the deliverance from tax credit cuts comes from the House of Lords.
After all, it’s an anachronistic and undemocratic institution: but it works!

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