Monday, November 23, 2015

Labour MPs don't need a free vote to exercise the same freedom that Corbyn enjoyed

Amidst all the uncertainty about the position Labour will take on bombing Syria, one thing that intensely irritates me is the claim of the party's "moderates" that Jeremy Corbyn has no business imposing any kind of discipline on MPs, given his long record of rebelling against his predecessors.  The rules of the game are actually pretty simple -

1) You can't vote against the party line on a motion of confidence in the government.  (If you do, you'll be suspended or expelled from the parliamentary party.)

2) If you vote against the party line on a three-line whip, you have to give advance warning and explain yourself.

3) Except in unusual circumstances, you can't defy the whip if you're a minister or a shadow minister.  If you do, you'll be expected to leave the front bench.

To the best of my knowledge, Jeremy Corbyn has not broken any of these rules since he became an MP in 1983.  If he had, in all likelihood he would not be Labour leader now, because the whip would have been withdrawn and he would not have been eligible to put himself forward.

So if a whip is imposed on Syria or any other vote, Corbyn will simply be asking MPs to adhere to exactly the same rules he was bound by as a backbencher.  They'll have the same freedom to rebel that he had - although Shadow Cabinet members and other frontbenchers will have to pay a heavy price if they exercise that freedom.  And it might not be a bad thing for Corbyn in the long run if some of the "moderates" in his team force him into sacking them, because at the moment his ecumenicism is proving more of a weakness than a strength.

21 comments:

  1. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 24, 2015 at 12:37 AM

    James young fellow Corbyn is a gonner. His opponents are being semi diplomatic. But he is history. Helping out in foodbanks moreso in Scotland is maybe something he should consider along with Scottish Nat sis.

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    1. But we need Corbyn to stay so that the tories can win the next election by a landslide.

      Aldo

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  2. It is a bit 'death of a thousand cuts' at the moment. I can't think of another example of a leader with so little support in his parliamentary party. Eventually, either Corbyn will have to go, or the PLP will have to be reshaped to be a little more to his liking.

    Apparently the Labour left are at work taking over the party's internal mechanisms so if a move is to be made, it may have to be made after that. My bet would be on one of the Eagles as the first to jump or be pushed.

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  3. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 24, 2015 at 1:05 AM

    Corbyn will go. There are too many people who care about Britain. And dare I say some Nat sis! who are collecting their salaries.

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  4. Corbyn won the leadership election with the best results in Labour history. He has worked all his life for the 1% over the 99%. He is putting forward real socialist challenges to the Tory and Blairite narrative for the first time in 20 years. I'd have thought this site would be behind him rather than against him

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    1. It's GWC - a unionist - who is against Jeremy and his socialist agenda. He wants Corbyn's socialism gone.

      Personally, as I live in Scotland and Corbyn is an English MP from London, he's fairly irrelevant to me.

      I mean Scottish Labour are an 'autonomous party' so I can't even vote for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour anyway.

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassNovember 24, 2015 at 9:11 PM

      Sorry to disagree chaps. Corbyn talks about socialism but has not yet provided a clear manifesto. The Nat sis talk a lot about welfare and food banks, well they did before the election however they have not committed themselves to alleviating this problem. You need money to solve these problems so will the Nat sis raies the money. I am not a big earner but I am prepared to pay additional tax. None of you Nat sis seem to want to put your hands in your pockets to help your fellow Scotsmen. All you lot produce is moaning, hard done tae stories and flatulence.

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  5. 66% of Labour members think Corbyn is doing well, poll suggests. More than voted him in.
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2015/nov/24/66-of-labour-members-think-corbyn-is-doing-well-poll-suggests-politics-live

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  6. I have been making this point consistently. There is a serious democratic crisis. The evidence is that the vast majority of Labour Party members and activists are in favour of the agenda Jeremy Corbyn is pursuing.
    The fact that Jeremy Corbyn is being relentlessly attacked and subjected to withering character assassination by members of the PLP, and the media, including the Guardian, shows a deliberate and sinister anti-democratic black propaganda campaign, to undermine the democratically elected leader of the opposition. No previous party leader in British political history has had this level of support from their own party members.

    This campaign of dirty propaganda by the media and these unrepresentative Labour MPs is sinister. They are desperately trying to turn the public against Jeremy Corbyn to undermine him, before the public get to know anything about him. Many of these media reports criticising Jeremy Corbyn, are bare-faced lies. Jeremy Corbyn says one thing, and it is deliberately misrepresented, and claimed he said something entirely different, to smear him. Repetitively telling serious lies about the leader of the opposition to smear them and undermine the public support for them, is something you expect from fascists, not supposedly our free press.

    Let me make something very clear, before I am dismissed as a left winger or mindless Corbyn supporter. It is highly likely that I would not vote Labour in an election. I voted Green during the general election, and I would likely vote the same again. I am not and have never been a member of the Labour Party. But I support the right of people to vote for radical alternatives to the status quo.

    It is sinister, and completely undemocratic for a self-serving Establishment clique, including the media to try to undermine a democratically elected leader of the opposition with outright lies and dirty propaganda. Our media has completely lost it's moral compass, and they are abusing their position, to feed this constant stream of lies and character assassination to the public. These relentless, and often utterly dishonest personal attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, go way beyond anything warranted by the facts.

    At the same time David Cameron gets a bizarre free ride from the media, despite the convincing evidence that during the general election he told bare-faced lies, and engaged in deceit to get elected. Cameron claimed there were no plans to cut Tax Credits, and flatly denied there were any such plans to cut Tax Credits, when they clearly were. This is one of only numerous apparent lies that David Cameron has told since he became leader of the Conservative Party. Yet bizarrely the media never hold him to account for this, and essentially act as agents of the Conservative Party by covering up and explaining away Cameron's constant lying and duplicity, in which he appears to deliberately deceive the public, time and time again.

    If David Cameron had been properly held to account by the media, and taken to task on his flippant dishonesty, we would almost certainly not have a Conservative Government. We do not have a functioning democracy. We have a plutocracy, in which a small serving clique, abuse their position in the media. The media no longer reports news, it has become a propaganda service for the Establishment and vested interests. I am not just talking about the Tory Press.

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    1. "I have been making this point consistently. There is a serious democratic crisis. The evidence is that the vast majority of Labour Party members and activists are in favour of the agenda Jeremy Corbyn is pursuing."

      This is undoubtedly true. The problem is that they are far too the left of public opinion, and the MPs, who have much more contact with ordinary voters, are all too aware of this.

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  7. As opposed to SNP MPs who are enjoying considerable freedom with other people's money :-p

    Will there be any left by the next election? suPAloLz.

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    1. Where's the 10k the police are searching Kezia Dugdale's office for gone?

      http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/police-probe-missing-10-000-from-labour-party-coffers-1-3907487

      ;-)

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    2. Deflectors on full cap'n, she cannae take much more! Yes, a local party treasurer is the same as an MP :-)

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    3. Och you know what I mean.

      Michelle Thomson gate did naff all and neither will Natalie McGarry. That's not how it works.

      If both were found guilty of something pretty bad and the SNP tried to protect them to the last, that might have an effect (although that would not necessarily mean more votes for unionist parties, but maybe for other indy parties). Simply being possibly maybe implicated in something and parties taking action as a appropriate changes nothing by contrast.

      That's just how the electorate work. They don't go 'Right, that's it, because an MP from a party maybe did something wrong, now I have completely changed my political stance and will vote for this other party that I strongly disagree with'.

      If people actually did that, Labour and the Tories would have no supporters at all by now, what with the numbers that have actually been sent to jail, caught with duck houses etc.

      ;-)

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    4. I tend to agree Skier. Support for New Labour didn't collapse after the Bernie Ecclestone scandal. Indeed, after multiple scandals and a dodgy war, Labour were still winning elections.

      The SNP will probably remain popular until they hit people in the wallet/purse. That's what history teaches us - that economic and financial matters bring down governments - not someone caught with their fingers in the till (allegedly!). Fortunately for us unionists, new tax powers and changes to local taxation mean that the SNP is likely to get itself in a right pickle at some point in the next few years.

      Aldo

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    5. James.

      You may wish to address the potential defamation posted by WeSaidNoToYesMen above. To my knowledge, no one has been identified as the person who nicked £10 grand or so from Kez's constituency funds.

      While that may be surprising, given how long ago it happened, the only defence against WeSaidNoToYesMen's allegation would be that the allegation was true. If s/he knows that to be the case then s/he should immediately communicate their information to Police Scotland.

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  8. It's even more obvious that voting Labour in Scotland is a wasted vote. Worse: it is a vote for the Westminster establishment. and A choice between Corbyn and Cameron? God no, it's a choice between hope and fear, between independence and the continued suppression of Scotland.

    Vote SNP?SNP next year.

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  9. What a position Labour are in. Some will abstain, some will vote for, some will vote against. Completely incoherent on a matter of defence of the realm - they cannot be trusted.

    Nor can the SNP - who will vote against simply to spite what they see as the British establishment.

    The government will win however. The mess within the Labour ranks pretty much guarantees it.

    Aldo

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    1. Who are you trying to convince on this blog Aldo? Yourself, or even your wee pal GWC?

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    2. Just engaging with my fellow North Britishers David.

      Aldo

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    3. Aldo

      Congratulations on your engagement! I hope you and GWC will be very happy together.

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