As has been pointed out by several people already, Labour's excuse for dozens of their MPs (including their deputy Scottish leader) failing to show up in the Commons to vote against the Bedroom Tax doesn't actually make sense. The rules stipulate that the pairing arrangement with the Tories cannot be used on votes of great importance. So that leaves only two possibilities - either Labour are saying that the Bedroom Tax is not a matter of importance (which would utterly destroy their credibility in the eyes of many Scots), or those MPs should have turned up to vote.
But it's always a huge mistake at a time like this to underestimate the inventiveness of Scottish Labour's one-man online presence Duncan Hothersall. When all the plausible excuses have run out, have no fear, Dunc will still find an implausible one to cling to with all his strength. Here's what he dreamt up for the occasion this time -
Duncan Hothersall : No surprise; when the Tories and the Lib Dems vote in favour of the #bedroomtax, in Scotland it's Labour who get the blame. #brokenpolitics
Natalie McGarry : There is no other commitment an MP has at the moment more important than voting against #bedroomtax - even if Unwinnable.
Duncan Hothersall : How much public money are you prepared to spend on transit for an unwinnable vote? Money that could pay for public services.
Now let's try and suppress our guffaws for a moment (I must admit it was the '#brokenpolitics' hashtag that really cracked me up), and do Duncan the courtesy of working his point through to its logical conclusion. The thing is, of course, that the vast majority of votes at Westminster on contentious government policies are 'unwinnable' for Labour. (The reason they're unwinnable, let's not forget, is the Neanderthal tribalism displayed by the likes of Duncan's hero Tom Harris, who helped to sabotage any possibility of cooperation between Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the days after the 2010 general election, thus ushering into office a majority Tory-led coalition.) So, according to the Dunc Dinktum, all Labour members outwith the immediate vicinity of London should be saving valuable funds for public services by not attending any of those votes.
Simple question, Duncan - why don't they do that? And if you actually believe what you say, why aren't you angry that they don't do that?
Simple answer - because you don't believe what you say. Not one word.