South Tyneside betrayed by their MPs

Tuesday’s vote in the Commons on the Jobseekers Bill should leave a bitter taste in the mouth of all Labour supporters and voters. The Bill, pushed through by the government to retrospectively change the law to allow them to get away with theft of jobseeker’s benefits, should have faced stiff opposition.

It didn’t.  On the contrary, the majority of Labour MPs abstained, allowing the Bill to pass with barely a squeak.  Among those Labour MPs who didn’t vote were South Tyneside’s David Miliband and Stephen Hepburn.  This vote was a clear choice between right and wrong.  Our MPs did nothing.

For a party that claims to represent the working class, they failed miserably.  Labour has no credibility as an opposition party, instead being the appeasing third spoke of this Tory led government.

The people of South Tyneside are facing tough times which are set to get tougher, and their Labour MPs don’t even stand up and be counted for them.

I can’t help but wonder why people continue to vote Labour, when it’s MPs take their votes for granted, whilst at the same time failing to put their voters’ interests first.

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17 responses to “South Tyneside betrayed by their MPs”

  1. Kevin Rigg says :

    I wonder if the complexity and difficulty of the current economic situation has reduced the ability of political parties to carryout their remit. We have seen LibDems backtracking on their promises; Tory supporters who seem to think the government is not right wing enough, and then the issue that you have raised.

    Another anomaly with government let’s remember is, there is generally nothing special about those who govern, they are not qualified at high level economics, have never got their hands dirty at the coalface, have not had specific training or experience in their field and yet wield huge amounts of power.

    I often wonder if there should be a minimum qualification needed to be active in cabinet positions in councils and to be an MP!

    • brian paget says :

      Hi, Kevin. Sorry for the late reply. You’re right – many politicians today have taken politics as a career path, with little ‘real world’ experience. That’s not necessarily a criticism, as some politicians really do want to try and help make the world a better place. Even if there is a lack of experience, I would hope they were intelligent enough to face the challenge, and if they are lucky enough to get into government, we have a civil service that has evolved to try and ease the journey for politicians. The problem with that currently though, is the level of political interference by lobbyists and consultants appointed to roles that in the past were carried out by civil servants. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Treasury, where the one dimensional economic policy seems more like something spewed out by interns from the big accounting than a coherent plan recover the economy.

      • Peter W Skevington says :

        I think that John Anglin’s video interview on “Gazette online” certainly makes for interesting viewing and listening. Will be interesting to see what support there is for a credible UKIP candidate Perhaps the town might benefit from the heightened media interest during the next few weeks. Would be great if some large, financially secure American companies were attracted here as a “quid pro quo” basis and created a few thousand jobs.

      • brian paget says :

        I hope you’re right but I’m a bit more cynical I’m afraid. The Telegraph has already blogged on the Hepburn-Malcolm fight episode in the 90s, and it won’t be long before some journalist digs up other murky goings-on South Shields’ recent-ish past. The muck raking from Mr Monkey and The Fat Councillor (and that Westoe election leaflet), and the outbursts of Ahmed Khan and David Potts are hardly the high spots of politics in South Shields.

        The Potts issue might be something that a UKIP candidate for South Shields has to face down.

        There’s a lot to consider. I think I’ll ponder on this a bit more.

        I’m still trying figure out if David Miliband was a good MP for the town.

  2. Kevin Rigg says :

    Another concern with civil servants and local government officers is the amount of protocol and process they have to adhere to (yes, I know some are necessary). The levels of accountability required often mean that action takes longer than necessary and as a result becomes more expensive.
    I am supportive of the public sector but have always been amazed at the amount of hurdles they seem to have to encounter to get things done.
    Also, is it just me but do senior civil servants who do not always seem to perform well simply ‘job hop’ into some other department is another well paid senior post?
    You seem to be inferring a level of government bias by Treasury civil servants; this wouldn’t surprise me – a class thing perhaps?
    I’m pleased to have found this blog. It seems balanced and user friendly, I hope it attracts other like minded debaters.

    • brian paget says :

      I think the job hopping, or ‘strategic personnel redeployment’ as I’ve it heard it called, isn’t limited to the public sector. It’s not unheard of in the private sector either, and has been a tactic used by the Roman Catholic Church to try and protect child rapist priests.

      In terms of the Treasury issue I’m not sure if class is a factor, but social connections surely must be, and some of those will follow class lines. However, I suspect it has more to do with who is funding the party, who is providing the free interns, producing the studies and briefing papers and so forth. The recent No 10 tweet episode illustrated how blurred the lines between civil servant and lobbyist have become. Why would companies pay so much for this access if they didn’t want to influence government policy?

      • Kevin Rigg says :

        Perhaps ‘Job Hopping’ is simply more visible in the public sector. Protecting the company’s public image (or religious image) seems to be achieved by brushing under-achievers or offenders under the carpet! They can then go on to underachieve or offend elsewhere.

        My comment on ‘class’ is based on the ratio of former Oxbridge / high-end public school civil service employees who are in positions of authority in the Treasury. This creates a paradox; you need well-educated civil servants but these are mainly recruited from a particular background, which espouses particular values. The current philosophy seems to be to reducing further the ability for those from deprived areas to gain higher education – thus further establishing the current position. In a more educated society I wonder how long it will be before we see a significant reaction to this?

        When we look back over history and see how the economic or imperial aspirations of nations led to wide conflict, and consider the economic tension that is currently bubbling in Europe together with the Arab Spring / Islamic Revolution that is creating an East West divide, and throw Iran and North Korea into the recipe…? Whilst I may have rambled into a new subject I am arguing that the potential for a widening of class division in Britain is but a small end of a wider wedge in Europe; and with other global tensions on-going who knows what the future holds!

    • Peter W Skevington says :

      You are on the money, Kevin. I worked in regulatory services, where we had to follow strict procedures and were regulated closely ourselves. Sadly, some local politicians had little or no idea of what our powers were and remit was, and, along with members of the public, thought that we were vacillating, when we could not resolve an issue, right a wrong or solve a problem within 24 hours. Some time ago, whilst still one of the twitterati I engaged in an exchange with a local political figure, during the course of which I even went to the trouble of showing, as far as is practicable on twitter, in diary form how I used to spend my time working, and the tasks that I carried out; the final response was that I was a b***sh****r. So if that represented a response to an open honest disclosure of how one LGO spent his working time, what chance have public servants, teachers being a particular example of the genre, of making a case for adequate resources, recompense, and respect.

    • Peter W Skevington says :

      The “Daily Telegraph” political blog, a frightening place to spend much time; think that I would prefer to face the Leinster front row.

  3. Peter W Skevington says :

    The DM related comments on “Gazette” online are negative in the main. Regrettably it is not the tweetings of, for example, Cllr Ernest Gibson, that attract national attention, but those of the parties referred to.As for the “Mr M” case aka San Mateo Civ 482779, I wonder just where it is going , by what route, and at what cost. We need an expert in Californian civil legal procedure to blog on here and explain what is going on. IMO the blog was so potentially defamatory and cruel that it needed a thorough investigation, but 4 years on and with costs mounting, the increasingly costly process without seeming resolution is most concerning.

  4. Peter W Skevington says :

    What intrigues me about some of the “GAZ” online posters is the way that they label politicians as “crooks”, “snouts in trough” etc without producing one shred of credible evidence in support of this; Miliband’s resignation has been a catalyst for this. One poster responded to a request to come up with a 10 point plan to regenerate the area with the most bizarre almost Joycean scenarios, but nothing practical, realistic or constructive. I have proposed the need for a website and online forum where businesspersons, LGO’s, local politicians, local residents et al can debate and discuss in a mature, adult manner how best to regenerate and improve the area without being “trolled” or abused; “to dream the impossible dream” comes to mind. Someone, perhaps you, BP or Kevin needs to objectively assess DM’s tenure as MP.

  5. Peter W Skevington says :

    Regarding UKIP I have a perverse desire to see them enjoying some measure of electoral success, because they need to be tested, be held electorally accountable and carry some heavy baggage by actually running something ie large city council, or having a few MPs representing areas like South Shields, where the populace look to their MP to battle right of centre economic forces and a Government whose policies will apparently take even more disposable income/spending power out of the local economy.

    • norpol99 says :

      UKIP are the new BNP. I do not mean they are the new pseudo- Nazi party, rather than that they offer a direction for the protest voter. Unhappy with the Conservatives, vote UKIP; unhappy with the apparent economic dangers of Europe, vote UKIP; unhappy with the way British society is becoming more ethnically plural, vote UKIP. In other words, they have an appeal to the disenchanted voter. Unless there are any real political policies to be had from them (other than opposition type rhetoric), it is likely they will initially appear to do well at the polls, but I feel this will be short lived.

      BNP offered a similar route, which again was short lived whilst gaining a foothold in Europe and in one or two councils. Such political trends need to be taken seriously in the event they gain a stronghold. If I recall Cleadon have never voted in a UKIP candidate they voted in an inappropriate turncoat. I hope that the electorate address this too.

      • brian paget says :

        It’s something I’ve heard before on the doorsteps Kevin. “I’m not voting for your lot-they’re all in for themselves. I’m voting BNP!” UKIP seem to be the new ‘protest’ flavour of the week, when really they’re just Tories who think Cameron is some kind of socialist. It’s hardly surprising that UKIP seem to have a popularity surge given the ridiculous amount of coverage they get in the media. It seems the BBC has Nigel Farage on speed dial whenever they want a renta-rightwing comment.

        One thing I noticed in the past at vote counts, is that UKIP and BNP party members seem very comfortable in each other’s company.

  6. Peter W Skevington says :

    Wonder how long it will be before a UK Tea Party is formed. Apparently they would classify a left leaning Tory as a socialist. My opinion is that any local politician who changes party allegiance should resign and stand for re- election.

    • Kevin Rigg says :

      An interesting point Peter. However, who do the electorate vote for? The policies of a party, or the strengths advertised of an individual? If we merely vote for a party then do we not fall into the trap of simply voting for the person who wears our favourite coloured rosette?

      • Peter W Skevington says :

        There appears to have been examples of electors voting for a candidate in the local council elections because of the standing and respect in which the candidate is held in our ward, or that is how it appears from anecdotal doorstep evidence. I regularly attend CAF meetings, where there is a consensus of opinion regarding local issues, a badly potholed road,litter and dog muck, serious parking problems, these are hardly issues about the solutions for which councillors disagree, whatever their political allegiance. What galls the electorate is a councillor or MP who does not regularly attend meetings, hold surgeries, listen to local people and speak up on behalf of their ward or South Tyneside. However, if local resources continue to be cut, some local issues may not be satisfactorily resolved, because there is insufficient staff, equipment etc available.

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