Thursday, 1 November 2012
Cut their cash
It seems appropriate on the feast of All-Saints that the ghost of Major past was resurrected in the Commons yesterday. A Tory PM mauled by his own back benchers on an European issue. Sounds familiar.
Undoubtedly, the defeat David Cameron suffered will have damaged his credibility and make him look weak. If the vote was seen in isolation then he could have shrugged it off, but it follows a whole series of events that give the impression that Number 10 are not wholly in control of events.
But before Labour gloat to much at the Prime Ministers predicament they should look to themselves. Their vote with right wing Euro sceptics is unlikely to do them much good in the long run. It doesn’t reflect well on them.
Political opportunism doesn’t go down well with the voter. Labour have opened themselves up to the charge of hypocrisy.
Well, each week Labour have attacked the Conservatives on their austerity programme. Labour have wanted a more sophisticated approach than wholesale cuts. They've been urging the Tories to weigh and measure where the axe falls so that the cuts do not harm economic growth. Many economists have agreed with this stance.
Yet, their vote last night contradicts this measured approach. They were screaming for outright cuts to the EC budget. No, ifs or buts, no discussion about priorities. Just let the axe fall.
Now, yes, this approach is very much red meat to the right wing Tories. They've never been known to use a scalpel when a sledgehammer will do. But surely one would expect more sophistication in Labour’s approach.
And the action of Welsh Labour MPs was particularly strange. In going down the lobby with such strange bedfellows they've shot themselves in the foot. Their constituencies have benefited from structural funds and CAP payments. Wales has received more than £6 billion of European money these past ten years.
What’s more the statistics say that there were 33,800 businesses helped by European money and 559,700 people helped. An awful lot of voters helped, methinks.
The Labour First Minister of the Assembly will undoubtedly be going cap in hand to get more of the same in the next round of such largesse. Where do Labour now stand about the various EU programmes to help boost growth and competitiveness in the poorer regions of the EU, of which Wales is one?
Carwyn Jones should demand answers from the opportunistic Miliband.
How often have we heard our politicians complain about the lack of growth in the EU hurting our economy. Would it not have been a wiser course for Her Majesty’s Opposition to push the government for a more sophisticated negotiation to shape the budget so as to encourage growth. Shouting and voting for cuts, is just playing to the gallery. It helps no one. It’s saloon bar politics at its worse.
What the country is calling out for is grown up politics. What we got instead last night was the politics of the schoolyard. Shame on them.