The Labour party is now so broken, so foaming and fitting it’s calling Harriet Harman a Tory. She is supporting the idea that the state shouldn’t necessarily be paying benefits for impecunious women to have twelve children. This makes her Norman Tebbit in a frock.
She stood up at PMQs to long Conservative cheers, applause, acclaim. How pleased they were with her. “One of us! One of us!”
The Speaker, now a toad beneath the Tory harrow made no attempt to control them. His livelihood is dependent on pleasing his erstwhile enemies who had been his erstwhile friends and who are currently his masters.
Harriet, in her big white power jacket, looked better and sounded more leaderly than any of the leadership candidates. She doesn’t have Cooper’s vinegary misery-mongering, or Burnham’s SpAd mentality, and she’s got fifty kilos on Kendall. That’s all good. She’s also fractionally less left wing than front runner Jeremy Corbyn. Labour could do worse than Harriet. And almost certainly will.
She made her point that a rise in the minimum wage won’t compensate for the cuts in tax credits for working people. More people will be worse off. Cameron – marvelously relaxed, easy, head of house – said she hadn’t grasped the effect of the living wage. It’s true: she may not have.
The effect of the living wage is to destroy the Labour party.
That and denying a living wage for Labour in the form of union funding. Now, workers will have to consent to having their wages docked by unions. This she called an “attack on working people”. Working people might describe it differently. Were these compulsory deductions being made in other circumstances, Harriet would be demanding consumer protection, Cameron said, and prosecutions for misselling.
What a collective wince went up through the thinking left.
We are seeing relatively strict fiscal program put out alongside a relatively liberal social policy.
It is reminiscent of something, this “economic efficiency and social justice”.
In Labour’s view the Tories are worse than Tories.
Lower than vermin.
They are Blairites.
Nothing is higher in the demonology of the left than Blair’s lethal, election-winning combination.
The living wage. Tax reductions. Strike laws. Union funding. Popular welfare reforms. NHS boost. And – holy of holies – the boundary reviews. The Tories have 10 years inked in.
Harriet might be right. It might not be fair. But it’s politics.
Just one last observation on Miliband’s leadership: his party’s current chaos is his legacy. The one thing he is said to have done is now it’s undoing. He kept the party together. And he did so by not confronting the dilemmas they are failing to confront now. Miliband is the architect of his party’s destruction.
Maybe he was the secret Tory all along.