Acting leader of the Labour party Harriet Harman, has spoken out and said that she wouldn’t be opposing a number of the latest Conservative policies announced in the budget.
Speaking on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme on Sunday, “What we’ve got to do is listen to what people round the country said to us.” Ms Harman has said that she and her party won’t be opposing policies like the welfare bill and the benefit cap.
Her bold statements have not been echoed by her back benchers.
All but one of the candidates for the role of new Labour leader have refuted her comments. Liz Kendall has been the only electoral candidate to support Ms Harman – a move which may prove telling in what appears to be selection of limited variety.
Ms Kendall, who spoke today along with her opponents on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, said, “If we’re going to oppose something, we have to set out how we would fund it, otherwise people won’t trust us”. The other candidates, who include Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn, appear to all be following the blueprint that Ed Miliband used to lead his party to one of the worst Labour defeats decades. Whether Ms Kendall’s support will backfire like remains to be seen.
What is clear is that both her and Harriet Harman are deliberately removing themselves from the old Labour model that seems to be more outdated than tickets to a Westlife gig.
The main policy which has divided opinion concerns Tax Credit for those working part time. Nearly three-million people could be £1,400 per year worse off under the new proposals. The household benefit cap for people who have three or more children is the other point of contention within her party. Some Labour MP’s have opposed the cuts but, as Ms Kendall outlined, without having a clear alternative the party’s efforts to argue against it are futile.
Political interest aside, and whether or not you agree with the policies in question, what has to be championed here is the political bravery of standing up and backing another parties policies. Far too often the chamber looks like a boxing match without the attractive ring girls – people hurling abuse at each other from both sides of the room.
Who would have thought that democracy started at 88 dB?
To play is out, Ladies and Gentleman, here is