Who would have thought? The little old bedroom tax, the policy which had 70% public support when introduced would be the catalyst for the end of the coalition? That is ALL that happened today and no changes will happen to the bedroom tax policy itself ahead of the next general election.
Let me restate that – there will be NO CHANGE to the bedroom tax this side of the election.
For all the hundreds of thousands of bedroom tax affected households there is no direct cheer in this at all and no immediate cheer.
However, what today’s vote did was two things which are positive.
Firstly, it means the bedroom tax as a political issue WILL form a significant art of the next General Election campaigns and be a big issue in those campaigns. Secondly, it means the Labour Party now have to be FULLY committed to getting rid of it and getting rid of it as a major political priority should they form the next government. There is no wriggle room left for them at all.
It also means of course that the next 8 months or so until the election we will be hearing so much more purported fact and assumption about the bedroom tax and what its consequences and impacts are. That means a more right wing stance will be taken by the Tories and more blame will be cast upon all benefit recipients. They will be even bigger scroungers than before in Tory spin (of course excluding pensioners who receive two-thirds of all welfare benefits!) and the tens of thousands of tenants and activists on Facebook anti bedroom tax groups will become even more emotional and more irate and will be portrayed that way by the Tories.
Greater infiltration of such groups by politicos of the ‘left’ will happen and the anti bedroom tax groups which are largely grassroots ordinary people most of whom have never been politically active before are now a target group for the Johnny come lately politicos and seen as easy prey for them – After all the humble ordinary tenant has achieved more than any left wing political faction has done in decades with the anti bedroom tax campaign.
Please do not allow this party politics to happen.
The Labour Party is whoopin an a hollerin over today’s vote because it creates huge political division but nothing else. They are not happy because right and just arguments over the principle of the pernicious bedroom tax policy and its impacts happened, and couldn’t be because that is not what happened at all. All that happened was the politics of the Parties showed its usual ugly head.
The Lib Dems wanted to persuade the electorate that they have a political spine and to persuade the electorate their previous complicity with the Tories should all be forgotten. Labour wanted to embarrass the Tories and have a few jibes at the Lib Dems at the same time. Yet both Lib Dem and Labour MPs know and knew ahead of todays debate that the bedroom tax policy itself would not change before the next election and the wishy washy watered down proposals would not see thee light of day before the election.
There is even a political argument that today’s vote favoured the Tories. They can now present themselves as even more right wing and now need to in order to hold to their ridiculous view that the bedroom tax saves money and there was a need for the spare room subsidy to be removed from those scrounging layabouts who choose to live on benefits and enjoy larger properties than the working family can afford.
The hundreds of pro UKIP arch right wing dissenters in the Tory MP ranks will cheer that a more strident right-wing message now HAS to come out from Cameron’s government and perversely the adored very right-wing buffoon of the Tory front bench in IDS has actually INCREASED his standing in the Tory Party not reduced it. We need many more like good ole IDS will be the call from the Tory rank and file – a truly perverse outcome from a truly perverse policy.
But sod politics…the real issue is still the poor bedroom tax victims who will still have this pernicious bedroom tax applied and still have to go through hell and stress unbounded for a further 8 months and more and all the while politicians pat themselves on the back for stabbing the bedroom tax in the back with a limp pencil which is what happened today. Rest assured you will be bombarded with leaflets and emails telling you what a wonderful job the Labour Party has done and how the Lib Dems finally saw sense etc…yet still the bedroom tax household goes without essentials.
While parents skip meals each and every week so their children can have a less then two year old school uniform, while those parents put two or three jumpers on of an evening and put extra blanket on their children’s beds as they cant afford to heat where they live. How parents will always smile and tell their children everything will be ok while they worry sick and don’t answer the phone and don’t answer the front door. All of that remains for a further 8 months at least reader and is no cause for celebration at all
So much shite (no apologies for that correct language) will be spoken about and written on social media and on TV and radio and printed in tomorrows papers about today in Parliament. That shite is written to sell newspapers or get a higher TV or radio audience share and will undoubtedly miss the points above – that this pernicious policy with its horrific and offensive consequences will still continue to be inflicted on 480,000 households or about 1.1 million men women and children.
I am being emotive her reader?
No far from it. IF the Tories are not taken out of power at the next general election, that is they don’t win an absolute majority or form another coalition, then God help the tenant and God help social housing too. Six months ago many were certain the Tories would lose the next general election and especially social landlords who had not made contingency plans for the Tories remaining in power after next May. Yet even after today is anyone certain the Tories will be voted out of office altogether? If they are they are very quiet about it.
Today’s vote also means “welfare” and “welfare benefits” will be high on the election campaign issues not just the bedroom tax in isolation. The general public like the benefit cap and man other welfare reforms such as direct payments and monthly payments of benefit. The general public still like to believe that all those on benefit are scoungers, that their 40 hours a week on minimum age zero-hour contracts makes them better than the benefit recipient and keeps that benefit recipient as THE figure of blame that justifies their shite lot in life for working so many hours for buttons.
You still in the mood for false celebration after today’s vote? Don’t be. Tenant and other activist grassroots groups have done fantastically well so far opposing the bedroom tax, they have done ten, twenty, a hundred times more than any political party or any politicos have done; yet know the real hard work begins as we have to convince the general pulic that the benefit cap and monthly payments and direct payments and Universal Credit is just as bad if not worse than the bedroom tax, and that is a much bigger undertaking ad so little time to do it in.
Apologies for the downbeat tone reader but that just reflects what today was – political shenanigans and bugger all to do with the lot of the bedroom tax victim