It’s not every day you find a single vote that fails so catastrophically on every single level. To vote to maintain the public sector pay freeze is bad policy, worse politics and, with the DUP’s involvement, a pathetic and despicable farce.
The Labour amendment was simple. In light of the promise to hand over our money to keep May in power, give our public sector works the pay rise they deserve. Not a massive pay rise, just so that their wages keep up with inflation.
May’s decision to continue the stealth impoverishment of our hard working public servants is the worst decision of her career. A career that has now involved calling and losing a snap election. Not only will it continue to lead nurses to foodbanks but it will now lead many other professions down the same route.
Soldiers, trainee police officers, paramedics. Where will it end? All to save a few quid she might later fritter away on her latest fancy. An election last month, the DUP today and the Queen’s palace tomorrow.
To make so public a commitment to spending £1bn on investment in Northern Ireland before refusing to invest in nurses is hideous. This investment may be necessary, I don’t know enough to say, but to make such a public show of handing over the purse strings whilst sending Nurses to food banks is severely wrong-headed.
Moreover, it impoverishes the rest of us. With no public sector to compete against private companies will delight in further driving down wages. Without the constant government pressure to maintain wage increases with inflation, income inequality will increase. A fact that is increasingly being felt by voters.
After the last few months saw the Grenfell towers burn, several catastrophic terror attacks, and an aging NHS brought to its knees by cyber attacks, May has looked under her magic money tree and found nothing. All those kind words about the bravery of those who serve, about the courage of those who protect us are just that words.
Which is why this is dreadful politics.
And what’s just as despicable is how the Tories reacted to voting down an amendment to give fair pay to our heroic emergency services and other public sector workers such as nurses – by cheering:
MPs vote to reject Labour's amendment to the Queen's speech calling for public sector pay cap to be lifted, by 323 votes to 309 pic.twitter.com/AXkNseH99p
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 28, 2017
To find yourself on the opposite side to nurses, the police and the army is, in blunt terms, stupid. Thatcher knew this, even at her most megalomaniacal she never cut the police. It is never worth it, but now May has not just cut the police, she won’t commit to cutting it further.
This is after weeks of public press releases about “the government rethinking” their austerity politics. Weeks of polling showing how unpopular austerity has becomes. Weeks of proof that these cuts put lives at risk.
And that’s without thinking of the orange spectre at the feast. The farcical sight of the DUP voting to ensure no other part of the country gets extra funds, having just demanded their own. They need them, they insist.
Yeah, well so do the rest of us.
This was what Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell had to say about the vote:
Tories and DUP just voted together to oppose Labour's policy to give emergency and public service workers a fair pay rise. Utter disgrace.
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) June 28, 2017
McDonnell’s sentiments were echoed throughout social media:
What an insult. The Tories opportunistically praise public sector workers when there's an emergency, then vote to slash their real terms pay https://t.co/gdczLHRosT
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) June 28, 2017
This was lawyer-turned-activist Peter Stefanovic’s take on the despicable actions of the Tories and the DUP:
So, this is it for May, it really has to be. After everything else, the sight of a broken woman taking a last stab at the emergency services will hopefully be the turning point in the demise of the last remnants of her increasingly ebbing popularity.
She might not leave office right away, but June was certainly the beginning of the end for May.
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