Saturday, 31 January 2009

Voting for the other side (2)

On what I suppose is a related point to the previous post, I got an email from someone on Friday which could be crudely summarised as saying 'As a Labour supporter, I'm upset that you don't have a track record of voting against the Government'. As I explained in my reply, that might well be because it's a Labour government, and I'm a Labour MP... She didn't seem to have any particular issue in mind, she just thought that it was something I should do on an occasional basis to prove my 'independence'.

Most of what the Government does accords with my political instincts, my principles, my evaluation of priorities, of what matters and what doesn't. Since I was elected in 2005 there have probably been half a dozen times I've been unhappy with legislation to the extent of seeking out Ministers to talk to them about it. In one case I was reassured by what the Minister told me, in the others I think the Government amended the legislation before it went through. In another case - the vote on super-casinos - I was very much against the proposals in principle, was won over by pleas from colleagues from Blackpool and Manchester, regretted it afterwards and was then very pleased when Gordon announced a U-turn.

There have been other issues which have involved me making representations behind the scenes, most notably on the 10p tax issue (not, admittedly, when it was first introduced, but when we became aware of the impact on a sizeable minority), and on Lebanon, when I told Number 10 that I wouldn't be able to support the Government stance if it came to a vote - it didn't, because Parliament wasn't recalled. And there have been numerous occasions when I've written to Ministers about the detailed stuff, i.e. not the stuff of rebellions, but the things that need tweaking, or improving. Plus Select Committee and Bill Committee work.

As for the commonly cited vote on theyworkforyou - voting against an inquiry into the Iraq war - that was just another Opposition day motion, and I don't think an inquiry at that stage would have achieved anything. That's not to rule out a future inquiry, but I think we've got enough on our plate at the moment. And why does theyworkforyou say 'voted strongly' when there was one vote, either for or against? (And for the record, I wasn't in Parliament when the Iraq vote was taken. I wasn't happy with the decision to go to war without a second UN resolution, but I didn't get to vote one way or another).


Mike said...

Perhaps she has more respect for people that are not New Labour sheep anxious to get up the career ladder..

Do you think you are somehow superior to your Parliamentary colleagues who do stand up for Labour values instead of quasi Tory ones?

Your response lacks any warmth or indeed understanding of why people feel like this lady. It illustrates why as a party Labour has lost so many thousands of members and activists.
It is also one of the reasons why Labour is set on course to fall at the next election in a big way.

You are just another New Labour robot.

Kerry said...

I expected that kind of response. Anyone who supports the Government is accused of being a careerist.

The fact is - the majority of Labour MPs support the Government because they think it's broadly doing the right thing and they accept that being in Government is about making difficult choices.

I'm true to what I believe in. I don't accept for a moment that this Government espouses quasi-Tory values. It's the kind of Labour government I want. To me, the idea of a John McDonnell-led Government (just to take as an example the most rebellious Labour MP) is preposterous. I used to be constituency chair for the second most rebellious Labour MP (Kelvin Hopkins), long before I had any thought of entering Parliament, and I fundamentally disagreed with his stance on a range of issues.

And if by 'response' you mean what I said by way of reply to her email - you haven't seen my reply,and you haven't seen what she wrote, so I don't think you're really in a position to comment.

Old Holborn said...

Interesting new title for your Blog Kerry

Has it just dawned on you?

It's over. 11 years and thank god it's over.

Kerry said...

No, I've been toying with the idea for a long time. (See 'From under the Floorboards' for a continuation of the same theme, although that was mostly motivated by a fine appreciation of the opening lines, its possible applicability to some of my favourite contributors, and the belief that if Dostoevsky's man from the Underground would be busy posting anonymous comments on blogs if he was around today. Sorry, I'm being pretentious. I will stop).

The Filthy Engineer said...

I personally would like my MP to have a brain. Most of us, out in the real world, have to make important decisions, and then stand by our decisions, right or wrong.

MP's use the excuse of, "Not me Guv", I was forced to vote for it.

Try using your conscience, you know it makes sense.

Catosays said...

I used to be constituency chair....

No you didn't. You were either a chairman or a chairlady and 'in extremis' I suppose you might have been a chairperson, but you were certainly not a chair.
So please stop the pretentiousness of PC speak and be human!!

Madasafish said...

Of course you should vote for your Party.

Your party which stands for workers' rights, individual freedoms, the rule of law, the right of all to have free education, the sweeping away of Tory sleaze and the bringing in of open and transparent Government.

Oops. I've made a mistake. You're a Labour MP.

None of the above apply.

Top up fees, an illegal war, Cash for peerages, peers on the make..10p tax.

If I made it up, no-one would believe it.

Kerry said...

Re The Filthy Engineer - exactly the point I was making - why, just because someone agrees with the Government, do you insist on saying that they aren't exercising their brain or are ignoring their conscience? Why can't you accept that it's simply the case that we actually agree with them?

You can say we're wrong to support them, and argue the underlying point, but the 'sheep' line is really insulting. And for some reason, it never seems to be used when Tories or Lib Dems support their frontbenches.

Atlas Shrugged said...

Do you think you are somehow superior to your Parliamentary colleagues who do stand up for Labour values instead of quasi Tory ones?

As a conservative I have no understanding of what a TORY is, do you really, or do you just think you do?

WE the ordinary people ARE ALL NICE CONSERVATIVES AND NICE SOCIALISTS at heart. What do you think ordinary people join political parties for?

Do you think they all want to eat babies and rub the poor of the worlds faces in the dirt simply for fun? That even includes members of The BNP. The vast majority of which are perfectly normal people, with hardly a real racist bone in their entire bodies, that was not put there by our own establishment.

In my experience the not so MIND CONTROLLED,( that is those that have not been subjected to an establishment brainwashing process, usually known as a higher or university education) are all mainly sensible, honest, mature, and hard working people, just trying to do the best for themselves their families and the wider community as a whole.

As a Conservative member, I can tell you that virtually all of our constituency members are either members of an ethnic minority such as myself, work in the public services, or are retired from same. Our current prospective MP is a very nice, very young, very Black women.

Socialism is the ideology of division not conservatism. This is MORE true now then at any time in the past.

Nice socialism does not exist, in practice. Socialism in a capitalist country is known now and always has been know as Corporate Capitalism, which is another term for FASCISM.

If you did not know this, do not blame me. Blame your Labour MP's, Trades Union officials or your university lecturers. You know the ones that get PAID to lie all of the time.

There always has been a large nice socialist element within the Conservative Party. But we both have a problem, and it is exactly the same problem.

Our Political parties are run and controlled entirely by the ESTABLISHMENT. Whats more this did not just happen in 1979. This has ALWAYS been the case. The Labour Party has set up entirely by the British establishment. I challenge any of you to come up with even a shed of evidence to counter my assertion. You cant because there is NONE. I know my real history you lot mainly only know what you read in establishment sponsored publications.

The working class do not organize ANYTHING except the ability to do real hard manual work. They are not capable, do not have the millions in cash, the inclination , or the time to organize anything, or much else.

The hard working middle classes are not much better. They in main simply vote for the more seemingly sensible Conservative Party and hope for the best.

We are divided and so the establishment rules/farms us ALL.

One day soon you will understand this. It very much surprises me that so called intelligent well educated nice socialists can not plainly see this reality for themselves.

Those that are bribed/waged one way or another by the system can not often see the nose situated on their own faces, even when they are told where to look.

CJ A said...

I'm sorry Kerry, but this entry just looks like you're covering your back. It seems you've been stung by the e-mail you've received and have written a quick rebuttal.

Your voting history doesn't look great to those who aren't interested in politics, but most of your constituents know you've been whipped into voting that way. To mention you agree on everything seems to be slightly disingenuous.

Old Holborn said...

OK, Kerry

Your call

What DON'T you agree with Gummint on

Kerry said...

I think I made clear that I haven't agreed on everything, but in those cases I've been able to make my views known, and often collective pressure from backbenchers has swayed the Government into amending the legislation. As I said, casinos was the one issue I regretted supporting, but my northern colleagues made a very persuasive case at the time! What are you suggesting I've voted for that I didn't support?

Kerry said...

And, Atlas... I'm not deliberately ignoring you, I'm just very confused... But I'd be interested to know if your 'very nice, very young, very black' woman has been selected in a winnable seat?

Old Holborn said...


Atlas Shrugged has posted here

That should give you something to think about when you get on the train to London to pick up your new orders from the men in charge of you

Anonymous said...

Atlas Shrugged? It looks like you've got the Ayn Rand brigade aboard now Kerry.

Socialism is fascism?

This and that they must be the same ...

Old Holborn said...

Kerry said

I think I made clear that I haven't agreed on everything, but in those cases I've been able to make my views known,

The views of the people who voted for you are much much important Kerry.

Do what THEY tell you, it's your JOB. Do what Gordon tells you in your own time, for free.

The Grim Reaper said...

The Filthy Engineer said "I personally would like my MP to have a brain."

There's an MP out there with a brain?!

Kerry said...

OH - you say, do what THEY tell you. So tell me, just how do I do that when I have 60,000 voters, with probably almost as many different views? Which one are you suggesting I listen to? The one who shouts the loudest, or sends me the most aggressive email? The one who gets to me first, or last? The one who I like the look of most? The one who promises me their vote if I do?

How about I try to listen to them all, listen to the Government, listen to the debate in Parliament, listen to the campaign groups, the press, the public at large - and then make my own mind up? [See A Level Government and Politics, representative cf. delegate, Burke's principle of representative democracy - ex-Bristol MP as I'm sure you know].

CJ A said...

Kerry, I'd never suggest you'd vote for anything you disagree with, after all I don't know you, apart from your work as an MP.

However, I would suggest your voting record is near identical to a fair few other Labour MPs, so you'll understand why the question is asked.

Although I must say, that the blog post looked like you were on the defensive. You'll be getting more criticism for that, than your record I'd suggest.

Kerry said...

"I would suggest your voting record is near identical to a fair few other Labour MPs". Yes - that's because I belong to the same political party as them, and have more or less similar political views. Why is that a surprise?

Old Holborn said...


The people who voted for you want FREE EVERYTHING

They want to invite everyone they know to participate in FREE EVERYTHING

New Labour promised FREE EVERYTHING

Now your boss says it's costing TRILLIONS and I, who didn't vote for you or New Labour, have to pay for it all.

YOU now have to deliver, you promised it after all. I don't.

I have a great business, despite ZNL. I invoice in Euros, I'm taxed in Europe and I've never been richer, despite Gordon.

I see you back in conveyancing, selling reposessed properties. Doing what your boss tells you to do.

It's what you do.

I've let Iain and Guido know you are losing it.

CJ A said...

Kerry, It's not a surprise. There's going to be a lot of people in the same party with the same opinions. I was hoping there was a different reason for your votes, rather than having the same political opinions of Geoff Hoon.

Kerry said...

OH, that's complete nonsense, and I'm pretty sure you know it. Why, when you obviously take an interest in politics, do you resort to such childishness? Is it just because you can't be bothered to present the point in a coherent, well-argued way? Or that you're not capable of doing so?

And I've never done conveyancing. Not at all. Never!

LDN said...

of course he's not capable of doing so...he's a man with infantile delusions of grandeur and a blinkered view of the world.

Kerry said...

I was just about to respond to that on the basis that you were making a general comment about all men. Good job I didn't.

Unknown said...

I see the usual suspects are all posting here - with the obvious comments