The hedging Euroscepticism of David Cameron and Boris Johnson

David Cameron, September 2014 by Gareth Milner, and Boris Johnson, July 2013 by Ian Burt

It has been an odd day for the impending referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, at least for those who thought they had firm backing from at least some top Tories.

First off David Cameron, the prime minister who is predicted to lead the campaign for Britain to remain within the EU, told businessmen at a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference that:

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Podcast (Ep. 21): The Lords Unleashed, China’s One Child Policy & Snowden’s Asylum in the EU

RD E21 – China One Child

John joins Jazza and Jimmy to chat shit about the events of the week. Ill-informed but always having a giggle on the way.

This week the boys touch on the Lords vs Gideon “George” Osborne and the tax credit debacle, followed by an analysis of China’s one child policy, which is now a two child policy. What does that mean for the upcoming superpower?

Finally, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted asylum in the EU. Or has he? It’s all very confusing. Will the Right Dishonourable make it less so? Let’s be fair. Probably not.

Image Credit – Too Cute Not To Post, April 2006 by JB

George Osborne attacks fiscal charter as ‘vacuous and irrelevant legislation’

George Osborne, South Wraxall, August 2015 by Gareth Milner

This week saw chaos in Labour as its shadow chancellor John McDonnell withdrew his support for the Tory government’s fiscal charter, which commits governments to an absolute budget surplus whilst the economy is growing.

On Wednesday night the Commons voted through this measure by 320 to 258, with McDonnell forced to defend his “embarrassing” behaviour and 21 Labour MPs rebelling in the process.

But apparently nobody in opposition thought to consult the history books before the charter debate took place, which would have allowed them to reveal a similar change of heart on the part of George Osborne, the chancellor pushing through the charter.

Back in early 2010 Osbo was the one attacking the then Labour government’s Fiscal Responsibility Act, which called for government to borrow less as a percentage of gross domestic product for each succeeding year, among other things.

A clip from Guido Fawkes shows this in action:

Attacking the then chancellor Alistair Darling, Osborne said:

“Why is he the first chancellor in our history that feels he needs an act of parliament on top of a budget statement? There are only two explanations. Either he doesn’t trust himself to secure sound public finances, or he knows the public doesn’t trust him to secure them.”

As Guido points out, Labour would have done well to quote Osborne’s words right back at him.

But as both sides know, this is not about economics but the perception of economic competence that has proved so harmful for Labour and good for the Tories over decades of general elections.

It is also the second time the Tory government has used a bill as a political weapon against a weakened Labour in the wake of the election, a welfare bill having been used to split the party earlier in July.

Image Credit – George Osborne, South Wraxall, August 2015 by Gareth Milner

Civil war among Labour MPs as McDonnell reverses fiscal charter support

John McDonnell, July 2009 by Plane Stupid

The bitter feuding of the 1980s will be at the forefront of many Labour MPs’ minds after a fight broke out within the party over shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s decision not to support the government’s fiscal charter.

Jeremy Corbyn’s right-hand man had agreed to support Tory chancellor George Osborne’s plans to create a budgetary surplus, but reversed this decision in a letter to MPs, writing:

“I believe that we need to underline our position as an anti-austerity party by voting against the charter on Wednesday.

“We will rebuff any allegation of being deficit deniers by publishing for the debate our own statement on budget responsibility. We will set out our plan for tackling the deficit not through punishing the most vulnerable and decimating our public services but by ending the unfair tax cuts to the wealthy, tackling tax evasion and investing for growth.”

A meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) was described by MPs as “feral”, “shambolic”, and – in one comment from Ben Bradshaw reported by a number of outlets – “a total fucking shambles”.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard a weaker round of applause at the PLP than the one John McDonnell just got,” one MP told the New Statesman.

The battle within the party appears to stem from confusion on McDonnell’s part about Osborne’s requirement for an absolute budget surplus rather than a current budget surplus, which would leave the government room to borrow for investment.

Many outlets are also reporting fears that the campaigning group Momentum, which was created out of the campaign that got Corbyn elected, will soon be targeting Labour MPs it views as unsympathetic to the Corbyn cause.

If true this would echo attempts by the former Labour leader Neil Kinnock to fight back against the Militant tendency, a hard left faction that was purged by the Labour leadership during the 80s.

Image Credit – John McDonnell, July 2009 by Plane Stupid