Only two out of six SNP MPs – but all 40 Scottish Labour MPs [including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former Chancellor Alastair Darling] – were in the voting lobby of the House of Commons last night, for a vote which effectively scuppers the indefensible ‘Bedroom Tax’.
This came in the vote on a Private Member’s Bill from Liberal Democrat MP, Andrew George – the ‘Affordable Homes Bill’, which passed by 306 to 231 votes, supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats voting against the position of their own government.
SNP Leader in the Commons, Angus Robertson was – ah – not there. Nor were Stewart Hosie, Angus MacNeil and Pete Wishart – of whose absence more below.
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon chant ‘Bedroom Tax’ as a frequent and ritual mantra to drive votes into the ‘Yes’ pen on 18th September. With the Scottish government devoting funds to shelter those likely to be seriously disadvantaged by its application, opposition to the ‘Bedroom Tax’ has become SNP government policy and a battle cry for the pro-indy campaign.
Two thirds of the First Minister’s own MPs did not summon the sense of responsibility to turn up for THE vote that will see the end of this hated and unfair tax.
This laissez faire default will be spun – but will reverberate in underscoring how superficial is so much of the anti-Westminster rhetoric used to inflame the masses and invoke the anti-Englishness visibly deemed necessary to the success of the ‘Yes’ campaign in the referendum.
There will be much bluster and decoy-roaring – and SNP MP Pete Wishart has already been the target for widespread hilarity after offering an excuse for his absence that was a long way short of believable.
He said his plane was delayed by 20 minutes – but he had put himself on a flight that left Scotland two hours after the debate on the bill was scheduled to begin in the chamber at Westminster.
It has to be said that one of the dreads of independence becoming fact is a duo of Pete Wishart and Eddi Reader endlesssly in open mic recitative, possessors of the shrillest and most bitter whinges in the song book.
Wishart will at least now have to sing dumb on the reality of his ‘opposition’ to the ‘Bedroom Tax’.