Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Corbyn's "Corruption"

This a photo of me and Andy Burnham in one of our lighter moments when he came to meet me at my Ju Jitsu club. I love it because despite us knocking lumps out of each other in the local press he is a good friend and when we see each privately the conversation is usually .... always about football, not politics. People with different political persuasions working together often get the best results. I was really pleased that Andy gave huge credit to Theresa May for her working in constructive collaboration to get justice for the victims of Hillsborough. It reminded me of a moment just recently in a House of Commons debate about the National Living wage where Labour MP, Siobhan McDonagh, spoke passionately about the lengths some employers are going to in order to circumvent to spirit of the living wage. As if in private conversation in the House of Commons tea room Anna Soubry intervened and said;

"As the Minister responsible for retail, I undertake to take this up directly with B&Q. ..... because I think that between us we could do something about it?"


It was a magic moment. The intention of the living wage was to give Britain a pay rise and the attempts of an employer to get round giving this statutory pay rise was caught in this Parliamentary pincer movement and B&Q will now compensate anyone who loses out for two years, doubling their previous offer. A brilliant result for Parliamentary democracy.

It really saddened me to see Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn undo all this party unity on getting the best from the National Living Wage in a single moment of political opportunism at Prime Minster's Questions today (11th May 2016). Not only did he undermine the very clear fact that workers will be getting a massive increase in their hourly rates he used the most derogatory term in doing so. He called the National Living Wage "A corruption of the very idea". Jeremy Corbyn's recent opposition to the National Living Wage is inexplicable but it is clearly not corruption to properly reward the hard workers who have made our economy grow, it is not corruption to make sure hard work pays, it's not corruption to see that employers properly pay their most prized asset, their workers.

As the Rt Hon Rob Halfon MP, President of the Conservative Trade Unionists and Deputy Conservative Party Chairman, pointed out in his response (www.toryworkers.co.uk/workingpeople)  the National Living Wage will benefit 2.9 million people and mean that by 2020 workers on the National Living Wage will be £4,400/yr better off. Any attempt by any employer to undermine that has Parliament to deal with as B&Q discovered, if only Jeremy Corbyn would stop undermining it by using derogatory terms like "corruption".

My advice to Jeremy is to leave the politicking on the hustings and let his back benchers get on with the job of reasonable and constructive debate.