This morning I was amazed when I followed a link to this Guardian article to find the born again hospital closure and dentist fixing fibber and expenses gamer John Leech MP uttering all sorts of suck up platitudes towards the outrageously over the top Conservative and Liberal Democrat budget. Even my rocky faith in this schemer's political integrity has been dented.
Desperate times call for desperate measures from this weakest link. On election night I had been amazed to see the slimeball's slimeball (corrected, not slimball, not by any stretch of the imagination) David Hennigan (right) - sacked, by fellow slimebag Paul Rowen, the ex-MP for Con-Dem Rochdale, for being embarrassing - lining up as a key member of John Leech MP's re-election team.
Not peripheral by any means. Delegating tasks to other key team members. Hob-nobbling with senior councillors, though not with the would-be MP who was off drowning his sorrows, or "chilling", or something. Anoraks on both sides thought Leech had Lost. As he certainly deserved to do with his integrity by-pass and his serial failure to get anything REAL done. he claimed plenty. He did next to nothing. Incidentally Hennigan's cousin - newly elected Cllr James Hennigan - appears to also have an official role with John Leech MP's Con-Dem team.
Hennigan D's first hail-fellow-well-met stanza to me on the night included claiming responsibility for fixing it for John to have a really pretty nasty and disreputable smear campaign against the Labour council candidate in Manchester Chorlton where I live. More on which anon. And Hennigan D also naturally featured heavily with Cllr Chamberlain V and Cllr/PPC Eakins M in some highly disreputable drunken loutery and anti-social behaviour. More on that mess soon also.
What follows is what John Leech told the Guardian. I expect that, him being all left-wing and that, not having one of the forty plus government jobs, they expected that he would be an MP who sought to exculpate the Lib Dem grassroots from the stain of association with George GOO Osborne's hateful budget.
But not a bit of it:
John Leech, the MP for Manchester Withington, said the coalition was having to stabilise the public finances and the Lib Dems could not secure a budget which completely reflected their thinking.
"I would have preferred to have seen taxes raised in other areas but as part of a coalition government we don't always get our way. But we don't have a Lib Dem government, we have a Liberal-Conservative coalition. The idea of raising personal [tax] allowances by £1,000 is progressive."
Leech was scathing about Labour which is intensifying its attacks on the Lib Dems. "The budget was not as bad as people were expecting and Labour have got a cheek saying anything about the budget when they had promised cuts and cuts. Harriet Harman's performance was a joke. She had written her speech before the budget was announced.
"They just want to go into opposition and blame the incoming government for the cuts that have to be introduced. No one likes cuts ... but we are in a pretty dire situation."
"Not as bad as people were expecting"? Perhaps John Leech would care to provide in comments some illustrations of how this budget could have been worse than it actually already is? Before we even catch sight of the devastation to Manchester jobs and Manchester services to be wrought by the Departmental spending review.
Don't get me wrong. I welcome this candour from the supposed "left" of the the Lib Dems in parliament. They don't give a flying fig for the working people, the sick, the old, the vulnerable of the UK. And they are providing virtually no checks and balances on what is nothing but an ideological attack on society and our solidarity with those who most need support from us all.
Don't stand helplessly by. Add your signature BEFORE 5PM TODAY to David Miliband's appeal to the more progressive Tories and the whole opportunist cadre of the Lib Dems to wise up, catch themselves on and vote against Osborne's poisonous budget. And retweet @DMiliband's call to action. And contact Mr Leech direct via Write To Them if you are a constituent. Also LEECHJ@parliament.uk or Tel: 0161 434 3334 Fax: 0161 434 3206 or soon-to-be privatised Snail Mail: 8 Gawsworth Avenue, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 5NF and/or House of Commons London SW1A 0AA.
Below's the David Miliband letter. Minor Labour of Love heart murmour: shame he did not share this with all our leadership contenders, it would still be his initiative. Below the text is a harrowing visual representation of the budget John leech proposes to vote through.
The projected total effect on incomes and services of this so called "progressive budget". Courtesy of The Fabians and via The Observer and this rendering of the chart TUC Touchstone blog (or click for PDF download of Fabian report). In essence the poorest families will be bearing SIX TIMES THE BRUNT of the Tory measures than the richest. SIX TIMES.
Hold John Leech's feet to the fire. SIX TIMES THE HURT. Show him what he should be doing to the Tories. SIX TIMES THE HARM. Clearly if it weren't for the fancy jobs and cars and pension and kudos the Lib Dems would have been doing the right thing and holding a minority Tory government to account. SIX TIMES THE SHARE.
GOO would never have got this budget through without the craven buy in of the Lib Dems. And No John, No John, No John, No the £1000 change in the personal tax allowance does not touch the poorest people in Britain. You've failed. You've failed to hold Osborne and Cameron and the right of the Tory party in check. You are a weak and dishonest representative of a weak and muddle-headed franchise.
Make John Leech keep his word and vote against anything not in Manchester people's interests:
Dear Conservative / Lib Dem MP
The CONservative Budget: 5 Big Cons
I am writing to you ahead of the Budget vote (today) to urge you to vote against it.
In the last 24 hours XXX people have co-signed this letter to voice their outrage at the 5 big Cons announced in last week’s Budget.
Con no 1– This budget is “unavoidable”
Yes this Budget was avoidable. Labour set out plans to cut the deficit by half over the course of the next Parliament. The Tories have chosen to cut the whole of the deficit and more to the tune of £32billion of public services and £11billion of welfare cuts. We should not risk jobs and growth by cutting more quickly than is needed.
Con no 2 – This Budget is “fair”
This Budget is not fair. Up-rating benefits more slowly means that those at the very bottom are hit the hardest. £6bn of cuts from benefits by the end of the Parliament means those with the least amount of money are expected to shoulder the most pain. 20,000 more people will lose 90p of every extra pound they earn, in lost benefits and extra taxes. Making the poor pay the price for the sins of the richest is an outrage.
Con no 3 – ‘We’re all in this together’
Not if you’re a family. You’ve chosen to cut taxes to banks but hits families hard – with the Sure Start Maternity Grant cut, the Health in Pregnancy Grant scrapped and the baby element of the Child Tax Credit scrapped. A tax cut for business should not be paid for by penalising hard working families.
Con no 4 – ‘We have no plans to put up VAT’
The Budget raised VAT to 20% - hitting the poorest hardest by cutting into their incomes the most. We have been misled.
Con no 5 – No families earning under £40,000 will lose their Child Tax Credits
The Tories claimed that Labour was “lying” during the General Election when we warned that the Tories would remove Child Tax Credits from families on £30,000 a year. Yet this Budget means that no family with one child over the age of one and income over £30,000 will get a penny in tax credits by 2012/13. This is a betrayal.
Don’t risk the recovery. Vote against the Budget.
David Miliband MP
Click to enlarge