When every vote counts

The DUP and SDLP have confirmed they will be opposing the abolition of 10p tax band. With 39 Labour rebels Brown has a serious fight on his hands over a crucial part of the Finance Bill. While more are looking to the future possibility of a hung parliament, a weakened Prime Ministership will create opportunities too as it did in the Major era. If Labour wins by less than 5 votes could other parties make hay from Sinn Fein’s abstentionism with their working class base? UPDATE Brown has offered concessions and Frank Field has said his amendment could be withdrawn.

  • Jer

    In a word no.
    Will the DUP or UUP or even the SDLP use such an opportunity to build their share of the republican vote. I think they lack the vision. There is then also the fundamental argument that the house of commons is a foreign parliament to a large segment of the north’s population (whether people like it or not) and they reject its right to have any control over any part of the island of Ireland. While I think you have choosen to ignore that aspect I see where you are going – is there an opportunity to now cross sell to the other community (for any party) using economic incentive. This probably ties in with the 5000 financial jobs promised to Belfast for those seeking the removal of the border. Its an interesting point to explore but while SF might theoretically be subject to some pressure following a small-margin passing of the finance bill I think there is equal pressure to be placed on the Unionist parties to acknowledge the north-south benefit. For both sides their response to these economic pressures and opportunities will have serious consequences for their central political aims.

  • fair_deal


    I consider ‘switching’ as the primary outcome unlikely in a Northern Ireland context. Also ‘economics’ isn’t the easiest to package ’emotionally’ important in political persuasion. Demotivation is a more possible outcome even then expectations have to be realistic. However, with the post-conflict generations who knows.

  • Rory

    This peg is much too weak to hang anything upon, much less an argument. The DUP’s decalred intention to support Frank Fields’s amendment is merely opportunistic grandstanding and has no grounding whatsoever in their fiscal policy which can be best described by comparison to the grin on the Cheshire Cat.

    The reality is that they have no policy other than to coat trail the Tories who also have no policy other than to occasionaly utter, “Yah! boo! shucks!” at Prime Minister’s question time.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Labour’s scrapping of the 10p tax band, which they themselves introduced, was a slap in the face for the low paid. The government should be looking at taking the lower paid out of the tax system and shifting the tax burden onto the richer. And I’m saying that as a person who benefitted from the 10p rate removal.

    The second issue which is nearly as important as the tax change itself, is that the slap in the face took place a full year ago. The Conservatives knew that, the Lib Dems knew that, the DUP and the SDLP knew that and most of all Frank Field and all these other Labour rebels knew that. Why didn’t they oppose the fecking thing in parliament before it was bloody well implemented ? The howls we’re hearing are the howls of a class of political parties disconnected from the people they are supposed to represent, who have seen the opportunity to stick the dagger into a weak prime minister for their own political purposes. Cameron’s “I’ll do everything I can to stop this” talk is pathetic. Why didn’t he try to do everything to stop it when he had the chance ?

  • fair_deal


    “Why didn’t they oppose the fecking thing in parliament before it was bloody well implemented ?”

    Didn’t they? I’ve done a quick check on public whip site and seven DUP MPs voted against the budget resolutions last year.