Labour slams parliament voting and delay in making face masks compulsory on public transport

The Canary

The way that parliament works during the current coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic needs to be reviewed, the shadow transport secretary has suggested. Speaking on Sky NewsSophy Ridge programme following a week in which MPs were required to queue in order to vote, Labour’s Jim McMahon has backed a return to electronic voting.

He said:

I do think we need to review the way that Parliament works. The frustration with Parliament of course is if it’s at all avoidable, then it should be avoided and we can vote electronically, we can vote in 15 seconds, we don’t have to be queuing up for 40 minutes.

Aside from it being unsafe in my view, it’s often a massively inefficient way of working.

On 2 June, Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle had tweeted:

McMahon also questioned the government’s decision to wait until 15 June to make the wearing of a face covering compulsory on public transport in England. He said:

I’ll be coming down on Monday from the North West – where the R (transmission) rate is a huge concern for people here – down to London.

I think the question is, well why wait? Face coverings are now required to keep people safe on public transport, why wait a week? Am I more or less of a risk this Monday than I’ll be the following Monday?

Peaceful assembly “a very important part of our democratic process”

McMahon also said that concerns around the number of people gathering for anti-racism protests need to be “put into perspective” when considering MPs voting in person in parliament last week. He said:

In terms of equity, MPs were in Parliament lining up, often breaking social distancing because of the pinch points, in terms of upholding our democratic responsibility.

We all need to understand that peaceful assembly is also a very important part of our democratic process as well.

And so of course, we don’t want anybody to break social distancing, we want to make sure that we control the virus, but we also need to put it into perspective as well.

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    1. Grassroots activism has organised street protests during a pandemic to assert ‘Black Lives Matter’ and call for an end to racism and the systematic disempowerment and impoverishment of BAME citizens.

      Last year, grassroots activism organised protests about the climate/biodiversity crisis, about fracking, about stopping ‘no deal brexit’, about ‘austerity’, about Grenfell and other housing scandals, about Windrush and other racist policies.

      Where were the Westminster politicians then? A handful turned up to support grassroots activism but most sat in their ‘bubble’ and obsessed over issue that only mattered to them and a handful of ‘political anoraks’ in the MSM. All I remember from 2019 was Rees-Mogg lying on the front benches of the House of Commons like a complete tw*t. His smug elitism tainted the whole political class – every MP may as well have lain on their benches eating grapes like Cleopatra on her barge. All of you look out of touch. All of you are Queen Marie Antoinette saying about the starving rioting for bread ‘why don’t they eat cake…?’ Rees-Mogg does a public service because he flagrantly thrusts his privilege under everyone’s noses while the rest of you pretend you can live on an MP’s salary of how much? £70,000 a year and still know in your guts and the marrow if your bones how it feels to live on £75 a week benefits.

      And here we are again, a massive grassroots activism which might be spearheaded by BLM but which speaks for a much wider cross section of society – scrape the surface of racism and what you find is a cynical system that tries to divide and conquer all the oppressed by fooling them that they suffer because of race or gender or sexuality or whatever so they fight amongst each other instead of stepping back to see what they have in common which is poverty and powerlessness and a denigrated status and what unites their oppressors is one thing – having more wealth and power and elite status than they have any right to. The one thing the elite fear is that the poor will unite to demand a fair return for their contribution to society. One thing they fear is that they will have to give up their wealth, power and status and accept, oh horror!, equality.

      And what are the MPs elected by the poor doing, while the grassroots risk sickness or death to demand justice and equality and a life worth living? Standing in farcical queues to vote like the complete and utterly contemptible idiots they are. You demean yourselves, and you demean those who voted for you. And unelected members of government like Cummings can make you act like slaves for his amusement. Because you surely do not think that Rees-Mogg made you ‘conga’ for any other purpose than to show you who has the power? Rosa Parks risked her life to refuse to give up her seat for a white bus passenger, and not one British MP has the guts to refuse to dance for Cummings? Not one of you has the self-respect to refuse to be degraded? Every one of you is a spineless doormat?

      Every MP who refused to collaborate with Cummings/Rees-Mogg humiliation should have walked out and stayed out until their dignity (and common sense in a pandemic) had been respected. Every MP should walk out on strike with Houses of Parliament employees forced to accept unsafe working conditions. Every MP should get out and join the Black Lives Matter protests. Or at least work from home to give support to these demonstrations that the British government has no right to insult, denigrate, oppress, mock and trample on the citizens of Britain and our elected representatives.

      Every MP who humiliated themselves last week has to work very hard now to try to claw back some respect from British voters, from the international community looking on with contempt, and to try to win back some self-respect.

      Shame on you for being such willing slaves!

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