Effective opposition: 20 U-turns forced from the Tories in 2017



In spite of Labour’s General Election surge and its continued polling strength – not to mention more than thirty u-turns Labour under Corbyn had already forced from the Tories before the election – the line persists in some quarters that Labour is not an effective opposition.

That line tends to be spouted either by those who think defeating Brexit is the only important task for the opposition – or by those who talk like it for factional purposes – ignoring the fact that Corbyn’s handling of the issue has been intelligent, nuanced and politically skilful.

It’s patent nonsense to suggest that a party that terrified the Tories in June and has forced them into either abandoning their plans or going into hiding is not an effective opposition.

So, as it’s the time of year for round-ups, here is a non-exhaustive list of sixteen u-turns that the Tories have been forced to make because there is an opposition party willing and able to stand for something different.

And for those who think Brexit is the only vital issue, the first three are Brexit-related:

  1. Brexit deal vote u-turn
  2. Brexit impact assessment u-turn
  3. European Court of Human Rights u-turn
  4. Dementia Tax u-turn (unprecedentedly dropped from the manifesto before the GE)
  5. Pensions triple lock u-turn
  6. Housing benefit cap for supported housing u-turn
  7. Self-employed National Insurance increase u-turn
  8. School meals u-turn
  9. NHS Professionals sell-off u-turn
  10. Police funding u-turn
  11. Fire safety in schools u-turn
  12. Grammar schools u-turn
  13. Abortion for Northern Irish women u-turn
  14. Winter fuel payments u-turn
  15. Universal Credit 7-day waiting period u-turn
  16. Universal Credit freephone u-turn
  17. Fox-hunting u-turn
  18. Diesel tax u-turn
  19. Manchester terror attack costs u-turn
  20. Prisoner vote u-turn

Few if any of these u-turns would have happened had the Tories not been so weakened by Corbyn’s Labour taking a clear, firm stand – and the Labour surge resulting from the party presenting a genuine alternative.

2017 has been a historic year for Labour and much of that can be attributed to Corbyn’s vision, leadership and his strength in standing firm against an unprecedented media onslaught – and it’s been a better year for millions of UK people.

As a result of Labour’s effective opposition.

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  1. But regrettably, Labour hasn’t achieved a u-turn on the ESA WRAG cuts. (Reference: New minister for the disabled LIES to Parliament about genocidal cuts to benefits | Vox Political voxpoliticalonl..uts-to-benefits)

    On August 7 2016, I asked Jeremy Corbyn if he would campaign to rescind the ESA WRAG cuts, or take legal action to possibly stop them? He failed to respond. I asked Tom Watson that same question and his office replied that the Labour party would campaign against them. Well, their campaign has largely been invisible. I’ve mentioned many times on my Twitter account that there hasn’t been a single mainstream media article on the life-threatening ESA WRAG since they went into effect on April 3, 2017. The Guardian needs to survey these vulnerable claimants and haven’t yet done so, despite my asking its Editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, and its disability columnist, Dr. Francis Ryan, to do so. Frankly, it’s a dereliction of duty on the part of Labour and the Guardian.

    1. entirely correct Samuel – labour has been appalling on this matter – and the genocide continues – we truly are INVALID

  2. I’ve been following you, the Canary, and other “leftist” social media for a long time, but I didn’t know about all of above U-turns in detail. I say “leftist” in inverted commas because for me, left is just a common sense. I was born and brought up in socialist Yugoslavia so I know about the subject. Yugoslavia fell apart when common sense left us! (looks like play on the words here lol). tories never had that common sense, some of their policies are extremely stupid and their front and back bench are well dire for want of brain. Love your writing, short, consize and straight to the point. Thanks for the info and a very Merry Xmass to you lot! x

  3. Yes, it is very good to keep us informed about the U-turns that Labour have thrust upon the Tories over the time that Comrade Corbyn has been leader of the Labour Party. Of course, they are electable but there are still far too many Blairite, centrist, whatever they are, and other traitors in the PLP, the Party machine and the CLPs to actually allow Labour to be anything but a somewhat Leftist Party dedicated to maintaining the status quo of a Capitalist economic system (an economic system which is showing itself to be more and more unstable and dangerous for those who are not exceedingly rich! Furthermore, no amount of offering scrappage for our cars and other vehicles so that we are still in the position of not being able to afford new vehicles is likely to even go towards saving our planet and I see very little in Labour which offers a strong and vibrant opposition to Capitalism which continues to be red in the blood and the gore of ordinary working people in this or any other country! I see no programme which, though Comrade Corbyn talks about bringing various industries and service back under Public ownership, offers working people anything but a change in management which is committed to a highly centralised top down approach to running and controlling such industries and services! Nothing in such offers any genuine democratic control nor tangible benefits to working people! So, very briefly, I, as a lifelong voter of Labour (when there’s no other candidate offering a real Left alternative – which has been nearly always in this country) can see a Labour Party which can play the Parliamentary game, a game which is so corrupt and corrupting that too many of those with good intentions just become Party cyphers, careerists, or out and out Tories under the banner of Labour (i.e. traitors) with no commitment to Socialism at all! What we need is not just a Party to win in Parliament and take the place of the Tories! We also need a vibrants and relevant Party at grass roots which can act as a catalyst for popular campaigns when those who take posts of any type in local or national Government forget that they are our servants and not the servants of those who would use every means possible to squander our wealth of projects which tend to end in the UK either invading or bombing foreign countries who had very little ill will towards us! That is, until we began bombing them, arrogantly interfering with them or acting as if they owed us a living by nicking their wealth and leaving them starving! So, sure Labour is and effective opposition as far as it goes and it’s electable, as far as it goes but it needs to be much more than a bunch of suits and ties which are more than likely to end up disappointing the electorate once more!

  4. Yes JCs Leadership is doing well! Labour’s state led public investment plans could power us into a recovery whilst feeding the private sector supply chain. Ending austerity and fighting poverty could make life better for working people. Climate friendly energy could help as well as creating jobs (solar, wind turbine construction) in regions decimated by capital exporting production overseas in search of cheap labour and more profit. Labour has good ideas on Brexit – whilst allowing all current EC migrants to remain from the day of exit (and our citizens in Spain etc. too) plus showing compassion for refugees – migrants needing job offers plus migration adjustment funds for councils, and I would add try to trade unionise migrant workers too – in essence all countries need to get back control of labour supply and capital supply AS IT WAS BEFORE NEO-LIBERALISM CAPTURED THE TORIES, NEW LABOUR AND THE EC. The financial papers are also warning that we have a few years to avert a new potential crash as big business and the banks are getting back to worrying risk taking again! Labour is in a good place; a genuine left wing democratic socialist leadership, the largest political party in Europe, a majority of its grassroots enthused, and thanks to JC debt free. So after years living under a cruel Tory Neo-Liberal Govt. (who stuff the mouths of the rich with gold), to paraphrase the Pogues Christmas song: “Pray God it’s our last!” Merry Xmas and A Happy, Peaceful and Successful New Year to all fellow Stars! Solidarity!

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