1. Exquisite Tweets from @joncstone, @djmgaffneyw4

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    there’s been a reassessment of the Blair/Brown government on the Left in recent years: you hear more about its achievements than you used you. that’s good, but it’s also important not to forget that it regularly did things a Tory government would be criticised for (THREAD)

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jack Straw – As Home Secretary stripped refugees of benefits and made them use vouchers to buy food news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/d…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Harriet Harman – Pushed through benefit cuts for single mothers in 1997 shortly after winning landslide, arguing they would help them back to work theguardian.com/politics/1997/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Caroline Flint – While housing minister unveiled plan to strip unemployed council tenants of their homes standard.co.uk/news/anger-as-…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Boasted that he would leave Britain with the most restrictive anti-trade union laws in the western world independent.co.uk/voices/leading…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – Introduced bill to ban asylum seekers’ children from attending state schools independent.co.uk/news/education…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Charles Clarke – As Home Secretary unveiled policy to ‘name and shame’ people given ASBOs, including children young as 10, through leafleting campaigns and passing their details on to the media news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jacqui Smith – As Home Secretary banned unskilled immigrants from outside the EU, with a points-based Australian-style immigration system news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/p…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    John Reid – As Health Secretary complained that there was a ‘culture of resistance’ in the NHS to privatising services after he was criticised by the British Medical Association for a botched contract theguardian.com/society/2005/f…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Hazel Blears – as Home Office minister said Muslims would have to accept the ‘reality’ that people ‘of Islamic appearance’ would be racially profiled by police for stop and search theguardian.com/politics/2005/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Alan Milburn – as Health Secretary said the NHS should set up a for-profit ‘NHS Plus’ paid-for health insurance top-up system theguardian.com/society/2000/m…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    John Reid – As Home Secretary whipped up anger against ‘foreigners who come to this country illegitimately and steal our benefits’ (direct quote) news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Liam Byrne – As immigration minister made employers check job applicants’ passports to make it harder for undocumented migrants to work theguardian.com/uk/2007/may/16…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Wanted to sell off more social housing by extending Right To Buy to housing associations, with the explicit political aim of reducing the difference between Labour and Tory policies independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-b…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Charles Clarke – As Education Secretary said the state should not fund subjects like history and that ‘universities exist to enable the British economy’ thetimes.co.uk/article/mediev…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jack Straw – As a member of the Cabinet told Muslim women to stop wearing veils independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Sacked Jack Straw as foreign secretary for saying he wouldn’t nuke Iran, after George Bush complained dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Welcomed 11 private healthcare firms into the ‘NHS family’ and promised them a stronger foothold in the health service theguardian.com/society/2006/f…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – Brought in bill to cut benefits for asylum seekers and then take their children away into care once they become destitute theguardian.com/uk/2004/mar/02…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Blamed a spate of murders on ‘black’ culture that lacked ‘discipline’ and said people blaming poverty were being ‘politically correct’ theguardian.com/politics/2007/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Backed a ban on hooded sweatshirts and baseball caps in shopping centres as part of a wider moral panic about young people
    thetimes.co.uk/article/blair-…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Ruth Kelly – As Home Secretary told councils to stop translating things into other languages to make life more difficult for immigrants who didn’t speak English, as an ‘incentive’ news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/p…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Set a target to cut the number of people applying for refugee status in Britain by 50% theguardian.com/politics/2003/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – as Home Secretary told British Asians they should speak English in their own homes independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Introduced new police powers to stop and search people without suspicion, which were used on a vast scale against innocent Muslims, and were later declared unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – As Home Secretary banned asylum seekers from working while their claims were being assessed independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – As Home Secretary unveiled plans to force failed asylum to do unwaged work in exchange for “basic subsistence” if their claims were rejected news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – As Home Secretary wanted to send all asylum seekers to offshore processing centres outside Europe
    theguardian.com/politics/2003/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Introduced powers for indiscriminate 9pm curfews on under-16s, as part of wider campaign against young people. Policy was later found to be unlawful as it breached human rights theguardian.com/politics/2005/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    James Purnell – While welfare secretary forced single mothers of children as young as one year and people registered unfit for work to work on threat of losing benefits thetimes.co.uk/article/welfar…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Liam Byrne – Retrospectively changed immigration rules to deport skilled migrants who did not meet new conditions that didn’t apply when they moved to the UK thetimes.co.uk/article/rule-c…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    John Hutton – As welfare secretary introduced further cuts to benefits for single parents to encourage them back to work telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/15…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – Said he had ‘no sympathy’ with asylum seekers from Kosovo and Afghanistan arriving in Britain and said they should ‘go home’ telegraph.co.uk/news/1407547/B…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Said Britain could review ‘obligations we have under the Convention on Human Rights’ if it helped stop illegal immigrants from coming to the UK dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Gave a speech in which he said asylum seekers were ‘playing the system’
    theguardian.com/politics/2005/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – Suggested asylum seekers should be electronically tagged and tracked by satellite like criminals irishtimes.com/news/asylum-se…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Phil Woolas – As immigration minister it was ‘too easy to get into this country’ for immigrants, and that he would take action to stop the UK population rising to 70 million express.co.uk/news/uk/66719/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Explicitly pushed for more private sector involvement in public services news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Phil Woolas – As immigration minister said his children had ‘suffered’ because of high levels of immigration standard.co.uk/news/migration…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Gordon Brown – Said before the crash that he would ‘cut red tape’ and demand ‘a more deregulatory stance’ from the EU on financial services dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Phil Woolas – Immigration minister was removed from parliament by the High Court, which found a racist Labour leaflet that sought to ‘make white folk angry’ at Muslims included deliberate lies about his opponent. He was allowed to remain a Labour member theguardian.com/uk/2010/nov/05…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    ‘Dozens’ of Labour MPs launched a ‘mutiny’ against deputy leader Harriet Harman, called for her to resign and said she was ‘disgrace’ after she publicly disowned Phil Woolas for being a convicted liar bbc.com/news/uk-politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Said single mothers were the cause of many social problems independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Margaret Hodge – as government minister said ‘indigenous’ Britons should be given priority over immigrants for housing telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/15…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jack Straw – As Home Secretary tried to remove the option of trial by jury for some defendants of crimes like theft and assault news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/p…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Phil Woolas – As immigration minister, attacked charities and lawyers that helped refugees stay in the UK and accused them of being an ‘industry’ with a ‘vested interest’ theguardian.com/uk/2008/nov/18…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    New Labour’s laws giving it powers to imprison foreigners without charge or trial were ruled unlawful and a ‘real threat to the life of the nation’ by the courts independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Labour ministers said they would consider only ‘minor tinkering’ with Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Said Muslim women who wore the veil make people ‘feel uncomfortable’, that their clothes are a ‘mark of separation’, and that he wasn’t sure whether they could make a full contribution to British society independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Alastair Darling – As Welfare secretary cut disability benefits soon after Labour took power, arguing that it was ‘right in principle and the right thing to do’ news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    James Purnell – As welfare secretary made deep cuts to housing benefit payments by introducing Local Housing Allowance, arguing old higher level of support was a disincentive to work independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – rejected calls for higher taxes on the wealthy, arguing that lower top rates of tax were just ‘the way the world is going’ independent.co.uk/news/blair-my-…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – As Home Secretary introduced compulsory citizenship tests on the ‘British way of life’ and forced people to swear an ‘oath’ independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Introduced fit-for-work tests for disabled people who he said had to ‘justify’ why they were ‘taking money from the state’ news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jacqui Smith – As Home Secretary kept MDMA a Class A drug despite her scientific advisors saying it should be downgraded. The chair of the advisory body was later sacked over a research paper whose results the government didn't like theguardian.com/politics/2009/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Considered carrying out bulk deportations in RAF transport planes and deploying Royal Navy to intercept people crossing Mediterranean to deliver ‘radical reduction’ in asylum seekers
    theguardian.com/uk/2002/may/23…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

  2. That's not quite right. Reduction of age of youngest child to one year came later, although it was envisaged, and ESA/WCA didn't oblige anyone who wasn't found fit for work to work, but some to engage in some 'work-related activity', which could mean a lot of different things.

    Reply Retweet Like

    djmgaffneyw4

    Declan Gaffney

    On the other hand new Labour ministers including John Hutton and Purnell encouraged vastly unrealistic expectations about how many disability benefit claimants could work, and that paved the way for what happened under the coalition, so I'd say the record here is very bad.

    Reply Retweet Like

    djmgaffneyw4

    Declan Gaffney

  3. The party had an 82-year old Holocaust survivor detained under terror legislation for heckling Jack Straw and calling him a liar over Iraq at Labour conference telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/14…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Hazel Blears – as Communities Secretary said immigrants ‘dominating’ a neighbourhood could ‘make members of other groups feel alienated, insecure or unsafe’ dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Downing Street falsely claimed Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes as the pretext to invade the country, which is still in chaos to this day independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    The Government made public the name of civil servant and weapons scientist Dr David Kelly after he discredited the claim Iraq could launch WMD in 45 minutes. He later took his own life theguardian.com/politics/2003/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Six years after Iraq invasion said he would have invaded anyway despite WMD pretext being proven false theguardian.com/uk/2009/dec/12…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Alastair Darling – Said ahead of 2010 election that Labour would cut spending deeper than Margaret Thatcher and impose ‘two parliaments of pain’ theguardian.com/politics/2010/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – While Home Secretary said fears about civil liberties were ‘airy fairy’ and that they would allow terrorists to ‘destroy us’ theguardian.com/politics/2001/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Gordon Brown – Prioritised cutting taxes for corporations in Labour’s first budget in 1997, to the lowest of any Western industrial country nytimes.com/1997/07/03/wor…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Established Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in 2001, outsourced it to Serco in 2007, and at one point detained around 2,000 children a year (child detention was ended by the coalition) independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-n…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Liam Byrne – Fought the 2004 Hodge Hill by election by distributing leaflets to white areas with attack lines like ‘the Lib Dems want to keep giving welfare benefits to failed asylum seekers’ (Tom Watson was campaign manager) theguardian.com/politics/2004/… and independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – Detained people indefinitely without charge under terror legislation, which was found to breach the Human Rights Act. Later said he had no regrets varsity.co.uk/news/8639

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jacqui Smith – as Home Secretary extended restrictions on immigrants claiming benefits and made it harder to get citizenship theguardian.com/politics/2008/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    John Hutton – As health secretary claimed ‘health tourism’ was a problem despite lack of evidence, and said NHS was a ‘national health service, not an international health service’ which is now a Tory attack line telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/14…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    James Purnell – While welfare secretary drew up plans for further cuts to disability benefits theguardian.com/politics/2008/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – As Home Secretary restricted migrants from new EU countries from accessing the social security system to stop ‘benefit tourism’ theguardian.com/politics/2004/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jacqui Smith – As Home Secretary forced foreigners to pass an English test if they wanted to marry someone from the UK and live with them standard.co.uk/newsheadlines/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    John Hutton – As Health Secretary introduced NHS charges for failed asylum seekers to see a GP and offered doctors cash incentives to ’shop’ them independent.co.uk/life-style/hea…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Said after the end of the Labour government that he regretted banning fox hunting, a ‘fundamental’ part of the countryside ‘way of life’ conservativehome.com/leftwatch/2010…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Said after the end of the Labour government that creating the Freedom of Information Act had been a ‘folly’ and ‘not sensible’ bbc.co.uk/blogs/opensecr…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – Lied and said emphatically there would be no increase in tuition fees from £1,000 if Labour won in 2001 (they were tripled to £3,000) news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Ruth Kelly – With the backing of Tony Blair, as Communities Secretary tried to preserve law that let religious adoption agencies turn down people for being gay independent.co.uk/news/uk/politi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jim Murphy – Who held various Cabinet positions, was a member of the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society heraldscotland.com/news/13195771.…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Charles Clarke – Education Secretary who raised tuition fees to £3,000 said fears they’d go much higher again were ‘absurd’ telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/14…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Alastair Darling – As Transport Secretary in 2005 cancelled construction of tram systems across the country, including in Leeds, arguing the cost was too high and buses would suffice news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jacqui Smith – Said immigrants should have a master’s degree if they wanted to come to the UK and planned to raise immigration salary threshold from £17,000 to £20,000 ‘to put British workers first’ theguardian.com/uk/2009/feb/22…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Personally intervened to stop a corruption investigation into arms sales to Saudi Arabia after the country threatened ‘repercussions’ if the probe proceeded. the High Court said the move was unlawful theguardian.com/baefiles/story…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Tried to give the government powers to detain people for three months (90 days) without charging them with any crime (he got as far as 28 days and the coalition cut the limit to 14 days where it remains) theguardian.com/politics/2005/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Yvette Cooper – As DWP secretary forced disabled people on incapacity benefit to take fit-to-work tests run by Atos, despite well-documented problems with the tests wrongly finding people fit to work theguardian.com/society/joepub…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    James Purnell – As DWP secretary tried to introduce 27% ‘loan shark’ interest rate on previously interest-free crisis loans for people in difficult circumstances (was defeated by Labour rebels) thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/art…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Yvette Cooper – As work and pension secretary gave the DWP powers to drug-test sanctioned benefit claimants theguardian.com/politics/2009/… and communitycare.co.uk/2009/11/04/dwp…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    John Prescott – Paid councils £2.2bn to bulldoze 10,000 homes in low-demand areas to try and raise house prices, including compulsory evictions, under the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder programme moneyweek.com/3526/how-john-… more details researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefi…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – said he wanted to stop judges overruling the government on human rights, by either watering down the Human Rights Act or withdrawing from part of the ECHR to 'ensure the law-abiding majority can live without fear' theguardian.com/politics/2006/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Gordon Brown – was criticised for using the BNP slogan "British jobs for British workers" in a speech theguardian.com/politics/2009/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – As part of Blair’s rapprochement with the Gaddafi regime in Libya, British spies helped kidnap critics of the dictator so they could be returned to the country and tortured theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Tony Blair – Wrote personal letter to Gaddafi to say he was ‘very disappointed’ after British courts blocked the deportation of Libyan political exiles arrested by UK police, on the basis that they would likely be tortured dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    David Blunkett – As Home Secretary gave police the power to ban protests in Parliament Square, in response to persistent anti-war demonstrations against the government news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone

    Jacqui Smith – As Home Secretary ignored advice of her scientific advisory board and raised the maximum penalty for cannabis possession to five years in prison theguardian.com/politics/2008/…

    Reply Retweet Like

    joncstone

    Jon Stone