The Fiscal Charter Charade Showed Westminster at Its Worst

16/10/2015 09:50 BST | Updated 15/10/2016 10:12 BST

For the 20 years before being elected as an MP I worked in factories. I've done low paid jobs all my life and the one thing working people are agreed on is a disdain for pointless game playing in Westminster and politicians who don't listen.

This week was Westminster at its worst. It also attracted the worst out of some disillusioned and misguided voters, some of whom missed the message that their leader JezWeCan has called for a kinder, more mature politics with a broad range of opinion.

Gordon Brown first brought this pointless piece of legislation forward. George Osborne derided it asking why did a Chancellor have to have a law to keep his own spending in check? Did he not trust himself? He went on to lambast Brown stating that "only in Nigeria did such a law exist" and what did that say about Gordon Brown's competence.

Roll on five years to January 2015 and Mr Osborne brings forward this ridiculous piece of political pointlessness in his own name. Ironic, laughable. Jeremy Corbyn, then a backbencher and John McDonnell take their first position - to abstain. Two weeks ago they take a second position - to vote for the Charter. On Monday they take a third position - to vote against. An Eton mess, an Islington mess. John in his speech admits that he was guilty of playing Osborne's games. Guilty of trying to 'out Osborne Osborne' as he said and repeatedly stated at the dispatch box in a comical pastiche of Tony Blair's 'education, education education' that his actions were 'embarrassing, embarrassing, embarrassing'. I am sure John was cringing after and I felt for him.

Working class people do not find these egotistical charades and political chicanery where there is no benefit at all to them endearing. They reinforce their negative view of Westminster. Westminster could have been discussing the collapse of the UK's steel industry.

To see the Shadow Chancellor struggle for a reason for these changes with multiple conflicting reasons and eventually backstop on a emotional reason, the tears of Redcar steelworkers wasn't good and wasn't persuasive.

Secondly, politicians not listening to the electorate. There is no evidence at all to show that electorate didn't vote Labour because we were austerity lite. There is bucket loads of evidence to demonstrate the opposite. That voters did not vote Labour because we couldn't be trusted with the public finances. In their view we weren't austerity enough. It's not just the evidence that supports that assessment. Everyone who knocked on doors can correlate that evidence with their own doorstep conversations.

Even though this vote actually changed nothing for ordinary people as Osborne himself admitted in 2010, both combatants locked horns trying to make it an ideological issue and story.

Balancing the books ASAP is important with £1.5trillion of debt and with interest rates that may rise by 2019. A world economy that may not be as healthy after 2019 either. Of course it is a balancing act, deficit reduction without stifling growth, but the principle has to be to pay down our debts as soon as possible. That's my view. That's is a traditional working class view. That's the electorates view and that's one of the reasons we lost the election because we were seen as deficit deniers. Not my words but those of John McDonnell when he adopted his position of voting for it two weeks ago.

Synthetic politics, guilty leading politicians as Mr McDonnell humbly admitted and Osborne shamelessly demonstrated, chaotic management and multiple incoherent fiscal positions. Why would you participate in such a vote that had no real consequences? A standing order that can be easily changed in another short 90 minutes debate straight after the next election. That has nothing to do with an opposition. In a charade all of the Chancellor's making. We should have walked away from this theatrical nonsense and left the Chancellor to drown in his own folly building our own credible response.

Graham Jones is the Labour MP for Haslingden and Hyndburn