I’m going to preface this article by making some assumptions. I’m going to assume that the centre-left voters who make up the bulk of the support of the Labour Party in Wales have a political persuasion that would be:
- Moderately opposed to foreign wars; particularly after the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles
- Strongly opposed to wasting billions on a nuclear deterrent
- Strongly opposed to the bedroom tax
- Moderately or strongly in favour of increasing benefits at least in line with increasing prices
- Strongly in favour of higher benefits for longer periods for those unable to work because of illness or disability
- Moderately opposed to a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
- Strongly in favour of extra support for long-term unemployed young people
- Strongly in favour of increasing the amount of money someone earns before paying income tax
- Strongly opposed to raising VAT
- Strongly in favour of extra taxation on super-high earners (>£150,000)
- Strongly in favour of a bankers’ tax
- Strongly in favour of a mansion tax
- Strongly in favour of reducing tax avoidance
- Moderately in favour of an elected House of Lords
- Moderately in favour of more powers for the National Assembly
So what’s Stephen Doughty’s voting record reveal about his activity over the past two and a half years?
Well, on several of these issues, Stephen is well aligned with our imaginary centre-left voter. But there are several of them where the alignment is poor. According to TheyWorkForYou, Stephen:
- Voted strongly in favour of military aggression in foreign wars
- Voted very strongly in favour of wasting £100 billion on a relic of the Cold War (Trident)
- Has never bothered to vote on higher benefits for longer periods for those unable to work because of illness or disability
- Voted very strongly against increasing the threshold at which someone starts to pay income tax
- Voted strongly against reducing tax avoidance
- Has never bothered to vote on reform of the House of Lords
- Voted very strongly in favour of more powers for Scotland – but only moderately for more powers for Wales
Let’s see how Stephen’s voting record pans out in the real world. It means that Stephen’s all in favour of people being killed, maimed and psychologically traumatised for the glory of the British Empire. The people dying are predominantly poor people: poor people in poor countries or poor people recruited from some of the poorest communities in Wales. Places like Cardiff South.
He’s also gung ho for running down public services in favour of the most expensive weapons of mass destruction on the planet. That’s notwithstanding the fact that public opposition to renewing this Imperialist Viagra is resolute in opinion polls at both UK and local scales. “Bairns not bombs” as the Scottish independence campaign so eloquently put it.
He doesn’t appear to care one way or the other if sick or disabled people get more money to help them cope with being unemployed and incapacitated. That’s despite some of the wards in the constituency in which he’s running reporting the highest levels of sickness and incapacity in Wales, let alone the UK. Presumably Stephen’s counting on remaining fit as a fiddle until drawing his pension.
Bizarrely, he’s voted against increasing the level of income at which someone starts to pay income tax. Again, the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation shows that Cardiff South is replete with wards in which income levels are extremely low.
He’s all in favour – apparently – of big business and the mega-rich avoiding paying their fair dues in tax. Companies like Google, Amazon and Starbucks, who pay a pittance, or nothing at all, in corporation tax on their multi-billion pound activities in the UK. What does that mean? More tax for me and you, of course.
He has no interest in democratising the second chamber of Parliament, despite the fact that it’s stuffed full of party donors, super-rich hereditary landowners and people who’ve been totally, unflinchingly loyal to their parties. People, in fact, like Stephen (who has never rebelled against his party since being elected).
And he’s much more eager for Scotland to be granted further powers than he is for more powers to come to Wales. Far be it for me to suggest that narrow self-interest is a motive, but there are plenty of thinkers who suggest that greater transfer of powers to Wales will inevitably mean a reduction in the number of MPs.
Here’s Stephen’s latest election missive (with thanks to reader PW).
Update: Stephen has contested some of the claims of TheyWorkForYou.com. I’ll take any comments on board as soon as I have the opportunity, and update the post as necessary.