Observers of the debate about social security reform will be aware that Labour lost a vote last month (Nov 2013) to scrap the Bedroom Tax.
But some thought the parliamentary arithmetic didn’t add up: Labour could have won the division, had their MPs bothered to vote.
In truth the opposition would never have won as the vote took place under the parliamentary convention of ‘pairing’ the system whereby an MP of one party agrees with an MP from another party, not to turn up to vote on a particular division.
Still, Phil notes that the rules on pairing state it should only be used in debates considered of ‘national importance.’ It begs the question of what is an issue of national importance, itself no small matter.
To an extent it depends on what the media decides needs to be on the agenda...
Whilst you think about that, watch this Christmassy House Music Mashup by Davos, before this post moves on to…
… economist Simon Wren-Lewis who continues to grapple with how the media chooses to frame the debate about austerity. Basically, they do it badly.
Relatedly ('yeah right' I hear you say) cuddly northern physicist, Professor Brian Cox, ended up on my Twitter timeline this week with an example of how journalism can be brilliant at reporting economics
Finally, if I may circuitously, return to the sordid ethics of political communication. Specifically how the debate about austerity and its impact on the poorest, has been framed. There seems to be a broad consensus that the Tories are planning a negative (Crosbyite) campaign in the run up to the 2015 General Election. It has me thinking of this paper ‘dirtyhands clean gloves,’ written by Richard Bellamy of UCL.