Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation
Mrs Maria Fyfe (Glasgow Maryhill)
My hon. Friend is right. As has been pointed out, that is the price of a box of matches. Big deal. Perhaps that box of matches could usefully be used to set fire to Tory propaganda. That is the only good that will come from that measure.
People listening to tonight's debate, even if they know nothing about economics, even if they had just arrived from Mars and knew nothing about what was going on here, need only contrast the performances of the two Front Bench spokesmen. My hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) spoke with the deep sincerity that comes from genuine concern about unemployment and the low paid—a concern which is well respected and recognised throughout the United Kingdom. My hon. Friend will be one of the major figures in the Labour party's Front Bench team when we form the next Government.
Contrast my hon. Friend with the Secretary of State for Employment oozing insincerity from every pore. The right hon. and learned Gentleman strikes me as a man for whom the word synthetic would be a compliment because at least some synthetic things can be capable of useful service. I was reminded of the saying,
The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons".
The Secretary of State and the Chancellor continually spoke of their concern for the low paid and the more that they did so, the more we counted the tens of thousands on low pay who are not protected by wages inspectorates and who have had their trade union rights abolished, and the more we counted the millions unemployed in our constituencies. But the counting that I am thinking of now will come on 9 April, when the votes counted will show Conservative Members the consequences of their cold and heartless policies. They will then start learning something about what it is like not to have a job any more.