Angela Smith could soon get her comeuppance, and she doesn’t like it

November 7, 2019

by Martin Odoni

Much has happened in British politics through the course of 2019, but much of it has been to no particular avail. Relentless back-and-forth over Brexit has led only to repeated delays. There have been changes of leadership in both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties, only for the same policy logjams to keep reappearing. Substantial numbers of Tories have been turfed out of their party for rebelling, only to be allowed back in as soon as a General Election is called. And so on.

Perhaps the most comical of these ‘mighty storms’ that never seem to make landfall was the establishment of the many-named ‘Independent Group/Change UK’ new centrist party.

Oh, have you forgotten them? This mob of klutzes; –


Like Blake’s 7, only all seven of them are Vila.

They broke away from the Labour Party back in February, reinforced by a couple of anti-Brexit Tories, and subsequently fell to pieces, reduced to a complete non-factor before the summer was out. Some of them are now in the LibDems, and several more are retiring from Parliament at the upcoming General Election.

One of the ones who is now a LibDem is Angela Smith. We might remember her as the person who got ‘The Independent Group’ off to a truly rousing start on their opening day by mumbling live on national television that people-of-colour have skin of “a funny tinge”. This week, as the Election campaign has been getting under way, Smith has had a rather unpleasant shock. She has learned that if she fails to win the seat she is standing for in Altrincham, she would not be entitled to a £22,000 ‘compensation’ package normally paid out to incumbent MPs when they are voted out. The reason Smith is not eligible for the payment is that she is not the incumbent MP in Altrincham & Sale West. Instead, she was elected in the 2017 poll as the Labour candidate for Penistone & Stocksbridge, but she is unable to stand there this time around, as the Liberal Democrats already have a candidate standing there.

Smith has gone as far as to complain publicly that she is the victim of discrimination. Which particular type of ‘discrimination’ this is – racial, gender, geographical, sexual orientation or others – she has not elaborated upon. But she loudly insists she is entitled to the payment, should she lose in Altrincham, and that Parliament is discriminating against her by withholding it.

And a defeat for Smith in her new constituency target does look pretty likely, given she would have to overturn a deficit of over 22,000 (oh, that number again?) for her party in the constituency in 2017. She would also have to stave off a Labour challenge in the constituency, which was also over 16,000 ahead of the LibDems two years ago. It is not exactly looking like a stroll-in-the-park for Smith.

I can only speak for myself on this of course, but I must admit, I am not exactly moved-to-tears by Smith’s ‘plight’. She thinks she has it rough because she might not get a loss-of-job cushion of two-months’-worth at about eight-times-the-National-Minimum-Wage rate. But that is her own fault for giving up the seat to which she was elected. That she felt the need to change parties is a matter between her and the party she left, it is none of Parliament’s business, which is only concerned with providing a cushion for incumbents who have not chosen to leave but have been forced out. And some might argue that these ‘parachute payments’ are already too generous, given how many people around the country in lower-paid, less-secure jobs have no severance packages on standby at all. So no, I do not look with sympathetic eyes in Smith’s direction.

Instead, I look at some of the people who desperately need a radical Labour Government, the prospect of which, Smith and her fellow ‘Tiggers’ tried very hard to avert. I look to the homeless, the destitute, the poor, the sick, the disabled, those dependent on foodbanks, those who need social care, all of whom have been royally dumped upon for nine years by successive Tory-led Governments. The first of those Governments was propped up by the very party Smith has now joined.

I look at the victims of toxic Austerity, and I find myself thinking, “Smith, you have the sort of problems many people would dream of.”

Homeless man feels bad for Angela Smith

Truly brings tears to the eyes to learn that Angela Smith will miss out on 22 thousand pounds.

Not that she is really getting any, but Smith deserves some trouble. As I say, she has spent most of the year trying to prevent a Government that would be willing to make radical changes required to provide housing for the homeless, to repair the NHS, to restore social care, and so on. If Smith is unable to see the travesty in her own behaviour, but somehow sees a travesty in herself missing out on tens of thousands of pounds that she will not even be doing any work for, then I for one am quite content for her to carry on feeling persecuted.

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