Since they entered office the blue-tinged contingent of the Coalition has been engaged in a systematic process of stigmatising those in receipt of social security benefits. Great emphasis has been placed upon the undeserving and the fraudulent. There is support for the hard working strivers, but condemnation for the skivers. The spotlight has been on the most extreme cases of households receiving substantial financial support from social security in order to create a smoke screen for cuts in benefits to the poorest. The Tories are convinced that welfare “reform” – particularly the overall weekly benefit cap – is their most popular policy. Yet many of the components of this policy have yet to be fully implemented. The general public has yet to grasp their full impact. It may transpire that once they do, the Tories will feel they acted precipitately in drawing such a positive conclusion. Continue Reading →
We are witnessing a spate of exits from the Liberal Democrats announced online. While these have been happening intermittently for a while, we’ve had several in the last week or so. James Graham announced that he was leaving the party, and elaborated that the issue was party politics generally, rather than the Liberal Democrats specifically. Yesterday we had blog posts by Chris Ward and Daniel Furr announcing that they were resigning. No doubt there are many others deciding to leave the party less publicly. From the left and the right there is discontent, but for different reasons.
A focus for much of this discontent is the recent shenanigans around the Health and Social Care Bill. Those who were pleased – either for political or policy reasons – that Conference voted to amend the “Shirley Williams” motion are disgruntled, first, because of the way the leadership tried to manipulate the vote in the first place and, second, because almost immediately after Conference had voted Parliamentarians were indicating that they were going to ignore the vote and support the Bill. And so it came to pass in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
In contrast, those who supported the Health and Social Care Bill and believed the Libdem Lords had won significant amendments were frustrated by the whole Drop the Bill effort. Rather than an onward march towards the sunny uplands of a bright economic liberal future there was a feeling that the Drop the Bill grouping represents some form of backsliding towards soggy socialism – Libdems somehow succumbing en masse to delusion, under the spell of the Labour party.
So no one is very happy. Continue Reading →
From the archives ...
Early next year we will be debating the biggest question facing local democracy in our area. If Bristolians vote for a mayor in May 2012 it will surely be the [...]
There are already plenty of post-mortems on the AV referendum result. I don’t propose to add much to that growing body of discussion. In fact, Mark Thompson has already said [...]
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