Liberal Democrat disability policy: arse-backwards

I doubt many people who aren’t Liberal Democrats will have read the agenda for their conference, currently taking place in Brighton. That’s probably for the best because it includes a policy motion on disability that would leave you dizzy. They really don’t know which way they’re facing on this one. But no worries, eh? It’s only the public who’ll suffer because of it! The motion starts by noting that the Welfare Reform Act has been passed, including changes to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); the introduction of Personal Independence Payments…

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Who is Andrew Mitchell – and who does he THINK he is?

One would have to be a buffoon of the lowest order to insult a policeman in the same week two officers were killed while protecting the public. So, inevitably – because the UK is being run by a gang of fools – one has stepped up to the plate and taken his shot: Andrew Mitchell, a former International Development minister, who was made government chief whip earlier this month and clearly let the appointment go to his head. Asked to get off his bicycle and refrain from using the vehicle…

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Government borrowing: Insanity, explained with nonsense

Government borrowing figures for August have been released and the Treasury has been talking nonsense about them. Again. Let’s start with the facts: UK public sector net borrowing was £14.4bn in August – slightly higher than the same month last year, and therefore the biggest deficit for the month since records began. Corporation tax receipts fell by 2.1 per cent; benefit payments rose by 4.9 per cent. Barring the effects of one-off transactions like the raid on the Royal Mail Pension Plan that I mentioned last month, borrowing from April…

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When did it become okay for public servants to dictate what we do?

A new aspect of the ‘Poll Tax revival plan to take away your home’ has only just occurred to me, and I wanted to share it with you before it shifts you out of your living-room and onto the street. As I outlined before, the plan is to scrap Council Tax Benefit from April next year and compel local authorities to set up local council tax support schemes, under orders from central government to reduce the payout by 10 per cent (16 per cent when you consider that pensioners will…

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New domestic abuse rules should be welcomed

It’s so rare that we find a reason to applaud the government, I thought I should flag it up: The definition of domestic abuse has been widened to cover psychological intimidation and controlling behaviour. From now on, these definitions will apply to victims aged 16 and 17, along with adults. Take a look at the statistics: Police receive one report of domestic violence every minute. This is a huge issue across the country. It’s rife. But there is no specific criminal offence of domestic violence. A definition referring to “threatening…

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New benefit plan has no heroes – only zeroes

Shall we play a game? This one’s called join-the-dots. I didn’t really like it when I was younger and I doubt that you will, after you see the picture we’ll be creating. We’ll start here: The government wants to cut another £10 billion from the welfare budget – that’s the bit of public spending that keeps millions of people off the streets, if only on the breadline. The government could, alternatively, try stimulating the economy to make that money in taxes, but policy seems to be pushing hard the other…

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Survey boosts ‘divide and rule’ agenda – and hate crime

“I don’t know if anyone’s listened to the news/checked the papers today, but I’m sickened (although not surprised) the Tories are stepping up their hatred campaign against immigrants and the unemployed, by publishing exaggerated and out-of-context statistical reports. All they’re doing is fuelling racism and lack of compassion to get small minded people to support their agenda. Outrageous.” That was the response of Alex – a very non-political friend of mine – to the data from NatCen Social Research today, that claimed people want to see less spending on welfare…

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Do you want your children to starve?

Well? Do you want your kids to starve? The Guardian has reported that budget cuts are forcing the closure of breakfast clubs in primary schools across the country – despite increased demand. The research, by Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, shows 40 per cent of councils are cutting back. This means vulnerable children will be going to school hungry and will therefore be unable to concentrate in lessons. Think about the consequences of this. If they can’t concentrate because of hunger, they’re likely to misbehave – and this could set a…

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Thatcher’s police state – the culture that led to Hillsborough

It seems amazing that Jack Straw, a former Home Secretary, can be described as “very silly” for saying what we have all known for nearly 30 years. Responding to the announcement of the Hillsborough cover-up by South Yorkshire Police, he said Margaret – now Baroness – Thatcher, the Prime Minister at the time, had created a “culture of impunity” in the police that made such corruption possible. Anyone who lived through the 1980s should be well aware of this. Mrs Thatcher used the police as a political weapon throughout her period…

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