Benefit cuts and disabled people - some evidence
Earlier this week, on the UN Day of Disabled People, Habinteg published a report examining the impact of the Coalition’s benefit cuts on their tenants. There was a particular concern to investigate whether policy is undermining the possibility of independent living.
This evidence suggests that disabled people are being hit hardest by the cumulative impact of welfare reform.
You can read the report here.
Pointless machismo from the Lib Dems?
In today’s Observer Andrew Rawnsley has an interesting piece about privatisation, in the wake of the Royal Mail sell off.
He notes that you can explain the Tories’ enthusiasm for the sell off as a bid to out-Thatcher Thatcher. But that clearly doesn’t carry over to the Liberal Democrats.
He then writes the following:
The enthusiasm of Vince Cable and the Lib Dems is harder to fathom. This will seem counterintuitive to anyone who is not a Lib Dem minister, but for them this was also a political virility test. They believe that they burnish their credentials as a party of government by doing things that most of the public say they hate.
If that is anywhere near the vicinity of the truth then that is one of the most dispiriting things I’ve read today.
And given that the political arm of the media at the moment is largely filled with news designed to drain you of any hope that enlightenment might one day return to politics, that is surely saying something.
Further observations on evidence and quack policy
Nothing new under the sun …
I came across this again today:
Nothing is esteemed except money, nothing accounted except a banking account. Quality, education, civic distinction, public virtue, are valued less and less. We have in London an important section of people who go about preaching the gospel of Mammon advocating the 10 per cent commandments - who raise each day the inspiring prayer “Give cash in our time, O Lord”.
This is part of a political speech associated with the argument that people fear the Independent Labour Party when what they should really be fearing is the Independent Capitalist Party.
Earlier I was reading today’s speech by Nick Clegg and thinking about what I might blog in response. This evening I re-encountered the following quote, which seems apposite, not to Clegg particularly, but to the whole business of political blogging in general. It’s from the Acknowledgements (p.vi) in Constructing the political spectacle by Murray Edelman (1988):
As a student of political language and symbolism, I am indebted in a different way to the countless public officials and representatives of political causes who spend their time giving me more data than I want, much of it disturbing or outrageous.
Oliver Cromwell and that …
Today, for the first time in a long time, I came across Oliver Cromwell’s speech on the dissolution of the Long Parliament in 1653. Its contemporary resonance is evident. Its sentiment is no doubt shared by many contemporary observers of our political scene. I’m not saying that I’d advocate a Cromwellian approach to the issue. But, if nothing else, the rhetoric and oratory are marvellous:
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money. Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?