Wednesday, May 16, 2012

£25bn of extra welfare cuts? LOL DC

Today, quietly, behind the headlines screaming of further welfare cuts, ‘the deserving’ blind people and service personnel likely to lose eligibility for disability benefits, Leveson, Coalition car crash and unemployment statistics, two important welfare events are occurring in the House of Commons. 

One of the contributors to the Spartacus Report, Declan Gaffney is launching his report, co-authored with Kate Bell into what is living and what is dead in the contributory principle. At the same time, Shadow Minister for DWP, Liam Byrne is giving the second of his Beveridge anniversary speeches , Renewing Universalism. Two sides of the same coin, unfortunately scheduled for the same time. 

Declan and Kate’s report is a detailed look at contribution from a policy perspective, whilst Liam Byrne’s speech is set to show us the first indication of direction the Labour party intend to take both politically and in policy now that Jon Cruddas has taken over the overall policy review. 

Labour have made many mistakes these past two years with welfare and disability rights, they failed to oppose the welfare reform bill as effectively as they could have done, distracted by arguing amongst themselves as to which direction to take. They dithered around the derogatory language and media attacks upon sick and disabled people, adding to the burden with stories of ‘how they met a man, who really could, if he just did as he should’ 

But, eventually, slowly, Labour as a party did seem to acknowledge some of the concerns being raised by sick and disabled people. They did not come to this knowledge and understanding easily, it took determined efforts by campaigners from all parts of the political spectrum to make the Labour party notice us and the slow, inevitable car crash of human despair and misery being caused by the flawed Work Capability Assessment. 

It remains to be seen what direction Labour will take on disability issues, but this afternoon’s speech from Liam Byrne will give us a good indication of that. 

We should listen with open ears, to hear what is actually being said. Whatever the past mistakes made by the Labour party they have the opportunity to show they have listened to our messages, fears and call for rights and to be the opposition to simply slashing benefits and services that sick and disabled people so desperately need.

Updated 18:47: Link to transcript of Liam Byrne's #Beveridge2 speech 


Tony Holden said...

Unfortunately, with MP's like mine, John Woodcock, we are going to get nowhere.

He has supported the woodlands, bowling greens and one young cancer patient after her bucket list became famous.

He has also supported workfare and argued that it didn't go far enough, ignored emails I have sent over the WRB and made little noise that I've heard about the Remploy factory being closed in this constituency.

I have no expectations of him at all unless it is something he can use for his own popularity.

mrswupple said...

politicians pursue policies they perceive to be 'popular' and anti-disability media coverage has ensured this. IDS and Cameron feel there are no lengths they can't go to in hounding the poor and sick and Labour began the ATOS fiasco. What is needed is a major change in public opinion on the issue of Welfare Cuts and that won't be easy.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, for the most part, the Labour Party has not only been complicit in demonising the sick, they have taken it forward with great gusto.

Kicking the sick is seen, by Labour, as vote winning.

Tom Harris MP even stated that the Labour Party is not here for the poorest in society, during his campaign to be leader of the Party in Scotland.

Labour. I do not trust them. In Scotland the SNP has been consistently against these changed. It would take some very simple, bold, PUBLIC, declarations by all the Labour Front Bench to get me starting to think they might change

voxpopuli2 said...

Its not just the past couple of years we can damn labour but go back to 2006 and Blair with Fraud Freud.

Jess said...

Hi Kaliya,

Did anyone pick up on this?
During her testimony at the Leveson inquiry on Friday, Rebekkah Brooks said:

“We needed to get the Welfare Bill through.” Which “we” was that, then? Did she mean that her newspaper group regarded itself as an arm of government? Sadly, no one asked her to elaborate."

Picked up from Telegraph commentary:

(below the bit about 7 Up series)

If this is correct, do we not have absolute proof from the "horse's mouth" (LOL)that the media is knowingly complicit in publishing inaccurate welfare stories for political purposes??

Jess said...

Here is the actual quote from Leveson. The Telegraph line I quoted above was a bit misleading. It was refering to the Welfare Reform Bill under Labour, not the current one. But still shows the newspapers influence on government policy when she says "WE" tried again.

" the latter years of Tony Blair's prime ministership, the hostilities between him and Gordon Brown got increasingly worse and there did become a Tony Blair camp and a Gordon Brown camp, and on
particular issues -- say, for example, the welfare reform bill, which I think they first tried to get through in 2004 -- hostilities between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were such that it didn't get through that time. WE TRIED AGAIN. (my caps)It was very important for Sun readers."

To my mind, this suggests the paper sets the agendas and then when the readers go along with it, her excuse is they are following the readers' wishes. Tricky stuff, eh?

page 29 Leveson