Bernadette Meaden's blog

A coalition mistaking failure and harm for success

A coalition mistaking failure and harm for success

In a brilliant piece in the Guardian, Ha-Joon Chang comprehensively demolishes the economic ‘recovery’ claimed by the coalition government, dismissing as an ‘economic fairytale’ its claims of success.

Lord Freud, in context

Lord Freud, in context

When Lord Freud’s remarks about disabled people and the minimum wage became public, many people, myself included, reacted quickly and with anger. Did we over-react? Taking his words in context, was Lord Freud being "compassionate" as some of his defenders claimed, in wishing to find ways of getting severely disabled people into work?

Lord Freud, disabled workers, and the minimum wage

Lord Freud, disabled workers, and the minimum wage

The National Minimum Wage is not a living wage, it’s a poverty wage.Yet the Minister in charge of welfare reform, Lord Freud, has suggested that disabled people’s labour is not even worth this much. He has now apologised, but for many disabled people his remarks simply confirm their suspicions of how the government really thinks about them.

UKIP, saviour of the establishment

UKIP, saviour of the establishment

When the banks wrecked the economy, people were angry: angry with politicians, bankers, and super-rich tax dodgers. Movements like Occupy questioned the very foundations of our global capitalist economy. Voters needed a party or a leader who would understand their anger, who would reject business as usual politics and teach the establishment a lesson. So what did that establishment need?

Welfare reform: fixing broken Britain, or an abuse of human rights?

Welfare reform: fixing broken Britain, or an abuse of human rights?

As Iain Duncan Smith was being lauded at the Conservative Party Conference for ending ‘a culture of dependency’ through welfare reform, one wondered how many people present knew or cared about one significant but unmentioned fact.

Saint Francis, a saint for our times.

Saint Francis, a saint for our times.

A war between Christians and Muslims which seems never-ending. Religious leaders who tell the faithful that if they die fighting a ‘holy war’ they will have eternal life. This was the scenario in the Crusades of the mediaeval period, and the religious leaders who promised such rewards for martyrdom were the Popes, the leaders of Christendom.

The Chancellor's hidden blow to disabled people.

The Chancellor's hidden blow to disabled people.

The Chancellor’s Conference speech contained a statement about disabled people and benefits which was misleading, but went largely unchallenged by the mainstream media. Mr Osborne promised a two year freeze on working age benefits if the Conservatives are re-elected but made a point of saying, "disability benefits will be excluded". Is that true?

Benefits Street and the Conservative Party Conference: a debate?

Benefits Street and the Conservative Party Conference: a debate?

An event to be staged at the Conservative Party Conference manages to encapsulate all that is wrong with the way the public conversation on social security has been framed and managed.

Democracy: let's take a leaf out of Scotland's book

Democracy: let's take a leaf out of Scotland's book

In the Scottish referendum, people voted who had never voted before, often in areas where the status quo means foodbanks and poverty. The prospect of a record turnout shook Westminster politicians out of their complacency, forcing them to rush up to Scotland in a panic. Imagine if we could make this happen throughout the UK, at the next General Election?

Private health care and the NHS.

Private health care and the NHS.

A parasite lives off its host, taking what it needs, contributing little or nothing, and often causing harm. It could be said that the private health care industry is a now a parasite on the NHS.