Bernadette Meaden's blog

An updated Christmas Carol

An updated Christmas Carol

I’ve been re-reading ‘A Christmas Carol’, and the way it resonates with present day Britain is quite remarkable. As Christmas approaches, Scrooge sits in his counting house, as he does every day, obsessed with his accounts and balancing the books, untouched and unmoved by the poverty all around him.

Low pay or no pay

Low pay or no pay

With growing numbers of working people struggling to survive, immigration is often blamed for suppressing wages. The police raid on a factory in Rochdale where immigrants were allegedly forced to work for £25 per week, reminds us that there are exploitative employers willing to take advantage of immigrants. But it could also be argued that government policy plays a major role in suppressing wages.

Hunger made in Downing Street

Hunger made in Downing Street

Media coverage of the Feeding Britain report left me feeling dismayed, as the central, indeed the only issue, the scandal of people going hungry in 21st century Britain, was obscured by a shoal of red herrings.

Cuts: tough choices, or ideology?

Cuts: tough choices, or ideology?

The scale of public spending cuts proposed by UK Chancellor George Osborne is shocking, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Not because such savage cuts are necessary, but because to many in government they are desirable.

Autumn Statement: low pay and 'terrifying' cuts to come

Autumn Statement: low pay and 'terrifying' cuts to come

In 1904 Winston Churchill (then a Liberal MP) said that the Conservative Party stood for "cheap labour for millionaires". In his Autumn Statement today (3 Decemeber) the current Conservative Chancellor did nothing to dispel this image.

Disabled people and Universal Credit

Disabled people and Universal Credit

Asked to review a Citizens’s Advice Bureau (CAB) report on how Universal Credit will affect disabled people, I did not expect to find it encouraging. But what the report reveals was even worse than I feared. You can read the full review on the Think Tank Review website, but here is just a flavour of what Universal Credit will mean for some disabled people.

David Cameron and disabled children

David Cameron and disabled children

Food blogger Jack Monroe is under fire for alleging on Twitter that David Cameron ‘uses stories about his dead son as misty-eyed rhetoric to legitimise selling our NHS to his friends’ She has received criticism from Conservative MPs and a torrent of abuse from some Twitter users.

Bunk beds and capitalism

Bunk beds and capitalism

In my local area, over a quarter of the children are living in poverty. The way the economy completely fails them and compounds their problems was illustrated by a glossy catalogue delivered through letterboxes in the area.

Charity: no substitute for justice

Charity: no substitute for justice

Imagine if all the foodbanks in the UK closed tomorrow. The result would be pretty dreadful. Shoplifting for food, already on the rise, would no doubt increase further. Hospital admissions due to malnutrition and related illnesses would surely increase even more, as would begging. Some people, like diabetic David Clapson, would simply die quietly at home, in a house with no food.

Remembrance and truth-telling

Remembrance and truth-telling

I once heard it said that we will never stop going to war until we have the courage to admit that many of the lives lost are simply wasted, sacrificed for nothing. This is a terrible thing to admit, especially for the bereaved, but if it will prevent other young lives being wasted, isn’t it our duty to face the truth?