Bernadette Meaden's blog

Flirting with extremism: the Von Papen lesson

We have recently seen the Conservative party flirt with extremist views, in what seemed like a rather obvious attempt to win back supporters drawn to UKIP.

Time to shut down the Atos machine

If a factory production line was found to be turning out a high proportion of faulty and unusable widgets, it would be stopped. It might then take some time to detect and correct the fault, but to leave the machine running whilst the fault persisted would be an avoidable waste of energy and materials.

The true story behind zero-hours contracts

The following advertisement recently appeared in my local newspaper. ‘Female carer required to support client with all aspects of personal care in own home. Five calls a day between 7am and 10pm over 7days. Driver preferred. £6.75 an hour, 16-20 hours a week.’

Government stops counting 'collateral damage' of welfare reforms

During the Iraq War US General Tommy Franks said, "We don’t do body counts."

What he meant was that whilst US forces kept a record of their troops that were killed, they did not count dead civilians. Either they did not care enough to count them, or perhaps wished to avoid being held responsible for them.

Giving birth: A tale of two countries

Whilst one new Mum in Britain takes her baby home to a taxpayer-funded million pound nursery, new Mums in Finland get a cardboard box.

Why there's an impact assessment for cigarette packaging, but not cuts hurting disabled

The electorate was sent a message last week: if you want this government to take you seriously you must get rich, cultivate friends in the Conservative Party, and spend a lot of money on covert lobbying. We may be living in a democracy, but it doesn’t feel that way.

Asking the bare minimum: a cumulative impact assessment

When the Welfare reform Bill passed into law in March 2012, Iain Duncan Smith proclaimed, ‘These are the biggest reforms for 60 years. Michael McMahon MSP recently described it as “a tsunami of change engulfing the world of welfare,” and warned that “the biggest waves are yet to come.”

Evolution in reverse?

A recent episode of Horizon on BBC2 asked the fascinating question, ‘What makes us human?’ Professor Alice Roberts considered why human babies are born helpless, whilst other animals have offspring with information hard-wired into their brain, and so are able to fend for themselves very quickly.

Respond to the new consultation on mobility

When Personal Independence Payments (PIP) were proposed, to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claimed it had acted in consultation with disabled people. Thanks to the work of campaigners like Sue Marsh, that consultation was exposed as a sham which completely ignored the overwhelming opposition expressed.

The Conservatives have achieved a great deal, but not great things

When the history of this particular period is written, people will marvel at what the Conservatives have achieved. To lose an election, scramble into office, and then go on to change society so significantly in a few short years shows, it has to be said, quite some chutzpah.