Bernadette Meaden's blog

The 'economically inactive': Useless or undervalued?

A term often featured in discussions around the state of the economy is ‘economically inactive’.

This rather dismissive term is used to refer to people who are neither employed nor actively seeking employment. They may be raising children, studying, caring for a sick relative, or just generally making the world a better place in their own unique way, but if they’re not a cog in the economic machine, they count for very little in the minds of many politicians and economists.

Giving thanks for the Olympic opening ceremony

Halfway through the Olympic Opening Ceremony, Paul Mason, Economics Editor of the BBC’s Newsnight tweeted, ‘Entire ceremony has echoes of catholic priesthood who taught Danny (and me) - rerum novarum etc’. I was glad when I read this, as I was beginning to think I’d been imagining it.

The perfect storm around disability

The American news website Huffington Post recently published an article headlined, ‘Austerity in the United Kingdom Leaves Disabled in Fear for Their Lives’.

Auntie isn't looking after the weakest

In their hour of greatest need, the most vulnerable are being let down by the mainstream media, and particularly our national publicly funded broadcaster.

There is no wealth but life

‘There is no wealth but life.’ Could there be any more concise and profound challenge to our current economic system and materialistic values? Yet this is a quote from John Ruskin’s ‘Unto This Last’, published in 1862.

The ideas behind Government policy

At times the government’s approach to the poor and disadvantaged seems baffling, their reasoning tortured. Take child poverty for instance: recently Ian Duncan Smith and his supporters in the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) declared that child poverty was not a matter of low parental incomes. They blurred the distinction between poverty, which is undeniably a lack of money, and child neglect, which is another matter entirely.

The collusion of charities in the dismantling of the welfare state

Are well-meaning but politically naïve charities unwittingly helping the government to dismantle the welfare state?

Bread and circuses

The Roman satirist Juvenal lamented the fact that his fellow citizens had given up being politically engaged and were happy to sell their votes to politicians in exchange for free food and entertainment; ‘bread and circuses’. Let’s hope that 2000 years later we’ve not become even cheaper, settling for just the circuses.

Andrew Lansley isn't done yet

If you believe that Andrew Lansley has done all he can do to damage the NHS, think again. He has more up his sleeve.

In the latest issue of the British Medical Journal, Nigel Hawkes exposes the way the government plans to shift NHS funding away from deprived areas and divert it into more prosperous areas.

Why we need a Leveson Inquiry for the banks

On the eve of the local elections, some extraordinary remarks by a Minister probably got less attention than they deserved.

Defence Secretary and multi-millionaire property developer Philip Hammond tried to shift the blame for the financial crisis in the direction of ordinary UK households, saying, ‘the banks had to lend to someone’ and the people who took out loans were ‘consenting adults’.