Bernadette Meaden's blog

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’.

Payday Loans: Join the fightback

The UK has become a magnet for payday loan companies that target the poor. Other countries limit the interest these companies can charge, but here in the UK the sky’s the limit, so more and more firms are moving in to make a killing. Along with the increasing demand for food banks, the proliferation of these companies on our high streets sum up what a harsh and unforgiving place Britain has become for the poor.

Why individuals, as well as systems, need economic scrutiny

When we talk about issues of economic justice, it’s nearly always a broad discussion of unjust structures and systems rather than individuals, and on the whole that’s probably the way it should be. But does that in effect mean that the super-rich, the one per cent, are allowed to be comfortably anonymous and unaccountable? And should they be allowed to remain so?

If the PM 'did' God it would make a nice change

The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ asked, ‘Is it OK for Prime Ministers to do God in public?

I would be delighted if they ‘did’ God: it’s when they talk about God I feel nauseous.

The alternative to individual rich interests is people power

In the cash for access row the Conservatives have portrayed Labour’s relationship with the unions as equivalent to, and just as insidious as, their own relationship with a handful of rich donors. This is highly disingenuous. The Downing Street dinners only illustrate what we have all known all along: that rich people naturally gravitate towards the Conservative party, but whoever is in power they will always, as individuals, try to wield a disproportionate influence in their own interest.