Monday, 1 April 2013

REALLY Uneasy about Being a Lib Dem Today because of Welfare Reform


Me at the protest against bedroom tax on the 30th  March



The Lib Dem principles of, "Fairness, equality and community" have all been breached with the welfare reform and I find myself wondering what our party stands for. The reform which upsets me the most is the replacement of DLA with PIP where 500,000 disabled people will be found ineligible for the payment (BBC source). The most vulnerable in society are being the most hard done by while rich politicians, such as Grant Shapps and our own Nick, sit in their Westminster bubble untouched.

No matter which way you dress up this welfare reform it is not about curing the deficit and gaining growth. It is about a neo-liberal agenda that wants to eradicate state spending. If this was really about cutting the deficit then strong attempts would be made to get the green economy going (kick John Hayes) and to get construction going on the demand side. What about tax dodgers? How much money is lost there?

As soon as you see people like Fraser Nelson talking about how IDS is trying to lead people on welfare to prosperity through work you know that welfare reform is about a play on ideologies and words to create a false picture of those on welfare. The majority on benefits are working but don't earn enough because wages have gone down. Idleness seems to be the only trait picked on by the Government and has been used to stigmatize the unemployed. It is so easy to pick on those who are not likely to vote Tory or Lib Dem and who are not engaged with politics.

 I know that the welfare state was bloated but a scale down of this size is unjustifiable in circumstances where there is no growth, the rich don't pay for their part and Britain has lost the AAA rating. The Government is playing a game of shame blame and deflection away from its' failures by turning the tables to misrepresent the most vulnerable. The government comes up with so many excuses to implement a right wing agenda that tells the same old story of bad immigrants, skivers and work shy people. This isn't about the good of the country folks, it is about kicking aside those who are an inconvenient truth for the need for a proper and constructive welfare state. 


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11 comments

  1. There are many of us agonising over this but I hope you will stay in the party. SLF are leading the resistance and you are with friends if you work with us on this. Hopefully Liberal Youth are sound on this as well.

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  2. Dear Left Lib,
    It was lovely meeting you. I have been upset about this all day and I would love to work with SLF. I am not planning to leave the party.
    Maelo

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  3. I totally agree, when I tell people my ambitions in going into politics, they normally ask which party and I say Lib Dem. They then either shrug, give me a look that says "why?" of give me a five minute lecture about how by the end of Cameron's cabinet there will be no Lib Dem's left in Parliament and the party will be broken and unpowerful. I have no intentions of transferring my loyalty, and I am glad that you don't, either.
    Charli

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    1. Dear Charli,
      I agree but I am disappointed with the Lib Dems in some aspects of what they have done and I do not believe that they have been fair certain sections of societies.
      Maelo

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  4. I agree - well said. After 25 years campaigning in and for the Party with several runs for Parliament behind me and having been on the parliamentary staff, today is a the day that I am looking at my Party card and asking myself whether I can in good conscience stay and continue the fight - I've lived through and whethered all the crises, storms, false starts and poor electoral outcomes the Party has experienced over the past quarter of a century and always looked for the positives, but I've never felt as low and depressed as I feel today about our role in the simultaneous commencement of this Government's worst reforms - welfare, legal aid, health, council tax etc which all take effect today and hit the most vulnerable the hardest. I feel so ashamed that we are changing this country for the worse and all the compassion seems to have been sucked out out of modern political liberalism. Liberalism should offer a message of hope, not a stairwell to despair. None of the reforms affect me personally but I know many who are not as fortunate as me and struggle to get by with poor health and no money. And I cannot even offer them words of comfort without sounding like a self-righteous hypocrite. If there is hope it is with your generation activists - my generation of lib dems have failed to stop all this hapenning and at worst have acquiesed with the tory ideology that's been driving it..

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    1. I also feel that Liberal values have been betrayed and I am glad that there is another Lib Dem out there who feels as remorseful as I. I also campaigned in the 2010 election and convinced a few family friends to vote Lib Dem and some of them were on benefits now I feel as if I have betrayed them. I despair of the Lib Dems and hope they recollect their core values before vulnerable sections of society suffer further.
      Maelo

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  5. It's a pity you didn't question that assumption that "the welfare state was bloated".
    The welfare state's problem has been that it was designed against an assumption that full employment would be a public policy goal, and that public policy would also strive to boost equality. Instead the welfare state has been used to mop up some of the mess created by 35 years of economics designed to create high unemployment and to reduce eqaulity. For example, the explosion in Housing Benefit costs is a direct product of policies which have almost shut down new house building, and destroyed the system of low-rent council housing. These are not accidents; they are deliberate creations.
    In these circumstances, govt talk of a "bloated welfare" state is about as wise as setting a town on fire and cplanming about the "bloated" number of firefighters.

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    1. Perhaps I too have fallen for the divisive line that the welfare state is bloated. I do believe the reform of the welfare state is a Government act of the "Shock Doctrine" type.
      Maelo

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  6. Your Parents must be very proud to have a daughter who is young,but yet so wise in years.

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