Tag Archives: polly toynbee

Benefits sanctions: what should happen when guidelines and reality are at odds with each other?

Benefits-welfareBack in April, I wrote about how the overuse of benefits sanctions appeared to be at odds with the Department of Work and Pensions guidance which was actually quite reasonable and gave decision makers some flexibility to take things like poor mental health into consideration.

Both the use and the penalty for even a minor infringement of the rules have been dramatically increased in the last couple of years. It’s worth noting that the minimum period of benefit loss is now 4 weeks. Given that the maximum help you can get from a food bank is 3 days’ food, 3 times a year, you can just imagine how much incredible hardship this can cause. You would think that a decision maker would take very seriously the consequences  of imposing a sanction and only do it when the circumstances were clear cut.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

The welfare debate and the age of the trollemic

I decided to invent a new word yesterday:

It’s the welfare debate that’s prompted it, but it could be any other topic on a given week.

daily mail philpott front pageYesterday saw the Daily Mail publish a typically sensationalist front page blaming the welfare state for the tragedy of six children being killed by their parents. On Monday the Mirror shouted ‘Shameful’, with a cartoon showing Thatcher, Cameron, Osorne and Clegg banging in the final nail of a coffin marked ‘RIP Welfare’.

Each is exaggerating to make their own point. Both are gross over-statements: trollemics.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 26 Comments

Eastleigh by-election: your essential round-up of the latest campaign news (12 Feb)

Here’s a round-up of news from the past 24 hours in the Eastleigh by-election…

mike thornton eastleigh jon aylwinNick Clegg offered Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton his full backing on a visit to Eastleigh on Monday. Here‘s the Guardian report:

“I am confident we will keep hold of this seat but not because I say so but because the people of Eastleigh are telling us that,” said Clegg. Focusing on the party’s local dominance – it is the only place in the country where every councillor at district and county level is a Liberal Democrat – he said voters would focus on its “record of action” and said the party had “to be quite clear where our differences lie”. … Speaking after meeting students at the local college, Clegg said: “Cutting council tax, promoting more apprenticeships, creating jobs, protecting green spaces – those are things that Liberal Democrats haven’t just talked about, they are things they have actually done and it’s a record of which we are tremendously proud.”

It’s not just Nick Clegg who’s been doing his Eastleigh stint, though. Pictured above (with thanks to Jon Aylwin) is North Devon MP Nick Harvey out canvassing with Mike and some of his supporters.

Want to join the hundreds of Lib Dems who are doing their bit to help get Mike elected as the next Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh on 28th February? Here’s a reminder of how YOU can make a difference:

  • Volunteer to help in Eastleigh itself
  • Make phone calls for the party if you can’t get there in person
  • Give a donation to help fund the campaign.
  • Posted in News and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

    LibLink: Simon Hughes – Polly’s advice to the Lib Dems is double-edged

    Simon Hughes has a letter in the Guardian today responding to Polly Toynbee’s article “Now is the perfect time for Liberal Democrats to wield the knife“.

    Simon writes:

    Polly Toynbee’s argument, like some arguments she has made before, is based on a false and misleading premise – that this government is embarking on some ideological dismantling of the state. This does everyone a disservice.

    Here are three reasons why: first, by the end of this parliament the government will be spending about £730bn a year, a full 42% of GDP and roughly the same as we did in 2008. Hardly back to

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 52 Comments

    Opinion: Land Value Tax – an old idea with lots of modern supporters

    Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations (1776) was an early proponent of land taxes as was that great radical Tom Paine.

    John Stuart Mill was an advocate and Henry George put the case in ‘Progress and Poverty’ (1879).

    The economist David Ricardo gave us the concept of economic “rent” – that land or property derives its value from scarcity rather than investment.

    In the debates before and after the peoples budget of 1909 both Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George argued strongly for the introduction of a land tax.

    The economists John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman recommended Land Value Tax (LVT) for …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 258 Comments

    Chris Rennard writes… Who will win the debate between Shirley Williams and Polly Toynbee?

    I spent some of last Saturday morning in the briefing session at the Lib Dem Conference with the Lib Dem parliamentary health team sitting just in front of Andrew Sparrow and Patrick Wintour (both of the Guardian) as Shirley Williams laid into Polly Toynbee’s account in their paper of a key amendment on the Health Bill. For those of us who are fed up with Toynbee’s ‘tribal’ attacks on the Lib Dems it was a joy to listen to.

    Andrew Sparrow wrote a great account of Shirley’s clear rebuttal of the Toynbee attack. He tweeted that, “It …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

    How the Guardian makes the news, then reports the news

    A nimble two-step from The Guardian:

    1. Polly Toynbee sends tweet encouraging all and sundry to take part in an open-access online poll being run by the BMJ.

    2. The Guardian reports result of said BMJ poll.

    Then only thing missing, alas, is:

    3. The Guardian then realises that reporting a voodoo poll which its own staff have been encouraging people to take part on is low grade self-referential journalism and pulls poll report.

     

    Hat tip: Anthony Wells

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment
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