Author Archives: Adam Bernard

One-Email-Address-One-Vote: A Foolish Idea

We’ve all been asked to give our thoughts on the Leader’s Proposals. The suggested method is via a form with (in my opinion) hopelessly leading questions. Fortunately there’s also an email address: [email protected] and I’d encourage everyone to use that.

Let’s start with what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that no change is needed, and I’m not saying that every single thing in the proposals is awful. For instance, I think a non-voting supporters scheme would be a reasonable idea, and we need some mechanism for having a leader in the event that none of our MPs are willing …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Guaranteed income: better than a second hand sandwich

The Ashdown Prize has shown there is a hunger in the Party for new policy and new radical and liberal solutions. A policy to make foodbanks more effective may address an immediate need, but why not instead make it our long-term policy to make them unnecessary?

As it stands, Britain has a system to pay people money if they lack an income. Unless they left their last job voluntarily. Or if they fail to jump through enough hoops to show that they’re looking for work in the DWP-approved manner. Or if they refuse to do unpaid demeaning labour for freeloading corporations. Or if they haven’t yet waited the statutory month of poverty after losing their job. Or if they have an illness that varies in severity, making it hard to assess. Or if they’re self-employed or otherwise on a variable income.

Enough is enough.

We have submitted a motion to FCC to consider for Autumn conference. In it we propose “an unconditional minimum level of income below which no-one is allowed to fall, guaranteed to all long-term UK residents”.

Let’s unpick that.

It’s unconditional. Yes, that means to the nasty undeserving poor that the Daily Express really doesn’t like. Yes, it means that poor people can turn down a job that’d be demeaning or bad for their career progression – just like richer people can do at the moment.

It’s a minimum not a maximum. Targetted payments such as housing benefit and additional expenses incurred by disabled people, would still be additional to this.

It’s guaranteed. It’s a proper safety net. One that’s actually safe, and not liable to be withdrawn because your bus to the JobCentrePlus was late and you missed your appointment. One that doesn’t rely on your intermittent medical condition being bad on the day that you’re booked for assessment.

It’s for all long-term UK residents. Not tied to citizenship. Not tied to people being judged to be “the right sort”. Part of our shared obligation to support everyone who is part of our community.

How might it work? Under one version, every eligible person gets a regular payment, with no strings attached on how they spend it. Tax rates are adjusted so that people who are richer are paying a little more overall to fund the payments; people in the middle stay roughly where they are as the tax rise is compensated by the payment; the poorest people, who are not paying much or any tax, simply gain extra income.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 52 Comments

Brexit impact ████████ likely to be █████████

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So, finally, after months of pointless █████████, the massed forces of ██████, the L█████l Democrats, the Scottish National ██████, and the likelihood of rebel ████████ forced the ██████████ into a humiliating ██████████.

But no sooner were the █████████ out of the ███████ than certain Government figures exposed their ████████, ████████ing to ███████ out of a tight hole.

Lord Callanan, Brexit ████████ in the Lords’ ██████, claimed that while the motion ████████ ██ impact statements, the ███████ had actually █████ ████ ██████ ██████ sectoral analyses. A neat bit of █████████ by the Noble ████.

Posted in Humour and Op-eds | Tagged | 11 Comments

Three things a local party can do for newbies

With another(!) influx of new members, it seemed time to write about some things that work for us in Harrow. They’re not unique to us, but they’re not universal either, so it seemed worth sharing.

Say hello!

Here in Harrow Liberal Democrats we try and make sure all new members — if they want — get an individual personal welcome. Our (awesome) membership secretary, or someone else from the exec, or a ward organiser, or whoever, just arranges to meet for a chat at a café/pub.

It’s a really good way to a) make sure new members feel cared about; b) get a chance to find out what their interests / skills are, what they’d like to help with, and what they’d like to see the local party doing; c) let them ask any questions — on policy, or procedures, or local information. d) give them the hard sell on the next Harrow Lib Dem Pint where they can meet more of the team.

Pints

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

An end to benefit fraud – the Liberal way

…the plan we are advocating amounts essentially to this: that a certain small income, sufficient for necessaries, should be secured to all, whether they work or not…

Bertrand Russell, Proposed Roads To Freedom, 1918

There are two types of benefit fraud going on. There’s the sort that the Daily Mail and various populist TV shows enjoy making a song-and-dance about. Then there’s the more prevalent fraud, with targets to deny people the money they and their families need to live, to “sanction” them on flimsy pretexts, to require people with mental and physical disabilities to undergo lengthy and stressful appeals processes.

Providing a small unconditional income to everyone in society addresses both of these frauds – and incidentally means that much of the demeaning, embarassing, arbitrary, and extremely costly assessments can be scrapped.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 42 Comments
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