Author Archives: Nick Rider

The best way to answer Coalition guilt-shaming is to challenge austerity and poverty today, head-on

The election of a new Liberal Democrat leader has been followed by a predictable burst of accusations and guilt-shaming – mostly, but not only, from Labour sources – regarding the Lib Dems’ part in the Coalition, cuts and austerity. Responses on Liberal Democrat Voice and in other Lib Dem groups have often followed a familiar pattern too. A fair amount of irritated defensiveness. A lot of detailed discussion of the financial situation in 2010, deficit levels, etc. Sometimes a feel of this being a rather theoretical economic argument a bit far away, only raised to torment us.

I think this is to miss the point. The best way to get over endless guilt-shaming and raking-over of the Coalition is not to get sucked into circular arguments over just what part any Lib Dem minister played in this or that decision in 2014 but to say very clearly we’ve moved on, there are urgent matters to be dealt with, and that today, in the here and now, 2019, the Liberal Democrats see poverty as a real crisis, care about it and are prepared to tackle it.

What doesn’t leap out from current Lib Dem responses is any sense of urgency. An urgent awareness that there is an atrocious crisis of poverty in this country, and it’s getting worse. Galloping homelessness, thousands dependent on food banks, more and more people in work but so poorly paid and so insecure they barely keep going. Public health indicators that had been improving for decades now stalled or going backwards, as the United Nations’ Alston Report on Poverty in the UK highlighted.

And behind this worsening poverty are some very old ideas, like the assumption that anyone in need of support is potentially a ‘scrounger’ culpable for their own poverty who needs to be kept in check through such things as the benefit sanctions regime.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 62 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Brandon Masih
    For those arguing for the age moving process, are you definitely content with the policy going *further* than NZ’s proposal and covering smokeless tobacco, wh...
  • Paul Barker
    I disagree with the 5 but I can see where they are coming from. What was the argument for abstention ?...
  • Tim Leunig
    Well done those five. The freedom to be addicted is no freedom....
  • Simon R
    Banning cigarettes outright is not going to push the (entire) trade underground. It will directly end much of the trade, while a small proportion of the trade w...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Might ideas, policies, promotions, publicity, researches etc that are likely to better inform our citizenry also be part of a successful campaign...