Author Archives: Patrick McAuley

Opinion: First term councillor diary – mental health, the Council and me

In 1998 I lived 500 yards from Mick Philpott who was later convicted of killing 6 of his children. I’d met him on one occasion and was told even then he was an odd individual. Never did I expect to see him on the telly, but, having lived in that area, hearing what he had done did not surprise me. There used to be little hope in humanity in a place like Allenton, Derby. In 1998 I’d left with no qualifications, was living in a caravan and had lost my second job in three weeks working in the local bakery. I …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

Reflections on Rotherham (2): Scapegoating one person misses the larger point

The first thing to say is that the report into child exploitation and the failures of the local authority in Rotherham are tragic and a huge stain on not just Rotherham Council but local authorities generally.

Some will argue that it is completely inappropriate to make political hay with such a story and I am inclined to agree with them. When last year some Labour politicians, including Ed Miliband, used a tragic suicide to score points over the ‘bedroom tax’ I thought it was disgusting. So it’s important to see my comments below in that context: I do not intend them as political point-scoring.

I have concerns about the scapegoating of the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright. The logic of the argument is sound. He was the chief decision-maker for Rotherham Children’s Services for a five-year period during this scandal.

However, there are two difficulties with this.

Posted in Op-eds | 20 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dem ‘hypocrisy’ on bedroom tax unfair

Axe the bedroom tax - photo by Funk DoobyI have to defend accusations my party is being ‘hypocritical’ over its stance on the Bedroom Tax.

Thanks to Liberal Democrats being in control in Stockport we were able to introduce a local policy with our hardship fund that meant our residents would not have to pay retrospectively if there was nowhere to move into. Therefore according to Chris Bryant or Labour’s definition there is no bedroom tax in Stockport.

In Stockport the Lib Dem-led Council used the powers at its disposal …

Posted in Op-eds | 33 Comments

Opinion: We won in 2010 with compassion, is it the key to victory in  2015?

imageAccording to the media Liberal Democrats are behaving like rats in a sack with each member trying to eat (and in some cases spit out the other). Of course the media are less accommodating when it comes to highlighting the review that Nick commissioned with James Gurling, Cllr Abi Bell, Cllr Ruth Dombey and George Lyon.

While a review is welcome it is not the whole answer. What will help us in 2015 is engaging with some of those traditional Liberal Democrat liabilities, namely our compassion.

Take Lord Oakeshott. While I can’t comment …

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Opinion: The “Bedroom Tax”: a great socialist policy?

Bedroom tax demo , all the photos taken with a iphone 5One thing escapes most political commentators when critiquing the merits of the Bedroom Tax. It is, of course, a great socialist policy.

Of course most commentators accept New Labour introduced the Bedroom Tax through the Local Housing Allowance policy from 2003 to 2008. The mistake commentators make is that they believe LHA to be an ideologically compassionate conservative policy, instead of democratic socialist one.

The argument has two parts. The first is relatively straight forward. For a socialist common ownership (of which …

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Opinion: Support teachers’ right to strike, but not the NUT strikes in June

Teacher - License Some rights reserved by ben110It’s no secret to readers of Liberal Democrat Voice that when I write an article, education professionals tend to get it in the neck. At least I’m consistent.

So why should the June strike bother me? Jerry Glazier highlights the issue of teachers’ workload that it is now up to 55 to 60 hours a week on average. This angered me because while youth unemployment stands at just under 1 million a qualified teacher in primary or secondary will start on £21,000 and on average …

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Opinion: Panic – children are political

This morning I went through the day’s top headlines in my daily LGIU e-mail with the usual ‘some interesting stuff but nothing to get my knickers in a knot over’ attitude. That was until I came across an article in the Independent that read ‘Pupil Aaron Parfitt excluded after school protest calling for more homework‘.

The broader complaint was about standards in Bispham High School in Blackpool. I am tremendously impressed that a student of such tender years had the initiative, organisational skills and determination to follow through with a protest of this size. Following my last contribution on the …

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Opinion: Professionalisation vs Professionals in early years

The Liberal Democrat Education Association Conference 2014 was a thoroughly enjoyable event with friendly people and some fantastic debate. One such debate was the emphasis placed on professionals teaching in early years education.

It is important to note, governance relationships within the modern welfare-state has evolved from its top-down centralised roots to a system of partnerships, networks and stakeholders. Equally, the philosophy of state-interventionism has moved away from the notion that education professionals exist in isolation from other stakeholders such as parents as well as other areas of welfare such as health. Therefore to direct ones faith in …

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Recent Comments

  • Simon R
    I do actually agree that at one level, it is very bad that the law creates two classes of adults. Ordinarily, a law that discriminates on the basis of age in th...
  • Simon R
    @Katharine: Yes, it's true I pointed out how things look from a landlord's perspective, but equally, you were taking things only from the tenant's perspective. ...
  • Peter Davies
    I think the imbalance is between good and bad landlords. We have quite a lot of rules but they are almost unenforcable. With the current shortage of property to...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Thank you for your article! Might a significant factor in this problem be our recent and current, neo-liberal/austerity managed, anti relational-well-being, ...
  • Katharine Pindar
    @ Peter M. and Simon R. There are certainly arguments for and against dependency on renting: there are, for instance, good housing associations such as my local...