Helping parents with the cost of school uniforms is a great campaign

For an example of the real difference Liberal Democrats in government can make to peoples lives, look no further than the announcement by Kirsty Williams of new guidance on school uniforms in Wales.

There’s no doubt that the cost of school uniforms can be a real issue for poor families and the tendency of some schools to make arbitrary decisions which put up the cost are an example of how arbitrary decisions by the state can adversely affect people lives.

The Children’s Society have issued several reports on this, highlighting the high costs caused by schools which have over complicated uniforms and restrict where they can be purchased. As one parent said to them:

School uniform is a constant source of anxiety. I am not ashamed of being poor but I always want my children to look as well cared-for as others. I go without so my children can always have what is needed.

The guidance the Welsh Government have given (and note that it is statutory guidance, rather than the non statutory guidance from OFSTED) is eminently sensible and includes:

  • Only stipulate basic items and colours but not styles so that items can be bought from multiple retail chains at reasonable prices and not just from one authorised supplier.
  • Avoid high cost items such as blazers and caps.
  • Have easily washable items: dry clean only items should be avoided.
  • If there are any differences in the school uniform and appearance policies between sexes/ genders, these should be justified and clearly stated in the policy.

This is the ideal policy – it requires no increase in public spending, but can make a real difference to the lives of low income families. We should be campaigning for this in England – if our party is to be seen to represent the whole country we need to take up those issues which our overwhelmingly middle class members may find it difficult to get excited about – but which can materially improve people’s lives.

* Simon McGrath is a Councillor in the London Borough of Merton.

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46 Comments

  • Well said!
    What I also think should not need to be said is that schools’ policies on this should be justified and clearly stated.
    All policies of schools should be justified and clearly stated, should they not?

  • I agree with this very much. One of the purposes of a school uniform, apart from “identity”, should be to create a level playing field. Where there is no uniform, differences between rich and poor families swiftly becomes obvious as the pressure to wear the “latest” clothes intensifies. So, anything which can facilitate an affordable, comfortable but recognisable uniform is welcome.

  • John Marriott 16th Jul '19 - 9:19am

    Just scrap ‘em altogether.

    Of course it won’t happen , because people seem to think that what you wear is more than or at least as important as what you learn. It’s also a way of making sure that only the ‘right’ students attend your establishment, that is, those with money. Because, the argument goes, those with money can be relied on to open their wallets to make up for the short fall from central government grant. And besides, do we really want any Tom, Dick and Harry attending our wonderful Academy?

    In any case, with so many schools now being outside democratic accountability, there is precious little that can be done to make sure that they keep the costs of uniforms down. From my experience teaching in Canada and West Germany, most students, given an option, would likely turn up in jeans and T shirt, and what is wrong with that? If you help some parents with the cost of their offsprings’ school uniform, however well intentioned, you are just perpetuating the problem and pandering to the faceless unelected trusts now running what are supposed to be OUR schools!

  • John Marriott 16th Jul '19 - 9:32am

    @Richard C
    Keeping up with the Jones’, hey? From my experience, a non uniform policy might start out as a fashion parade; but, very quickly, students reach for the first thing in their wardrobe, which, in my day, was a pair of jeans and a T shirt. From my experience teaching in English schools, you can often spot the poor kid from the state of their uniform, so the ‘level playing field’ doesn’t always work.

    However, why waste time and energy agonising about school uniforms? There are far more serious threats to education, which appear to be being ignored. Let’s have a ‘Scrap’ Campaign : Scrap uniforms, Scrap Academies, Scrap SATs except for diagnostic purposes, Scrap School League Tables, Scrap the current O and A levels……. any other suggestions?

  • Peter Martin 16th Jul '19 - 10:09am

    Yes let’s get rid of school uniforms or at least make them optional. OK so they are then not, strictly speaking, a ‘uniform’ – but so what? They are an infringement of personal liberty. We all, regardless of age, should be allowed to wear, within reason, what we would like to wear and feel comfortable in.

    This should be something very much be up the Lib Dem street.

    But probably won’t be! Too many of your voters aren’t at all liberal in their attitudes to dress code.

  • Simon McGrath 16th Jul '19 - 10:19am

    The ( very strong ) case in favour of uniforms is put very well in the Welsh Govt paper :
    “a school uniform can:
    provide a sense of identity, community and cohesion within the school;
     support positive behaviour and school discipline;
     ensure pupils dress appropriately for learning activity;
     remove peer pressure to dress in particular fashions;
     enable pupils of all backgrounds to share in a common identity which embraces
    their particular requirements;
     help reduce inequalities between pupils and help reduce some triggers for
    bullying;
     benefit safeguarding and attendance policies through helping to identify truants;
     assist identification of strangers on school premises; and
     support and promote the ethos of the school.”

  • I agree with Nick. School uniform is inherently illiberal. It’s also a big problem for anyone with fabric sensitivities – people with skin allergies and autistic people, primarily – as it is almost always made of either cheap polyester to make it affordable or some horrific technical fabric to make it hard-wearing, rather than things that don’t set allergies off.

    Also:

    ” Where there is no uniform, differences between rich and poor families swiftly becomes obvious as the pressure to wear the “latest” clothes intensifies.”

    Where there IS uniform, this also happens. Every school I went to had a uniform. The fancy fee-paying private school I went to between 11 and 18 (on a scholarship) had an extremely strict uniform, ostensibly to solve this problem.

    I got picked on for having a poor person’s bag. And a poor person’s accent. And cheap glasses instead of designer ones.

    The idea that uniform solves poor kids getting picked on is a comforting fiction that uniform advocates tell themselves. What stops poor kids getting picked on is robust action on bullying, a thing that is sadly still missing in many of our schools…

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jul '19 - 12:10pm

    Call me a centrist fudging incrementalist, but I think this is as Simon says, a reasonable step forward with many positive points and different ways it appeals to different audiences.

    To boot, it is a positive usage of the centralised state to free individuals from localised excess of institutions that misuse their freedom to force elaborate conformity to unrealistic norms (ie schools that make kids wear outdate clothing to make the institution and parents feel special and elitist).

    Working from this base, if there is a consensus for it in the country, the removal of uniform longterm could be done in a more egalitarian way. Otherwise the elitist sentiments of some schools at present could leech into how non-uniform schooling happened in future.

  • Having kids at an academy, I’m for the basic uniform and dress code! But then my experience is from the state sector and not “fancy fee-paying schools”.

    At the primary school (my children attended) the uniform meant that for some very poor and/or disorganised families (yes you would be surprised what some parents – rich or poor, thought was suitable school wear) the school could (and did) provide a means for these children to blend into their classes by providing a uniform. (Yes the school was also running a breakfast club open to all, but primarily as a means to enable the children who didn’t have breakfast to have breakfast.)

    At the secondary school it avoids much of the bullying and competition that arises from time-to-time. For example, my niece, who attended a school without a uniform got bullied because she wasn’t wearing this sessions designer trainers. Funnily the school, due in part to its woolly liberal ideals not surviving contact with the real-world, was unable to do anything to resolve the bullying apart from much hand-wringing; subsequently it failed Ofsted and now has a uniform policy and is rising up the tables again.
    The consistently outstanding academy (Ofsted top 30) my children go to, the basic uniform and dress code is enforced, its a small way to introduce the concepts of discipline and some relatively harmless rules for the kids to push against.

    Funnily, I actually quite liked my blazer and even at Uni. wore a blazer/jacket because it had pockets for pens, keys, id card, money etc.

    Moving into work, it very quickly became clear: jeans and tee shirts were for those who wished to remain as “developers”, suits (aka work armour) were necessary to progress into more interesting work – plus if you were asking investors for £1+M it is helpful to look the part. As a consultant, I’ve often worn expensive suits, silk ties, cuff links etc. to further emphasis to (some) clients that they aren’t paying me to mess around under desks sorting out basic IT problems. This is just a way of saying uniform and dress codes are all around us in the world of work, we need to ensure that children learn some basics.

  • Simon McGrath 16th Jul '19 - 3:08pm

    It seems extraordinary that at a time when we have huge increasing mental health problems in schools, some liberals wish to make the problem much worse by increasing the levels of stress on young people over what they wear to school .

    Still its a great example of how many people would rather put forward interesting discussion points than do anything to help hard-pressed families.

  • Paul Barker 16th Jul '19 - 4:02pm

    If we really believed in our Constitution we would be campaigning against compulsory uniforms altogether, first because they are Compulsory & second because they are Uniform.
    At the very least if Schools are going to demand that students wear a Uniform, they should be provided Free, to all, rich or poor. Individual Schools could then decide whether they thought the expense was worthwhile.

  • John Marriott 16th Jul '19 - 4:52pm

    Come on, folks. Surely we’ve ‘done’ school uniforms by now. Is this REALLY the most important education question of the moment. What about getting stuck into some of the real education issues facing us?

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jul '19 - 5:34pm

    I’m not going to say much more here, but I think there that in a party that says ‘no-one shall be oppressed enslaved by … conformity’, there will naturally be a disagreement between those who think that that implies that some forms of conformity are OK but some are excessive (and then go on to bicker about where the cut-off is), and people who think that conformity in and of itself is oppressive/slavery.

    We’re going to have to just deal with that, not expect everyone to interpret our ideology identically.

  • jayne mansfield 16th Jul '19 - 7:18pm

    @ John Marriott,
    Here is a really important question education question at the moment. Can children concentrate when they are hungry?

    What happens to children on free school meals, or from families where the level of poverty is hidden because of social embarrassment , but nevertheless depend even more on food banks during the school holiday? Are they likely to be enriched by trips to museums, art galleries, concerts?

    One could be forgiven for thinking that the Liberal Democrats are predominantly middle class people, arguing over middle class pre-occupations , that don’t even start to address the fundamental issues that need to be addressed before one can even start to educate children and give them an equal opportunity to flourish in today’s world.

  • I agree with Jayne, I’d much rather the party concentrated on providing free school meals for all. Yes it would cost money but it would remove the stigma and simplify the bureaucracy.

  • @ Jayne Mansfield Great post, Jayne. Agree with every word. Stats at my local foodbank confirm that 35% of the food distributed goes to children – and we expect a spike with the school holidays. Free school meals only deal with part of the problem.

    All this, of course, is in the UN Alston Report on poverty in the UK – to which the Lib Dems are the only political party not to mention it or make any comment on it. Not a peep from anyone – not from our Commons DWP Spokesperson Ms Jardine M.P. or from Sir Edward Davey or Ms Swinson CBE.

    I notice on the Marr show, Ed Davey made the comment that ‘the welfare cuts hurt us’ – in a party politica sense. I can tell Sir Edward that it hurt those in poverty and trying to get by on Universal Credit a great deal more.

  • John Marriott 16th Jul '19 - 8:13pm

    @jayne mansfield @frankie
    I agree entirely. Many schools now operate Breakfast Clubs for that reason. Mind you, it’s pretty sad when some parents can’t provide their offspring with a square meal. Not all of this is down to poverty, although most of it probably is.

  • I’m pleased to see proposals that will help to keep costs of school uniforms low, but having flexibility may be a double-edged sword. It means some parents can shop at the cheaper shops, but if it’s possible to have a visibly different and discernibly much more expensive option, then it could introduce the sort of problem that uniforms are, in part, supposed to prevent.

    And I too am joining the chorus of please, please, please keep school uniforms for the take of children from poorer families, and also those who find the thought of worrying about fashion a source of great anxiety. I know several schools near me have stopped doing dress down days because they noticed that attendance dipped, with children from poorer families being too scared to turn up in their normal clothes. I’m aware that some schools have stopped having kids dress up for World Book Day unless they can find a way to have them make costumes in school.

  • @jayne Mansfield

    Cheaper school uniforms does address some of the issues in that poorer parents have more money to spend on essentials and it is not unreasonable to discuss the issue under discussion in the original article!!!

    We also in the coalition implemented free school meals for all infants regardless of income. I appreciate the argument that it doesn’t directly help poorer pupils who theoretically get free meals. But many have spoken about the stigma of getting a free school meal or getting a worse meal and some don’t claim because of the stigma. It also says that we are one society if everyone sits down together in the same way. And we should extend to all in secondary education – primary certainly. in addition there is quite a lot of poverty just above the FSM level who are often worse off than those just below it because they don’t get such benefits.

    On uniforms surely as a party against “conformity” we should be against them. The best thing I believe is guidelines a school I went to had a reasonably loose guidelines – no jeans etc. And I thought that worked well. And I’d have no trainers. And this would save money as kids don’t want to wear an uniform outside school so parents are forced to buy two sets of clothes.

    On universal credit @david raw as I have told you before and as the IFS report from 2014 you referenced recently made clear there was (virtually) no implementation of UC under the coalition. People in a few areas could go on to it a voluntary basis if it made them better off. It wasn’t until the 2015 Tory government that Osborne cut £5 billion from it which we opposed and made a pig’s ear of implementation.

  • @ Michael 1 As someone who had to deal with outcomes in the first area in Scotland to implement UC, I suggest you stop using the IFS Report as a fig leaf, Michael. It’s not just the money but whole system that creaks …. as well as the punitive sanctions regime and the five week wait.

    Research by my local CAB showed people were worse off…. so don’t tempt me to paraphrase the party’s Brexit slogan to you.

  • Michael Sammon 16th Jul '19 - 11:18pm

    Yes this sounds good. I am pro school uniforms as well by the way. I used to dread non uniform days as a child as I never had fashionable clothes.

  • @david raw

    It’s the truth that UC was not implemented (or virtually not at all) under the coalition and indeed most of those that went on UC were better off. Whether or not implementation would have been better in a post-2015 government of which the lib Dems were a part is hypothetical. We do know that it would have had £5 billion more in it.

    Actually Philip Alston praised the *principle* of UC.

    That the benefits system needs improvement is something we agree on. The issue of how the type of housing you are in affects you is one such.

    The Rowntree report highlighted that there was a spike in sanctions after 2015 – again after we were out of government. But if you dislike the sanctions system then you have to criticise all the three parties.

  • @Michael Sammon: If every day were “non-uniform day” you would find that not many pupils would care to wear “fashionable” clothes to school.

  • @ Michael 1 “It’s the truth that UC was not implemented (or virtually not at all) under the coalition and indeed most of those that went on UC were better off”.

    Yes, the Osborne cuts made it even worse but it was flawed in design and implementation…… and it takes a remarkable feat of mental gymnastics to say…. “not implemented (or virtually not at all)”…… Either it was or it wasn’t, and you seem determined to say, “Not me, Sir. It wos a big boy wot dunnit”……

    It goes without saying the parliamentary Lib Dems were wizards of competence scrutinising the legislation they voted for believing it must be wonderful because it was drafted by Iain Duncan Smith. It’s pure coincidence the food bank I chair opened in 2013 (in response to a whole raft of different measures introduced by the Coalition Government).

    The sooner Lib Dems shake off the mantra of my party right or wrong, they might begin to recover a more permanent basis of support and trust post whatever happens with Brexit. Lessons should be learned and there’s a need to see a bit of competence.

  • The concept of a simplified benefit system is appeapling, until you realise the aim isn’t to simplify it, it is to gut it and make the poor poorer and more desperate. That is what univeral credit is, it didn’t have to be that way, but that is what it became.

  • @David Raw

    The fact is as you know Philip Alston actually praises UC, He does though want it to be more generous.

    It is just a fact that the number on UC by the end of the coalition was a few thousand P& most of those on a voluntary basis as it made them better off.

    I think if we’d been in coalition after 15 we’d have acted quickly to address the two biggest criticisms – the wait & online only applications etc. As you point out we’d have been more generous as we wouldn’t have agreed to Osborne’s cuts – indeed even IDS couldn’t stomach them!

    I don’t as you know believe in my party right or wrong as I have made clear in criticism of the coalition etc. on LDV countless times.

    Indeed I have called on LDV for the abolition of UC and it’s replacement by UC 2.0. i have called for local income tax that will boost JSA by about 5% (as unemployed people have to pay about that in council tax) & the incomes of those on min. wage by £1k as they lose most of their council tax benefit. I’ve called for equality among people with different types of housing tenure. As those in the private sector pay higher rents and when they get work they lose most of their housing benefit. Effectively meaning that many are only £1 an hour better off in work i.e. worse off after work costs. We need to address the housing situation more generally & I’m not convinced that while it has o be done that as now pouring £20 billion into the pockets of richer private landlords is the answer. I’ve called for benefits to be made more generous generally. A reminder that we opposed a Tory tax cut for the highest paid so just that could be done – while Labour supported it.

    I do believe in examining what actually happened. I have said many times on LDV that we should draw the line more clearly under the coalition – a failure in my opinion of the current leadership election. But we should also point out that labour left us no money.

    So let’s criticise the coalition, point out the financial situation at the time, examine what the facts of the coalition actually are and come up with new solutions. I’m sorry but with respect and as I said I do genuinely welcome you raising your experience and the issues of poverty here, withering on about the inadequacies of the coalition – nice though it may be to do – only addresses one of those tasks.

  • Katharine Pindar 17th Jul '19 - 1:29pm

    @ Michael 1. To state that the UN Rapporteur Philip Alston “actually praises Universal Credit” is to give a quite misleading impression. The Alston Statement states:
    “Although in its initial conception it represented a potentially major improvement in the system, it is fast falling into Universal Discredit. Social support should be a route out of poverty, and Universal Credit should be a key part of that process. Consolidating six different benefits into one makes good sense in principle. But many aspects of the design and rollout of the programme have suggested that the Department for Work and Pensions is more concerned with making economic savings and sending messages about lifestyles than responding to the multiple needs of those living with a disability, job loss, housing insecurity, illness, and the demands of parenting. While some surveys suggest certain claimants do have positive experiences with Universal Credit, an increasing body of research makes clear that there are far too many instances in which Universal Credit is being implemented in ways that negatively impact many claimants’ mental health, finances, and work prospects.” Q.E.D.

  • @ Michael 1 I’m not sure what withering on means though I am trying to lose a bit of weight. More seriously it’s not just the Coalition I’m concerned about, it’s now.

    To the best of my knowledge no Liberal Democrat MP has mentioned or commented on the Alston Report…… not the current leader, the two leadership contenders or, most appropriate of all, our Commons DWP spokesperson. As far as I know Universal Credit and poverty levels aren’t an issue on the moon although we’ve had a comment about that today.

    You do make some interesting suggestions – but I wonder, have you had any response about them from any of the above ?

    You give me, “A reminder that we opposed a Tory tax cut for the highest paid”. Have you forgotten that in 2013-14 the 50p rate was reduced to 45p with Lib Dem support shortly after VAT had been raised and the austerity cuts imposed ?

  • @ Katharine Quite right, Katharine. A distortion of what Prof Phil said.

    It seems that Boris Johnson isn’t the only one to “sandpaper the truth”.

  • John Marriott 17th Jul '19 - 6:52pm

    Rolling six benefits into one makes sense, so why wasn’t it handled more effectively? Well, I suppose we can blame the ‘Quiet Man’, and I don’t mean John Wayne*. It was IDS, who tried to drive this through and then departed the scene when the going got tough. That’s the same guy, who was one of John Major’s ‘Maastricht bastards’, who now wants us to leave the EU and rely on people like him to see us right.

    * “The Quiet Man” was a rollicking1951 John Ford film starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara about a prize fighter returning to his Irish roots. Worth a viewing on YouTube.

  • @katharine Pindar

    Thanks for your comment. My second comment lacked clarity as I was up against the word limit! For which I apologise. As I wrote in my first comment and obv. should have written in my second for clarity Alston as your quote shows praises the *principle* of UC.

    I share with Alston as I made clear in my comments criticism on implementation and generosity but as I said these were issues essentially *after* the coalition.

    It is worth looking at the recent IFS report on poverty which says there is a lot of good news in the figures on poverty over roughly the past 30, years. From memory incomes for the lowest earners have increased 10% in real terms but for middle earners some 50%. There would be technically a lot less (relative) poverty if middle earners incomes had only gone up 10% but arguably the poorest would actually be no better off. In general the “middle class” of higher earners has got bigger and the “working class” of lower earners has got smaller. In addition ONS statistics show *persistent* poverty in the UK is one of the lowest in Europe.

    @David Raw

    The 50p highest rate of tax was – wait for it – effective for one whole month of Labour’s 13 years coming in in April 2015 and before thar it was 40%. That is for some 155 months under Labour it was 40%, 1 month it was 50%!!!

    Thanks for saying that I have some interesting proposals. I understand from LDV that there is currently a policy working party on benefits etc. which has had a consultation phase and I’m sure that the lib dem parliamentary DWP team fed into that. And that’s how our how our democratic party policy process works

    I share some of your frustration on what our spokespeople seem to comment on but it has to be something of a guerilla operation and things like the “pink tax” actually have got some coverage whereas sadly spouting off on policy probably won’t!

    As it happens Norman Lamb and Jamie Stone have supported Parliamentary Early Day Motion 1941 Universal Credit Rollout (it’s critical of the government and calls for halting the rollout until problems are fixed etc.) And I guess there are other such examples.

  • Katharine Pindar 18th Jul '19 - 9:33am

    Michael 1. I am astonished that you again seem to want to make light of the problem of poverty in this country, this time by referring to ‘good news’ over 30 years. I am concerned with the problem of today. I am concerned that my party recognises and fully commits to dealing with it urgently.

    This is the problem. “One-fifth of the UK’s population, 14 million people, live in poverty today. Four million of those are more than 50 per cent below the poverty line and 1.5 million experienced destitution in 2017, unable to afford basic essentials. Following drastic changes in government economic policy beginning in 2010, the two preceding decades of progress in tackling child and pensioner poverty have begun to unravel and poverty is again on the rise. Relative child poverty rates are expected to increase by 7 per cent between 2015 and 2021 and overall child poverty rates to reach close to 40 per cent. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain would not just be a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster rolled into one.”

    That is a quotation from the Overview of the Report of the UN Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, delivered to our Government in May this year. It followed his similarly devastating Statement following his eleven-day visit to the UK last November. Both documents have extensive notes of the research that backs up his findings. The May Report ends with twelve Recommendations for action, which include some which are our party’s policies already.

    The situation revealed by Philip Alston, which backs up many findings by British concerned charities and think tanks, obviously requires urgent and continuing action from the UK Government to remedy it. The fact that our party participated in the government of 2010-15 is even more reason why Liberal Democrats should be shouting these facts from the rooftops and demanding action immediately from whatever government we have in the next few months. Our new leader should make this the first priority after that of stopping Brexit, to use the influence we have and Demand Better on stopping the rise in poverty and helping the most deprived people of our country.

  • I wouldn’t be too astonished, Katharine. It’s like watching Geoffrey Boycott bat only less exciting. No doubt when he’s bowled out he’ll claim it was a no ball.

  • Michael 1 17th Jul ’19 – 9:55pm………….The 50p highest rate of tax was – wait for it – effective for one whole month of Labour’s 13 years coming in in April 2015 and before thar it was 40%. That is for some 155 months under Labour it was 40%, 1 month it was 50%!!!to people ‘deferring’ income from one tax year to another in order to benefit from the lower tax rate…………….

    The 50% tax rate on earnings over £150,000 (poor folks) was introduced in 2010 not 2015…
    It was designed to increase government revenue but, as you regularly point out elsewhere “there was no money”, so why did the coalition need to reduce it to 45%; had the money tree been found?
    The idea that anyone, constructively avoiding a 50% rate, would happily pay a 45% rate is just silly as is the idea that more tax income was generated under the 45%. What happened is that many of those affected deferred their (2012/13 income to take advantage of the new lower rate in 2013/14 ,

    I’d like to say that I’m surprised that such Tory propaganda is so uncritically accepted by some in this party; but I’m not!

  • @katharine Pindar

    I was not making light of poverty. Indeed I have consistently said that I support more generous benefits etc.

    I *was* quoting Paul Johnson and the IFS. https://mobile.twitter.com/PJTheEconomist/status/1143143967887941632

    In addition the UK is the eightth lowest in Europe for persistent poverty https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personalandhouseholdfinances/incomeandwealth/articles/persistentpovertyintheukandeu/2017

    @expats

    Obv. 2015 was a typo for 2010. The IFS wrote in 2012 at the time of a parliamentary debate: “the
    best available estimate of what reversing the cut [back to 50p from 45p,] would raise is therefore about £100 million” – on a government budget of some £800,000 million.

    Significantly the Labour manifesto in 2015 did not propose raising it back to 50p

    There were also a number of other measures that affected the higher paid – £2 billion in child benefit cut for those earning over about £50k, higher stamp duty etc. But personally I would have kept the 50p rate and looked to do more on the higher paid.

  • Peter Watson 19th Jul '19 - 8:21am

    @Michael 1 “Significantly the Labour manifesto in 2015 did not propose raising it back to 50p”
    Yes it did: “Labour will … reverse the 50p tax cut so that the top one per cent pay a
    little more to help get the deficit down”

  • ………………Coalition’s voluntary salt limits have been ‘public health disaster’,,,,
    Switch in 2011 led to thousands of cases of heart disease, stroke and cancer, say researchers….There could be 26,000 extra cases of cardiovascular disease and 5,500 extra deaths by 2025 if industry’s voluntary deal on salt content remains unchanged……

    Still let’s bang on about school un iforms, “You know it makes sense!”

  • @ expats Here’s the link. It’s what happens when you cosy up to a party which is hand in glove with big business.

    “Coalition’s voluntary salt limits have been ‘public … – The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/…/coalitions-voluntary-salt-limits-have-been-public-health … 6 hours ago – Coalition’s voluntary salt limits have been ‘public health disaster’ Nearly 10,000 cases of heart disease and stroke and 1,500 cases of cancer could have been avoided in England if the coalition government had not switched to a voluntary deal with the food industry to cut salt in food, say researchers.”

    For five years the Liberal Democrats were supposed to be on sentry duty to prevent such appalling happenings. Were all fifty seven of them asleep on duty ?

  • Alex Macfie 19th Jul '19 - 2:11pm

    expats, David Raw: We are not in coalition anymore, and would under no circumstances go into coalition with a Tory party led by either of its potential new leaders. Just change the record, the needle’s stuck

  • David Raw 19th Jul ’19 – 12:39pm……………@ expats Here’s the link. It’s what happens when you cosy up to a party which is hand in glove with big business…………For five years the Liberal Democrats were supposed to be on sentry duty to prevent such appalling happenings. Were all fifty seven of them asleep on duty ?……..

    I doubt that they were all asleep; but those who mattered were, certainly, dozing in the back of their ministerial limos.

  • I doubt that they were all asleep; but those who mattered were, certainly, dozing in the back of their ministerial limos.

    Not sure if ministerial limos were a necessary prerequisite, I see the LibDem MPs (and party) have been looking the other way and are missing an opportunity to improve democracy in the UK by leveraging the current Parliamentary concern and putting forward a motion to get the monarch to sign away their power of prorogation. With Brexiteers banging on about the “sovereignty of Parliament”, can’t see anyone (elected to Parliament) objecting, plus I doubt the Queen sees any great benefit in the power…
    Suspect part of the problem is that such change is step-by-step and not “transformational”.

  • A lot of people seem to be against school uniforms. I wonder if they are also against compulsory education in the first place. That is, after all, a much greater infringement of liberty.

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  • User AvatarInnocent Bystander 9th Dec - 9:49am
    @frankie, Keep it coming. I think Churchill defined a fanatic as someone who won't change his mind and won't change the subject. I have no...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 9th Dec - 9:39am
    Peter Hirst: The Liberal Democrats and Greens would both benefit from PR and so would Plaid Cymru. The SNP would not at the moment but...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 9th Dec - 9:29am
    @Peter Martin and @Joseph Bourke Why don't the two of you take your discussion/argument/whatever to email?
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 9th Dec - 9:15am
    @frankie Your loyalty to the cause is exemplary. However, Brexit is a bit like Trump. No matter what you say or how badly it might...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 9th Dec - 8:58am
    As far as the USSR was concerned, they were in reality the European country which suffered most from the war. The occupation by Germany of...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 9th Dec - 8:56am
    I don't think Brexit voters and LibDem voters are necessarily mutual exclusive. At the end of the twentieth century we picked up quite a few...
Tue 10th Dec 2019