The Liberal Democrat influence on government… in David Cameron’s own words

From David Cameron’s Radio 2 appearance this week:

If I was running a Conservative-only government I think we would be making further steps on things like immigration control or making sure that our welfare reforms were absolutely making sure that if you’re not prepared to work you can’t go on welfare.

That’s a very broad hint as to the extent of Liberal Democrat success in altering what he would like to do to the immigration and welfare systems.

Hat-tip: Politics Home.

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10 Comments

  • What of Ken Clarke and the Justice reforms?

    You guys love him and his ideas, yet have remained silent on a massive government u-turn in this area.

    And immigration is still going to be a disaster for many sectors, especially HE. The Coalition are cutting non-eu student numbers, who pay high fees, as well as cutting university funding. Institutions will be going bust, research will become more difficult as foreign researchers can’t get visas, the international reputation of the UK for education will suffer as it blocks those who were educated in Britain but are from elsewhere.

    And of course welfare reforms, where funding is taken from those who need the most support and replaced with nothing but demands they they get a job, despite in many cases there being no jobs.

    I’m not sure at all that it is prudent for Lib Dems to let Cameron imply that these are their fault.

  • SensibleJustice 22nd Jun '11 - 12:53pm

    I’m shocked that the Lib Dems have allowed Ken Clarke to be so woefully used. This country has been crying out for criminal justice reform for years and there was a real chance of formulating a progressive penal policy that works rather than a junkie-like dependency on an ever increasing prison population. Shame on you all. The only department that was talking sense. Clarke should resign and have the freedom to openly criticise Cameron and his pathetic cowardice in the face of tabloid squeals.

  • This is just Cameron blaming the Lib Dems for things he wouldn’t be able to accomplish anyway. People already face losing their benefits if they are not prepared to take a job and have done for decades. There is very little more he could actually do. The idea that there are large numbers of people too idle to work and claiming welfare is just a myth fostered by the right wing press. They will continue fostering it as long as there is anyone in the country who is sick, disabled or unemployed. Likewise, with immigration, his hands are largely tied by the EU and by the demands of business. So, appealing as the idea is that the Lib Dems are somehow restraining the Tory beast it is of course a complete nonsense. Reality is constraining Cameron, the Lib Dems are just the fall guys.

  • @Andrew Tennant

    I didn’t say anything about shorter sentences, but was it lib dem policy to cut legal aid, introduce mandatory life sentences and increase the prison population?

    And your cant on welfare is just depressing, cuts for the disabled, cuts for carers, cuts for lone parents. It is the most vulnerable who are suffering the most, and there doesn’t seem to be any strategy to deal with this.

  • As Clegg has said shorter sentences were never a Lib Dem proposal. The lib Dem proposals were about sentencing and whether prison is always the best solution for minor offences.

  • This sounds like a comment more for the benefit of the Tory right more than anyone else.

  • AndrewR
    Cameron’s idea of welfare reform is called workfare i.e. no payments are made to the unemployed at all
    unless they do somekind of voluntary work.The Big Society and all that.

  • Cameron has a clear political interest in making this statement: a) it shores up Clegg and b) it tells Tories that the reason he is insufficiently right-wing for them is because of the Lib Dems.

    Therefore I feel it is unwise to take this point at face value from Cameron.

  • @Andrew Tennant:
    The welfare changes increase the proportion affected by an expectation they look for work to receive benefits, not make their continued benefits dependent on them getting one.

    You are wrong. Workfare will mean jobseekers who fail to find a job will not receive any benefits if they refuse this.

    There are already many very genuinely sick/disabled people who are being found “fit for work”. They are being put on JSA. Soon they will be forced to work (for less than min. wage) for their benefit. I am fine with this for the able-bodied, but I know of one man who has less than a year to live who has lost his ESA as ATOS/DWP don’t think he’s disabled enough. He can barely get out of bed in the morning, dress or feed himself, but because he can push himself a certain distance in his wheelchair he is now “able” and “fit for work.” He is waiting for his appeal, which probably won’t be heard for at least a year due to such a backlog. He’ll probably die before then.

    On other benefit changes, some sick/disabled people will have their ESA removed after one year. So if you’re ill and not recovered after a year then tough.

    A whole host of major problems in the benefits reforms will soon become evident as I see it every day here at work. The government will probably end up having to pick up the pieces from their own ill-thought out “reforms” which may cost more money to fix than the cost estimated to be saved.

    Such a shame the LDs haven’t been paying much attention to this area.

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