Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Welfare Reform Bill - real Lib Dem #fightback

Well, they've gone and done it again It's rather depressing that I feel so unsurprised by the fact that, once again, by a margin of 65 to 2, our peers have decided to back yet another government proposal which will take support away from deserving sick and disabled people who can't survive without it. Apparently 500,000 vulnerable people losing support wasn't enough for them to bother to defy the whip. Of course, this might be partly related to the fact that so fucking few of them even bothered to turn up to the debate and listen to the arguments about the amendments they were actually fucking voting on.

As you can probably tell, I'm very angry. The only thing stopping me from going utterly berserk is that at least Lord Freud has been forced to agree to have a slow introduction of the replacement for DLA in order to make sure that any problems can be fixed before they cause too much hardship. Of course that's assuming Lord Freud and the DWP a) keep their word and b) do the job properly. And based on previous performance that's about as likely as me joining the tories.

But despite that the behaviour of our peers was far from good enough.

From tomorrow, I'm going to be getting together with  ther grassroots Lib Dems and organising a fight back. We will force our parliamentarians to listen to the democratic will of the party or I'll do my utmost to make sure that we kick up such a media storm that it'll make them long for the days of merger and having the party leader on trial for murder!

The Lib Dem peers might have forgotten their principles, souls and spines but I and others haven't. Stay tuned for more in the coming days and weeks.


  1. Keep us posted.
    I think most Lib Dems I know (including conference reps) will get behind you on this. Just let us know what we need to do.

    1. george you are a wonderful man, keep fighting for what is right. spartacus loves you!!!

    2. I definitely will. I think now has got to be the time we draw a line in the sand - if we don't feel able to draw one here then we might as well pack up and go home.

  2. I seem to remember you getting very cross when I doubted your faith in Lib Dem peers stopping the worst aspects of welfare reform etc. In fact you refused to publish my last comment which is the behaviour of a stroppy teen. I'm now back to saying 'I told you so'.

    At the time you said -

    "There's no point in staying in a campaign organisation that ignores the views of its members and focuses on what would appear to be the ideological aims of the people running it rather than what's important."

    I'm sure you will claim that the Lib Dems are more than a campaigning organisation and of course they aren't simply focusing on their own ideological aims (they are of course instead supporting the Tories ideological aims)I have to suggest that to be consistent you should now be leaving the party. Quite simply your conference resolutions have been ignored by your peers and, as most of the votes were whipped it is clear that the party leadership has ignored them too.

    The Lib Dems have betrayed everything they have ever claimed to stand for and are now just Londis Tories. As a result they will disappear forever at the next election unless they abandon the coalition and grow some.

    1. Andy, the only reasons I refust to publish a comment is when it breaches my comment policy - e.g. mindless, incoherent ranting by people without the courage to sign their name and libellous remarks are pretty much the only things that are off limits. Some comments do, from time to time, accidentally get caught in the spam filter. That's why I check the filter regularly and, if I am not mistaken, your comment getting caught in the filter is what happened in the incident you referred to. If you look back at the original thread I'm pretty sure you will find your comment is up there.

      I did indeed get a bit forceful when you made negative sniping - I prefer to wait to see what people actually do before I write them off.

      You're right that the Lib Dems are more than a campaigning organisation - they're a political party. One which is made up of somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 people. From what I can tell, the vast majority of them share and hold true to the same values and principles I do and many of them practice those principles in elected office as well.

      I'm not going to defend the indefensible over the Welfare Reform Bill and for me this is a red line issue which is why I believe it is time for a grassroots fightback. But unlike you, I am not so blinkered as to view everything the party does as anathema just because we're in coalition with a party I dislike. The fact is that we have achieved some very good things in government which I'm proud of. The only challenge for me is to make sure that the Welfare Reform Bill is fixed and that this is the last time our parliamentarians betray us.

      And finally:

      "I'm now back to saying 'I told you so'."

      And you're the one saying that I behave like a stroppy teen?

  3. @Andy Platt - clearly you don't understand where Lib Dem support comes from, if you think the party will "disappear forever". If you think we're all just hard-left Labour party wannabes then you are very mistaken. They haven't "betrayed" anything or anyone - they've achieved limited success in a Coalition government, in a Parliament where they have 8% of MPs. Get a grip.

    @George Potter - On the substance of what was voted on, there was little to object to in the Bill itself on DLA/PIP. The cause for concern is what will be decided through regulations at a later date. Thanks to pressure from Lib Dems, these will at least be affirmative regulations (which means they must be debated and voted on by committees in both HOC and HOL, unlike negative regulations which are just nodded through).

    1. 'Thanks to pressure from Lib Dems...'

      You're kidding, right?

    2. I agree with Anonymous. Some changes regards DLA/PIP were made but this was thanks to the government wanting to avoid another defeat on the WRB by placating the crossbenchers.

    3. You may have missed that it was Baroness Thomas who put down the amendment to change the qualifying period for PIP from 6/6 to 3/9. She was personally credited by Lord Mckenzie, the Labour spokesman, for achieving the change which was accepted by the Government without a vote. And Baroness Thomas is.... Yes, that's right, a Liberal Democrat peer. That's just one example.

      Why should the Government care about crossbenchers? It can get anything it wants through if the Commons stiffen their resolve, especially where money is involved (the Commons can claim financial privilege over the ESA amendment because it costs so much, thereby denying the Lords any further say on it). It's the Lib Dem MPs they are trying to soften things for, to ensure ping pong is a smooth ride. So yes, it is Lib Dem pressure which is leading to changes.

      I'm not trying to claim that everything good is done by our peers, but at least give some credit where it's due and stop blurting out abuse indiscriminately.

    4. I'm fully aware of that Ben. But one or two minor changes does not excuse failing on the major changes. I'm not condemning or writing off our lords on masse - in fact, I very much want to speak to them to try and find out why they voted the way they did.

  4. Good Work George.

    Re Andy Platt,"behaviour of a stroppy teen."

    I do not think so.George is a Man with principles.Who is not afraid to have a go at his own party leadership if he has to.He has won the respect of a lot of the Disabled Community for his tireless,unpaid work on their behalf.
    He is not a Parliamentarian,but does his best to get the grass roots of his movement to have a go at the leadership.

    What do you do Andy Platt.Knock someone who can and will achieve more than you ever will with your sarcastic rambling.

    And no I am not a LibDem.I find it hard to vote for any Neo Liberal party.But George is one of them special people that actually cares.

    Peter Benson.


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.