In (qualified) praise of Frank Field

The news that Frank Field, long-serving Labour MP for Birkenhead, has resigned the Labour whip, has generated a deluge of comment, including the predictable attacks from the Corbynist left. Field’s resignation letter cites antisemitism and a culture of intolerance and bullying as the reasons for his departure – in which he is far from alone; […]

The ESA assessor who told a paranoid schizophrenic to join a golf club: a morality tale for modern Britain

The issue of how the Department of Work and Pensions administers its assessments for ESA and PIP has been in the news recently, following a damning report by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee published in February 2018.  The Committee sought to set out the stories of some of those who had undergone […]

Deconstructing Rachel Reeves: how to reframe the social security debate

It didn’t last long. The cheering had barely died down after Liam Byrne’s removal as Labour DWP spokesman when along comes his successor, Rachel Reeves, apparently using much of the same rhetoric.  It wasn’t that she didn’t have important points to make – about the fact that Tory austerity has contributed massively to the overall […]

Damian McBride: my part in his downfall – and a lesson in political ethics

The spectre stalking this year’s Labour Party conference was Damian McBride, forced to resign as Gordon Brown’s media adviser after it became clear that he had sought to set up a website to smear political opponents.  McBride became a symbol for a certain type of aggressive, macho and ruthless politics that came to be associated […]

Tea Party at the DWP: why the Coalition is desperate to redefine child poverty

The DWP has recently consulted on changing the way in which child poverty is defined, seeking – quite consciously – to broaden the definition away from that of relative poverty.  It’s a move that has attracted controversy among those working in the field, who argue that it is right to consider factors other than income […]

Warsi, the Conservative Party and the religious right

Baroness Warsi, Conservative party chairman, is warning that what she calls militant secularisation is taking hold of societies, and argues that Christian values need to be placed at the heart of society.  In doing so, she is following a growing trend in the politics of the British right; it’s implicit in Cameron’s comments about “soft […]