It [the sanctions regime] is a secret penal system because the decisions [to stop benefit payments] are made in secret, by officials; the claimant is not present; they are not legally represented; the punishment is applied before there is any hearing; if they get a hearing it is only long after the punishment has been applied. The scale of penalties is greater than the scale of penalties that are available to the magistrates courts… You are talking unmistakably about a penal system which has a set of characteristics which I would suggest are totally unacceptable in a democratic society.
The Liberal Democrats seem to think there are some sort of moderating government party, whose job it is to form coalitions and keep the majority partner on the straight and narrow.
Except that thanks to their complicity with the Tories since 2010 they have worsened inequality, eroded civil liberties and made the poor poorer while letting their rich mates get away with less than their fair share.
Because of this, support for the Liberal Democrats has plummeted and they ate likely to lose many seats in 2015. They are far less likely to be in a position to form a coalition government. And we’ll all be better off without this spineless bunch in positions of power.
Image: Institute of Physics
Whilst discussing his vision for local TV during a House of Commons debate on the future of local media [& video], Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey mentioned The Lichfield Blog and it’s efforts in the local media landscape.
…the hon. Gentleman is right to say that we must not lose sight of the fact that there are hundreds of different initiatives that are involved in the delivery of local news.
The last time I mentioned the subject in Parliament, I was e-mailed by the local news bloggers in Lichfield, who met in the pub and now provide an ultra-local news service.
I’m taking that as another sign that we’re doing something good, to be referenced by a Government Minister during a debate on the future of local media.
Encouragingly, Vaizey followed up straight away saying,
Of course, there will be elements of public money available for that kind of research and experimentation.
I’m encouraged by that. Although the coalition has ditched the IFNCs which, according to IFNC-judging panel member Will Perrin, featured a good hyperlocal element, this may mean that the Government might be considering something similar that will be focused on smaller communities than the IFNC regions.
Watch this space!