Equality is important Alan Johnson!

There was an Opposition day debate yesterday on ‘crime and policing’ – an opportunity for Labour to lay out their angst about the Coalition plans for policing.

But that is not the focus of the first part of this post.

During the opening speech from Alan Johnson, former Labour Home Secretary, he said this:

”The Home Secretary (Theresa May) has been careful to have only one LibDem in her team, and she is a very good Minister (me), but the Government have not allowed her anywhere near the important stuff in the Home Office.’

 (I was on the bench with Theresa May and the other Home Office ministers for the debate).

So – Alan Johnson is saying that ‘equalities’ is not important. Now Alan Johnson is a decent man and I have no doubt if you asked him he would say he was completely committed to equality etc. So the point of this post is not to have a go at Mr Johnson but to demonstrate how deeply embedded  is the attitude that ‘equalities’ is somehow not important.

It is very very important. And I am sure – or at least I hope – that Alan Johnson believes that too – but what a very long way we still have to go to a point in time when a throw away remark does not reveal such a disappointing reality. Prejudice is still alive and well and living all over the place .

On the substance of the debate – Labour (unsurprisingly) attacked the coalition plans for policing reform and we defended them: directly elected individual police commissioners elected locally to hold local police to account; the ending of the retention of the DNA of innocent people on the DNA database; the re-organisation of the policing landscape with the ending of SOCA (Serious Organised Crime), the proposal to bring i regulations to control the use of CCTV cameras properly and the setting up of a new National Crime Agency.

 There was also a great deal of argee bargee as to how the comprehensive spending review (the cuts) would (or would not) hit front line policing. Obviously Labour said they would and we said that front-line policing would be as protected as possible and that as currently only 11% of police were actually on visible duties – we would be cutting the bureaucracy enabling more time on the street.

The actuality of the spending review will be announced on 20 October – we will undoubtedly be in a better informed position to have the debate then.

0 thoughts on “Equality is important Alan Johnson!

  1. He clearly said “the important stuff *in the Home Office*”, because the important stuff you do (ie equalities) is in the GEO.

  2. How can you say this when Alan Johnson and his New Labour cohorts did just about everything they could to further the global elite’s (and therefore the LibLabCon’s) agenda of “equality”.

  3. People seem unable to understand the context of this blog because an aversion to equality is so embedded in society.

  4. Mr Morgan,

    I’m a first timer here (I think).

    How do you mean “an aversion to equality?”

    I have an aversion to being compelled to believe or behave in ways which are contrary to my wishes and war against my conscience.

    One of the problems is that “equality” and fairness are sometimes complete opposites.

  5. Is this supposed to be the ‘fog’ to cloud today’s announcement of another £4bn of welfare cuts?
    Surely this is the issue that we SHOULD be discussing, but is this just a little TOO political for you Lynne?

  6. Since everything I see the coalition doing at the moment is more likely to decrease equality, and confound the important ground gained under Labour, you really are on very very shaky ground here Lynne. Very cheap and weak shot – and a complete misfire. How long will it be till we see the Equalities Act being undermined?

  7. Hi Lynne

    Perhaps Alan Johnson made his remark because you seem to stay as far away from the important equalities issues as you possibly can.

    The forthcoming spending cuts will be hitting women, the sick, the disabled, the aged, minorities, etc the worst yet you’ve not said a word.

    Equalities is more than about perceived sleights, it’s about what you do, what you’re doing and this government, thus far, is riding roughshod over any concept of equality.

    Many of the major charities can’t believe how you’re attacking the worst off including Macmillan (the cancer charity), MS Trust, Age UK and many more. Are they wrong?

    With George Osborne attacking those on benefits again last night, it’s very difficult not to be contemptuous of your blog.

    Face it, you are part of a very unfair and very cruel government. It may be difficult for you to see from your ivory tower but trust me you are embarking on a program that will take us back almost 100 years. Forget about equality, you’re killing it.

  8. Lynne

    Apart from this pathetic whinge only 1 out of your last 10 posts has had an equalities angle. So just grow up.

  9. It’s amazing that a former Labour Home Secretary should say that the post of Equalities Minister in unimportant. But then Labour did invade Iraq and worsen the status of women there. As for equality of race, religion and ethnicity and for disabled person and homosexuals, perhaps if he visited Auschwitz (as I did recently) he would realise how vitally (literally) important fighting for equality in those fields is.

  10. It would be amazing if he had actually said it but of course he did not. Wouldn’t want the actual facts to get in the way of a rant though

  11. Lynne, developments over the last few days just show how out of touch you are with the the concept of equality.

    Do you think cancer sufferers, MS sufferers and sufferers of many other debalitating conditions are making a ‘lifestyle choice’. You should be ashamed of yourself being part of this government – at least some of your backbench colleagues have had a bit of courage and criticised these remarks made by someone who has and will never have to worry about money.

    But you, Clegg and the rest of your frontbench colleagues only care about the coalition jeering it along all the way. Have you said anything to Osborne?

    Did you send him a jokey e-mail chastising him or did you give him a quick call and have a laugh about it?

    I thought you were a decent person but you’re obviously only out for yourself and your party.

    Consequently, do you ever to talk about the £100bn tax gap in this country at government level (£70bn evasion/£30bn avoidance) (I see St Vince has stopped mentioned it)? No didn’t think so, you wouldn’t want to rock the boats of potential donors.

  12. A dismal post based on a comment from someone you do not doubt is committed to equality – he clearly wasn’t saying equality is unimportant, so was it really worth writing, other than to give you the opportunity to show he called you a ‘good Minister’?

    Perhaps you could blog on the fact that the Government still hasn’t responded to the Fawcett Society Judicial Review of the budget and the so-called ‘fairness’ of a budget where women are meeting three-quarters of the £8bn cuts? You could explain how this promotes equality, perhaps.

    I would also very much hope you are having the debate NOW about the Spending Review, not after it is published. Or maybe you haven’t been let near the important stuff.

  13. The people who are making “cancer sufferers, MS sufferers and sufferers of many other debilitating conditions” suffer yet more are those like Bob who for their own political ends are spreading the false message that they are being targeted for cuts. Shame on you Bob. You must know something of the unnecessary suffering you and others like you are causing. The people who need to be targeted in benefit reforms are those who do not take work that is available, but choose not to rely on the taxes of others such as those in this BBC report:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7288430.stm
    That should not be a party political matter. It was the message of the last Government and is the message of this Government.

  14. @Tim Jones.

    Tim, does it make you feel good about yourself by taking such a cheap shot at a cancer sufferer?
    Who would know better than Bob just how he will be affected by these cuts?
    You really are a weasle-worded lickspittle.

  15. @ Oldtimer

    Thanks for that you’ve saved me replying directly to him.

    I’m guessing he’s just some out of touch LibDem activist type policing Lynne’s blog.

    In case he’s interested here are a couple of page links from relevant charities….

    http://www.mstrust.org.uk/news/recentstories/article.jsp?id=3898

    http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Documents/GetInvolved/Campaigns/Benefits/FailedByTheSystemReport.pdf

    Anyway, for his benefit, I am terminally ill and this government are terrifying me. Lynne has actually admitted herself that lots of mistakes are made by the overzealous system and she implied she expects to be fighting a lot more cases for people.

    I just dread being rejected and having to appeal, apparently it can take a year and I don’t want to have to spend my final days fighting the government and having little if anything to live on. Anyway, I probably won’t last a year.

  16. I had no idea anonymous Oldtimer what Bob’s state of health is and, if you were not yourself trying to take a cheap shot, that would have been obvious to you. I have deepest sympathy for all those who are terminally ill. If what Bob says is right (and I have no reason to say it is wrong, although I am, of course, well aware that there are people who make false claims on the internet and some even who use two aliases, usually given away by the short time-gap between their use) he too has that deepest sympathy.
    In showing sympathy for cancer sufferers, MS sufferers and sufferers of many other debilitating conditions we should of course remember that these include those whose taxes are supporting fit people who are able to work. We should also remember the hundreds (perhaps thousands) who under Labour died unnecessarily in Stafford and other hospitals. The official estimate for Stafford Hospital alone is 400 – 1,200.
    There is of course nothing cheap in pointing out that those who spread false fears cause harm to those who feel those fears.

  17. @Tim Jones

    Thanks for your oh so magnanimous but conditional apology. I don’t accept it, it’s rubbish and shows you’re intent on ignorantly scoring points – what on Earth are you going on about?

    Did you refer to the links I attached?

    What about this one….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/11/george-osborne-slash-sickness-benefits

    What about Lynne’s admission that she’s going to be having to fight for us more than ever in a previous blog?

    I have nothing but hatred for you, you know nothing of the position I and many others are in.

  18. I don’t think I said that I would have to fight more than ever – but if there are more injustices then I will have to fight for each of those more indeed – as I do now for any constituent who comes to me with their plight.

  19. @Lynne

    Thanks, Lynne but what are you doing for us at government level?

    I just feel so stressed at the moment…. the pain is terrible, I can’t really go anywhere and I feel very guilty about dying before my parents and loved ones.

    This attack by George Osborne whirls around my head throughout sleepless nights… how will I get by? Will I end up leaving debts? What are they going to do with us?

  20. @Tim Jones.

    You make the point of my anonymity as though there were something sinister about it. There is no guarantee that you are who you say you are, so what’s your point? Would you sooner me call myself Peter Smith or something similar? Would that change anything?
    Your assertions with respect to Bob are beyond contempt and you have resorted to the lowest form of insult it has ever been my displeasure to witness.
    You are indeed one very compassionless and soulless individual and I feel truly sorry for you. You appear to have a ubiquitous and unequivocal distrust of your fellow man, preferring instead to measure everything against your own monetary indeces. This can only bode ill for your future participation in the human race.

  21. “Prejudice is still alive and well and living all over the place”

    Food for thought, Lynne.

    The Liberal Democrats were always the ones fighting for citizenship equality. Sadly, now that you, a Liberal Democrat, are on the Home Office team, you seem to be silent on the issue of illegitimate children acquiring British citizenship through their British fathers. Children born to British mothers before 1983 have just been awarded yet more equality in the form of the removal of passport fees. I ask, where is your outrage on the continued discrimination of children born out of wedlock to British fathers who still are without any UK citizenship rights whatsoever?!

    My e-mails to you have gone unanswered, which leaves me to believe that there is truth to Johnson’s accusations that you haven’t been allowed access to the “important stuff”. I seem to recall the Liberal Democrats pushing for our citizenship rights last year in the Borders Bill. Where’s your fighting spirit this year?

    Please don’t tell me you buy into Green’s lie (and formerly Woolas’ lie too) that the UK government doesn’t honor retrospective citizenship, because it is a lie. It was offered on two occasions to adult children born to British mothers. It was also confirmed that registration of birth removes all quandaries of conferring citizenship on a child – when it was put in place for children born to British mothers. Another lie we illegitimate kids are being told.

    Why so silent Lynne? Don’t you care about equality for lowly illegitimate kids seeking to be with their dying dads and/or family members in the UK? Or are gay people in Uganda more your concern?

  22. Lynne, if you truly believe that equality is ‘very very important’ why have you not spoken out against Theresa May’s decision to cancel an inquiry into how the police handle rape complaints following some high profile cases in which men have ended up being convicted of multiple rapes even though they had come to police attention at an early stage in their crimes but not been followed up.

    There are many ways in which vulnerable groups are being targeted by the Government and many reports which highlight how women will bear the brunt of Government action in the coming months. Here’s another one – and it’s right on your Home Office / Equality doorstep. I would like to hear your response.

  23. Please tell us what you are actually going to do about equal pay. When will you implement the gender pay reporting clause in the Equality Act.

    I am very glad you enjoyed the film Made in Dagenham. What a shame that your Government is abolishing the UK Film Council which made the film possible..

  24. The UK Film Council who its high administration costs (far higher than Film 4) is being abolished, while the amount of money for British films is being maintained: yet more misleading selectivity from an anonymous source.