Government Equalities Strategy

I just thought that given the interest in the Government Equality Strategy – it might be useful if I posted a fuller version. The entire document is available on the GEO website – but this is a useful synopsis for those who are interested.

Government Equalities Strategy
2nd December 2010

In my conference speech this autumn I spoke about my vision for “an equality which sets people free, rather than imprisons them with rules.”

Today the government was able to realise this vision with the publication of the government’s cross-portfolio strategy for equalities.

The strategy sets out the government’s commitment to tackling equality of opportunity, with five key principles defining this approach:

Creating opportunities for all – moving from solutions geared only to specific “groups” to developing frameworks that help create fairness and opportunities for everyone
Devolving power to people – instead of top down targets and centralised control

Supporting social action – giving the voluntary sector and public sector the ability to work together to create a more inclusive society
Embedding equality – leading by example and embedding equality into the heart of this government’s policies and priorities
Transparency – giving communities and individuals the tools to scrutinise and challenge organisations who do not operate fairly

As I said to conference in September, though legislation has come some way in making Britain a more equal place, we need a different approach to change peoples’ attitudes and behaviour. The strategy is divided into five sections to highlight the new cross-governmental approach. These five sections are all means to a more equal society, and will resonate with all Liberal Democrat members:

1. Early years, education and social mobility

Aim: tackle deprivation and inequalities relating to family background, and improve social mobility

Actions:

? We have already taken 880,000 of the lowest paid workers out of income tax
? Fund an additional 4,200 health visitors to support families with young children
? Extend free early years education to all disadvantaged 2 year olds
? Target Sure Start services on the most disadvantaged and at-risk families
? Introduce a Pupil Premium to support the poorest children, with schools reporting to parents on how they have spent this additional funding
? Nick Clegg chairs a Ministerial group on social mobility, and the government will publish a social mobility strategy by February 2011
? Support schools with the latest research e.g. into the underlying issues associated with higher rates of exclusion for African Caribbean boys
? Education Endowment Fund – to fund innovative ways to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils in under performing schools
? Set up a new Ministerial Working Group to drive action across government to tackle inequalities experienced by Travellers
? Publish a Child Poverty Strategy next spring

2. A fair and flexible labour market

Aim: work with business to develop a fairer and more flexible labour market that draws on the talents of all to build a strong economy

Actions:

? Require large public bodies to be transparent about the make-up of their employees and their gender pay gap
? Launch a voluntary scheme for gender pay reporting in the private sector. We will annually review the numbers of companies releasing information and its quality, to asses if further measures are required, including a mandatory approach
? Take strong action where there is evidence of discrimination
? Extend the right to request flexible working to all employees
? Encourage shared parenting from the earliest stage of pregnancy and consult on a new system of flexible parental leave
? Improve careers advice for girls, women, ethnic minorities, disabled and others who can be disadvantaged in the workplace
? From April 2011 allow employers to apply positive action when faced with multiple candidates of equal merit. This is not positive discrimination which remains illegal.
? Work with business to promote more women on boards of listed companies
? Lead by example with a government aspiration for 50% of all new appointments to public boards to be women by 2015
? Publish research which explores the barriers that employers face in establishing LGBT-friendly workplaces
? Phase out the default retirement age to allow older workers to remain in work if they want to and are capable
? Reform Access to Work so disabled people can apply for jobs with funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they need

3. Opening up public services and empowering individuals and communities

Aim: Devolving power to local communities and promoting greater participation and inclusion in public, political and community life

Actions:

? Move towards personal budgets for adult social care
? Test the Right to Control in five initial trailblazer areas from December 2010; giving disabled people the right to know how much support they are eligible to receive, and to decide and agree the outcomes they want to achieve, and how they receive that support
? Protect funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant
? Provide a £100 million Transition Fund to help voluntary and community groups who want to provide public services
? Train a new generation of community organisers
? Support LGBT people to get more involved in their community
? Provide government support to disabled people who want to become elected officials

4. Changing culture and attitudes

Aim: building respect for all, tackling discrimination, hate crime and violence

Action:

? Promote better recording of, and response to, all hate crimes
? Guide and support schools in how better to tackle prejudice-based bullying, especially homophobic bullying, and bullying of disabled children and children with SEN
? Work with key interest groups to discuss what the next stages for civil partnerships should be, including working towards allowing same sex couples to register their relationship in a religious setting if they wish to do so
? Introduce the new Equality Duty which will require all public bodies to have due regard for the need to foster good relations between different groups
? Host regular Body Confidence round tables to tackle issues of low body confidence
? Publish cross-government action plan to tackle violence against women and girls e.g. by committing extra funding for rape crisis centres
? Work with governing bodies of different sports to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport
? Crack down on irresponsible advertising and marketing to children, and take steps to tackle the sexualisation and commercialisation of children
? Change the law so that people with historical convictions for consensual gay sex with over 16s can have their record deleted
? Scale back the process of vetting and barring to common sense levels
? Reform the draconian DNA database to adopt the protections of the Scottish model
? Use Britain’s influence internationally to work towards a more fair and equal global landscape, by:
o Stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave their country due to persecution because of their sexuality or gender identity
o Work bilaterally with EU countries to overcome legislative or policy barriers which prevent them recognising UK civil partnerships
o Continue to push for universal ratification and implementation of the UN conventions on racial discrimination and discrimination against women, and those promoting the rights of children and disabled people
o Recognise the vital roles of women in development and seek to increase the number of women and girls in education; improve maternal health; improve economic empowerment of women through jobs; promote gender equality
o Work with UN Women to ensure it focuses on key priorities, including violence against women and delivery of the Millennium Development Goals

5. Making it happen

Aim: the public sector will lead by example and empower citizens and communities with the information they need to hold public services to account

Actions:

? Require public bodies to publish data on the equality results in their services and in their workforce
? Ensure that all government data is easily accessible, especially to those with particular needs such a older people and disabled people
? Widen access to the civil service through internships schemes for those who are currently under represented such as ethnic minorities
? Listen to and involved the public and partners in the development of policy, including through a new strategy for engaging with women and women’s organisations
? Implement a cross-government programme to support the LGBT community
? Reform the EHRC so that it concentrates on its core roles as a modern regulator and as a national human rights institution
? Ensure child poverty concerns are built into policy-making across government, supported by the Child Poverty Unit

For this coalition government – equalities is not an add-on – it is an integral part of how we intend to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.

0 thoughts on “Government Equalities Strategy

  1. In Section 3; “Opening up public services and empowering individuals and communities” your stated objectives are in direct conflict with the policies of the Education Secretary.

    Michael Gove has been centralising power over schools since the summer. Now he is the SOLE ARBITER of whether a school becomes an academy or not, parents have no say, there is no ballot, central government will override the will of local people. The same is the case with most “free” schools; they will not actually be “free”, in the sense that there will be any local control of them, most of these will be controlled by large multinational companies, many of which will be based abroad, like Kunskapsskolan, which is located in Stcokholm. Once again there will be no local control.

    Currently most schools run by Local Authorities have a majority of parents on their governing bodies. With Gove’s academies and “unfree” schools there will be only one parent on the governiing body.

    This Equality Strategy actually masks an increasing centralisation on the part of the government, particularly in education. Unless and until the government abides by its own equality strategy this will simply be a piece of meanlingless window dressing apparently designed to present a veneer of empowerment of individuals and communities while at the same time removing power from ordinary people and centralising it increasingly in the hands of the government and the very rich.

  2. It’s interesting that you end your synopsis of the Government Equality Strategy with this statement:

    “For this coalition government – equalities is not an add-on – it is an integral part of how we intend to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.”

    Those of us born before 1983 to British mothers are not eligible for automatic claim to British citizenship unlike the children born to British fathers are.

    It’s disgraceful that we must submit a form intended for immigrants and pay £80 for a citizenship ceremony. The registration form and ceremony are for those without a British parent. This path to citizenship is an insult and unjustified discrimination. We have a right to automatic British citizenship via our British mothers.

    If the coalition government truly supports equality in Britain, I’d like to know why people born before 1983 to British mothers are still discriminated against?

  3. “From April 2011 allow employers to apply positive action when faced with multiple candidates of equal merit. This is not positive discrimination which remains illegal.”

    Nothing could be worse for the cause of equality than introducing positive discrimination which undermines the need for a meritocracy and undermines any employee appointed by this flawed method.

    So I am pleased to see that positive discrimination remains outlawed. However, I am unclear what legal “positive action” could be taken that did not result in positive discrimination.

    I very much support the aims in section 1, the Early Years. Equality of opportunity is best achieved by everyone getting a good education and parenting in the years before they are eleven years old. Employers can not be expected to take on less good people at 18 because they did not have opportunities in the early years. Nor is it in the interests if the country to force employers to take on second rate people just for political correctness.

  4. In this country we have the following:

    – A school system fundamentally rigged in favour of girls.
    – Domestic violence funding which favours women by a ratio of 3500:1 (despite 40% of vicitms being men)
    – A large and ever growing gender gap in access to higher education with males as the losers.
    – Companies blatantly discriminating against male customers.
    – A “justice” system incorporating female sentencing discount at every single stage.
    – A family court system not fit for purpose denying countless children a relationship with their father.

    Despite the above your document has no less than 12 mentions of women, 3 references to girls and, NOT A SINGLE REFERENCE TO ANY equality faced by men or boys (other than Afro-Caribbean boys). Why can’t you start to accept, the facts and start standing up for everyone?

    Nick Clegg produced a quite excellent manifesto dedicated to highlighting the many types of sex discrimination against males. Have all his ideas and principles now been scrapped?

  5. Date for your diary Lynne.

    The NUS is calling for women to protest outside Lynne’s office on Wednesday, December 8, as part of a National Day of Action protesting the increase in tuition fees.

    The NUS says: “Any increase in fees will hit women hardest – because it will take women longer to pay back their loan due to the gender pay gap, and because interest payments accrued over time mean that women will pay more for their degree. Any increase in fees will shut the door to education for thousands of women.”

    The NUS Women’s Campaign is calling for women students and feminist activists from across the country to gather outside Lynne Featherstone’s constituency office, dressed as Suffragettes and Suffragists to give her a simple message:

    “Women before us fought for our right to vote and fought for our right to education – we will not let you price women out of education.”

    Those wanting to join the action should meet at 11am on the 8th December, outside Lynne Featherstone’s Office near Crouch End, 62 High Street, London, N8 7NX. Come with whistles, banners, Sashes, Suffragette colours (Purple, Green, White) and Suffragist colours (Green, Red, White).

  6. Helen wouldn’t that “door shutting” be impacting on the same women who absolutely dominate the higher education system? You make student fees sound like a good thing!

    The real concern should be for all the males failed by the school system for whom University isn’t a remote possibility. They have to dismiss such an option long before considering less significant aspects such as cost or loan repayments far into the future.

    The NUS campaign is quite ridiculous – such stupid arguments will make people side with the coalition TBH. Quite frankly the NUS is just as full of man-haters than the Labour party itself.

  7. Two issues here: The Fawcett Society is going to the High Court to ask the judicial system to examine whether the government has fairly considered the impact of cuts on women (and by association, of course, children). The cuts that have been announced as policies made by men with men in mind. Where is the equalities fairness in that.

    Secondly, people with disabilities who live in residential care are having their mobility benefit cut which effectively forces them to remain in an institution, whereas before they had money to get out to study, go to libraries, or visit friends. This will particularly effect younger people with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, and other neurological diseases and those with learning disabilities. Where is the equality in this please?

  8. Helen

    I hope you get massive support, but I hope that Lynne doesn’t ignore the fact that there are doubtless many men who would also like to porotest alongside, but on this occasion will respect that there have been protests in the past which have had a significant, dare I say a “progressive”, impact; these include protests that Lynne herself would no doubt have joined in – the suffragettes whom you mention and more recently Greenham Common and the women strikers from Dagenham whom Lynne lately praised. I even imagine that Lynne would onces have joined you in the planned protest against higher education cuts, increased fees etc were it not for the fact that she appears now to have abandoned any belief in the ideals she once pladged to uphold.

  9. whoops,

    of course what I meant to say was “that there have been women-only protests in the past which have had a significant, dare I say a “progressive”, impact;”

  10. Harriet, you ask “wouldn’t that “door shutting” be impacting on the same women who absolutely dominate the higher education system?”

    Who are the women that absolutely dominate the higher education system ? Do you mean women students who have earned a place in university or wherever based on the same criteria as applied to male applicants? If so, it is true that in some subjects women do dominate numerically and also achieve equally alongside male students. In the subject I studied the ratio of women to men in my 3rd and 4th year classes was 8:2. But I can assure you that when it comes to employment in the discipline we studied the proportion of men in employment and in higher paid positions is far greater.

    Or, when you speak of the women who absolutely dominate the higher education system, do you mean those employed in the system ? If so, then I think you are mistaken; if you look at most University departments you will find that there is a far higher number of male Professors, Readers, Senior lecturers and lecturers than there are women Professors etc. Even in the administration the higher positions are dominated by men. How many women provosts have you heard being interviewed in recent programmes?. When there used to be secretarial support it’s probably true to say that this was an area dominated by women …

    If you have facts to the contarary let’s hear them.

  11. I am concerned about the distancing from the equality strands approach that this policy implies, and the vagueness of those strategies intended to replace it. Research has demonstrated that clear initiatives targeted at specific groups are by far the most effective way to counteract prejudice and discrimination and to tackle inequalities in employment, education and so forth.

    I am also concerned at the suggestion that many areas of equalities-related activity currently funded by the government are going to be handed over to the voluntary sector. Of course it is good to democratise the process, but the funding proposed will, as I am sure you know, be inadequate to provide for these transferred services, representing a real terms cut. The voluntary sector is already stretched and, no matter what Mr Cameron may tell us about the ‘Big Society’,there simply isn’t an adequate supply of new people wishing to do this sort of work – especially not new people with the necessary skills and expertise. The notion that they will emerge (thanks to the invisible hand of a cash-free market?) is simply magical thinking.

    The government must not offload responsibility when it comes to equalities work. Improvements in this area are not simply about doing a favour for the traditionally disadvantaged; they are about enabling all of Britain’s people to realise their potential, bringing economic benefits for the nation as a whole.

  12. Carl,given that the conversation was about fees I was talking about how female students increasingly dominate higher education rather than staff (although perhaps I should have made it clearer).

    As for men dominating in employment, well I’m it’s a complex issue. I would say that any failing education system which is also sexist might produce good results for females. However we need to bear in mind that the inherent biases combined with the failings doesn’t mean any such results are going to correlate very highly with employability, nor talent.

    Similarly if perfectly able or better males have been failed by the education system there’s still a good chance of them succeeding at work given their talents, just as long as they can get a foot in the door.

    Presumably the “equality” bill will put a stop to them even getting such a chance now, but at least that’s the situation at present.

  13. Lynne wrote: “an equality which sets people free, rather than imprisons them with rules.”

    As long as children born out-of-wedlock, prior to 2006, to British fathers, are excluded from acquiring UK citizenship, in some fair manner, this Government Equality Strategy means nothing, and the UK will continue to imprison this group with discriminatory rules.

    You recently quoted out-of-date and bigoted policy regarding nationality rights for children born out of wedlock before 1 July 2006 to British fathers. To correct you, in 2009, it was proven that registration of birth would remove all quandaries relating to nationality conflicts for children born to unmarried British fathers (Hansard: 18 June 2009 – Column number: 224). This was previously implemented to remove conflicts for adult children born to British mothers in 2002 and 2009.

    As for numbers of people coming forward, which worried Phil Woolas (look at the source, considering how his career ended). How different would it be if those coming forward to claim UK citizenship all had a marriage certificate attached to their births? There would be no difference.

    As for possible abuse of the system, which also worried Phil Woolas. How would the requirements to prove paternity be any different from those who were born after 2006 who also have to prove paternity? There would be no difference.

    Even the human rights group Liberty considers this discrimination “suspicious”.

    I’m stunned you quoted such incorrect information, Lynne. You were actually behind the 2009 fight to remove nationality discrimination against all children born out of wedlock to British fathers. You fought along with Lord Avebury, Lord Roberts, Lord Dholakia, and Tom Brake MP – all Liberal Democrats. I am stunned that you have suddenly changed your tune about this subject and have abandoned us kids.

    That you cannot find some possible way now to remove the 1 July 2006 cut-off date and allow all children born to British fathers a fair pathway to citizenship (straight citizenship through registration, ancestry visa, special work to citizenship visa) makes all this talk about a Government “Equality” Strategy empty.

    What is equality when some children are eligible for citizenship through their British fathers and some, in the same households, are not?

  14. So, as Lynne has not been named as someone who is to resign from the government, she clearly has no intention of keeping her promise of voting against tuition fees.

    Presumably she is to take the coward’s way out and abstain. At least Clegg has had the guts in the end to do what he really believes in and will vote for his government’s policy. Though conceivably Lynne doesn’t believe in anything so an abstention is actually the correct path for her.

    I hope all the fools who voted for her learn the lesson.

  15. This is what Peter Oborne wrote five days ago in his Telegraph Blog

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100066580/britain’s-most-hated-politician-nick-clegg-is-a-man-of-judgment-and-courage/

    …… While it remains highly likely that the Coalition will get its business through, victory will come at the cost of permanent ill-feeling. Many Lib Dems feel unable to go back on their very public pre-election pledge to abolish tuition fees. Last night there was talk of a ministerial resignation, with Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone favourite to quit. One senior Lib Dem close to Featherstone told me: “Lynne is a person of the highest moral and personal principle. Knowing the kind of person she is, I am certain she will absolutely agonise. It is the moral dimension that makes her decision so difficult.” ……

  16. Stroud Green voter says:

    “I hope all the fools who voted for her learn the lesson.”

    As someone who has been critical of Lynne on a number of occasions, I have to admit that it is not so much what I feel are Lynne’s natural instincts that I object to -it’s all the harmful policies that the Coalition are introducing at an alarming rate. I was also one of the fools who many years ago voted for Tony Blair, not directly since he was not my MP but part and parcel of the Labour party which is where my traditional loyalties lie (i.e. socialist). I detested the rebranding as New Labour. But the real crunch came with the war on Iraq. All of the Labour supporters that I know protested against the war and the party knew it had no popular support. But, it was argued that Britain’s (Blair’s?) participation in the war would act as a positive influence on America/Bush. Well, we all know what a disaster it has been and I doubt Blair had any influence on American policy. When it came to the formation of the ConDem coalition Clegg (and Lynne if I’m not mistaken) justified the Libdems joining by claiming it would have a moderating influence on Conservative policies. Such is the vanity of politicians. Thankfully there have been no new wars and the libdems stance on Iraq is as credible now as it was when Charles Kennedy was leader (and mainly why I subsequently voted LibDem) but it is probably becoming clear to most LibDem MPs that rather than determing policy they are being used more as the providers of blatant Conservative policies. Lynne must be more aware of this than most … and I hope that on Thursday she will set aside for a while her own political ambitions and consider the dreams and aspirations of the many young people who will be put off higher education by the fear of debt; their only debt should be to society as a whole whose obligation it is in any civilised society to ensure that higher education flourishes – and that includes subjects such as Sanskrit jsut as much as the so-called vocational subjects.

  17. What a heroine you turned out to be Lynne – voting for tripling of student fees having solicited votes by saying you would oppose. Oh well, at least you got a nice jag eh?

  18. I’m all for ‘free’ education, however is it fair that people with no children pay tax for the education of people with children? Should education at all levels be free eg. Adult llearning for those in work as well as out of work as those in work often lose out in ways like lack of time and access to variety of learning open to the unemployed for free or a very reduced rates. Will students give back to society free services for all who have invested in their education or apply a charge for that which they aquired freely? Will they discriminate between who can receive their services not determined by need but by ability to pay suddenly become money orientated and resent being taxed for the next generation’s children? Will they perpetuate the cycle of ‘poverty’ determined by ‘economic value’ over social fairness?.

  19. “I’m all for ‘free’ education, however is it fair that people with no children pay tax for the education of people with children?”

    Yes.

  20. Why Dave, how are they responsible for someone else’s decision to have kids, especially if they themselves are on low wages and perhaps have only a single wage coming in? Please elaborate. How would you answer the other quesions posed. Do you have an opinion on those.

  21. @ Katharine Blake

    In answer I’ll give another example. Suppose you have a rare disease. Why should people without that disease pay for your treatment? The answer is obvious – that people pay taxes for the common good. People shouldn’t be selfish.

  22. Sick to hear that you’ll be voting to triple tuition fees, Lynne.
    My estimation of you cannot get any lower.
    Enjoy your irrelevant and pointless ministerial job, enjoy waging war on the poor, enjoy betraying the people who voted for you. And start thinking about what you’re going to do when your constituents throw you out at the next election.

  23. I’d agree if every one was that considerate but you only have to look at the the way people begrudge people who are on disability welfare benefits who are discriminated against in so many ways by the wider population in terms of real consideraion for access and therefore lack of opportunity, name calling and incessant undermining, lack of representation, hate targeting, and scapegoated for being ‘benefit scroungers’ despite the lack of opportunity to have a decent income, especially by MPs who want to downplay the expenses scandal, The MPs (honest hard workers of course) begrudingly pay tax or even turn tricks to try and avoid paying it deflecting the blame. They are also funded by the taxpayer who often bizzarely don’t require the need for ‘expenses’ to help them carry out their jobs or often can’t claim for second homes when they have to travel and work far from home. People unfortunately have proved that they can be that selfish. Why should somebody in a position for example working and paying taxes for education or not even working for the common good be subjected to peoples kids or even adults acting selfishly, disrespecting people they don’t even know, in some circumstances vandalising their property of actually causing physical bodily harm to them? It appears to be a common problem. What about parental responsibility paying tax for your own childrens education or your own if you are an adult? And the recognition that continuing to have numerous kids when not in a position to look after them in the hope that someone else might take responsibility of them is a selfish act not considerate for the common good and a strain on others. As a human I have a sense of compassion and good intention for everybody until they give me cause not to. On many occaisions I regret to say they have.

  24. @ Katharine Blake

    Sorry to hear that you’re having those problems. Better vote LibDem then, as nowadays that party seems to share your own views.

  25. Lynne
    Please could you explain to us why you are pushing an Equalities strategy at the same time as planning to vote for a bill that will effectively deter the poor from going to University?
    Thanks
    Glenys

  26. Lynne

    Nick Clegg claims that you will be ‘walking through fire’ today when you vote in favour of these destructive measures. It makes it sound noble walking through fire and all that, however, all you’ll be doing is proving to the electorate that you’re a liar because you actually signed a pledge in this case.

    Sure, there has been as bad, if not worse, that you’ve already voted for but this actual proof of how the lot of you stitched-us-up and swapped our votes out of self interest.

    Which of you has one of the big ministries? Yep, none of you so the Tories make the policy and you back them up.

  27. It’s very sad that so many people who had high hopes for what the LibDems might do if they ever achieved power will feel betrayed by you today, with your confirmation that you will be voting for fees to be tripled. Whether or not the tuition fees policy is a good one (and I happen to believe it isn’t, especially when it’s combined with an 80% cut in university teaching budgets), a pledge is a pledge is a pledge. If you make one, and you break it, then your constituents will never trust you again.

    Katharine Blake – so if you’re ill, you don’t want there to be doctors to treat you? You don’t want properly trained engineers to safely design and build power stations to keep you warm? You don’t want a competent lawyer to help you if you are wrongfully arrested? Or scientists who might one day find a cure for cancer, or MS or Alzheimers?

    Or is it just that you only want the children of the rich to be able to access graduate professions?

  28. I didn’t vote lib dems or any other party in the recent election, maybe you did in those days, when they lied through their teeth. Sorry to hear you are now disappointed. I don’t believe in the parliamentary system it is not particularly representative and despite all the ‘equality’ talk from all governments they are self serving. They claim to ‘work for you’ because they want to be in a position of power over you to do exactly what they like when they get into power. Make you think they are doing you a favour. They would work WITH you if they classified you as an equal. A partner on decision making equal to them, you particular needs taken into account and catered to as well as their own. Wha right do you have to contribute to formulating policy? Most of the people in the cabinet are millionaires who value everything by economic standards not social progression and well-being, how well people relate to one another. Most have never had a day of economic hardship in their lives how can they understand the full impact of their policy making? What rreal qualificaions do they have to make those decisions. People presume that just because they either have loads of money or are good orators that equates to good judgement it often does not, and then place that power in their hands. If you read my post properly that it is critical of the cuts taking place in general, but if people want to be supported they need to be supportive back. educaion should be accesible for all equally people often neglect the needs of disabled people who have historiacally been overlooked. Not usually included in the political debate to shape an education system and a working environment that works for the good of all. A working environment that focuses on the well being of the workers as much as it places emphasis on economic growth and production. We should be working to enhance our health and social relations not be being forced into unhealthy working/living conditions because we need to produce economic wealth for big companies. Wealth which most of us will see little of.

  29. Lynne,

    I hear people have been dumping through Nick Clegg’s letterbox.

    I have diarrhoea at the moment. Can you email me his home address.

    Thanks

  30. Ellie and Dave thanks for your posts. Yes I have been ill, (not graduates are competent by the way) and i’m certainly not saying people from all backgrounds should not have access to education, i’m on a very low income myself and have a degree. Apparantly I owe the students loan company some money. Some people on low incomes do work and have paid taxes for education and their kids have gone to university and should continue to go as their parents have paid in for that already. Some people have not worked because of discrimination to do with inaccessible work places their kids should have access to free education as they were denied equal opportunities, adults should be too. Some people however do nothing but cause other people unprovoked grief, do destructive things which counteract the efforts of others. Would you want to fund someone who did things to upset your life? I doubt it. I ended up in a mental hospital in the same month as I finished my degree. If you’ve ever been in a mental hospital you’d know that for most people the ‘services’ are virtually non-existant and a heavy emphasis is placed on medication. Not all people are really in need of medication but social support which is not forthcoming, too much stigma and a overwhelming sense of it is not my job or business it’s somebody else’s. I struggled for years against being forced to take medication and in the process exhausted myself to argue up for practical support in it’s place, i’ve yet to see it as I need it. Something to help prevent me from becoming ill in the first place, and allow me to be put in a position to be useful. Everything under our noses were constantly being reshuffled until what litlle there was was cut. People are not really perceived as people but are called ‘clients’ and ‘customers’ ‘users’ economic and business terms infilitrating every area of society including health. You’l receive only if you can pay. Where people naturally used to help there seemed to be a replacement of inerest in material wealth and so called ‘celebrity’ obsession started to set in. Ridiculous inequalities of economic wealth. People wanting to look ‘rich’ or get famous for whatever reason usually wih little talent and acquire the lifestyles of those perceived financially well of. Anyway people are always complaining about how their taxes are funding things they don’t like or don’t use. If education should be free then once graduated why are not the services also free? I’d be more in agreement if students retain their ‘freedom’ values beyond being a student. In my experience it hasn’t been the case of all the MPs who got their education for free and now believe in charging fees? That is my concern.

  31. Has anyone seen the latest YouGov poll saying Lib Dems have 8% support? Is there any chance of Lynne polling that highly at the next election?

    She’s gone a bit quiet. She posted some anodyne comments on her trashing equal pay reporting on another site but doesn’t seem to want to come here…

  32. A message from Nick Clegg to Lynne Featherstone.

    Nick Clegg says there have been too many broken promises in the last few years and continues that “it’s time for promises to be kept.”

  33. Lib Dems down to 8 per cent in latest Yougov poll.
    That would mean 11 seats for the Lib Dems at a general election.
    That would mean no Nick Clegg, no Vince Cable, no Simon Hughes, no Sarah Teather, no Lynne Featherstone etc etc.
    The electorate don’t like liars, Lynne.

  34. The Single equality Act discriminates against transsexuals and the government which Lynnsupports say that it will not be reviewd for at least 3 years, the reason the bill was so bad was because in the last parliament, Conservative members of the House of Lords kept sending it back as they did not agree with trans rights, and this Lib Dem partyy is keepimng this awful tory government in power, the Lib Dems obviously like the high salaries of office and have no conscience.

  35. fgfggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggfffffffllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

  36. An extract from the Lib Dem Election Manifesto 2010:-

    Give you the right to sack MPs who have broken the rules. We would introduce a recall system so that constituents could force a byelection for any MP found responsible for serious wrongdoing. We are campaigning for this right of recall to be introduced to the European Parliament too.

  37. So here we have an equality bill that completely ignores men and boys. Minister for equality? No, more like minister for misandry.

    Tell us what the government plans to do about reversing the femanistion of education, reducing the male suicide rate, increase the proportion of spending on male health, equal parental rights, equally paternal rights etc.

    What was that? Nothing?

  38. In an effort to prevent further English Student Protests on the Streets of London, I question why English Students are being deliberately discriminated against by our Government when they should be encouraging our youths to go on to further their education and work for Degrees on their chosen subject.
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is one Country as far the EU is concerned and Treaties are ratified to that effect. Why then, under the laws of the United Kingdom and EU are University Fees discriminatory one to the other within the United Kingdom? Each of the four parts, Nations of and/or Countries, were as one for the purpose of ratification of the then European Economic Community Treaty of Rome in 1972, and is still classed as one whole in the European Union of 2011 yet one Country within that Union is discriminated against?

    As far as the EU is concerned Scotland is a REGION of the EU, as is Wales and Northern Ireland, England remains as one although it might have been 9 separate EU Regions. I am now looking at the Laws regarding Discrimination of Nationality and also Non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all in the EU, and I mustn’t forget the new “Equality Act ” either.

    Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and ENGLAND are all Nations and Countries in their own RIGHT. Is it discrimination re nationality to charge different rates for different Nationalities/Countries? I am aware that UK Ministers say the current position is particularly unfair because the EU rules do not apply within states”. There seems to be nothing though to stop a sovereign Government from making sure the English students have exactly the same financial equality (advantage) as the other nations and country’s in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Students from other EU nations must be treated the same as students within the nation. But, due to the principle of subsidiarity, terms and conditions may vary within a member state. That is why students from England at Scottish Universities can be treated differently to students from, say, France. Perhaps or unless of course the Welsh University is strictly/exclusively for those that live or born in Wales, ditto Scotland which I doubt would be allowed.

    However, as the Laws of the UK are supposed to be “fair” for all and I am sure that our Government would want English students to enjoy the same conditions as those from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, perhaps it is time to change the law once again?

    Proof re Scotland as a nation, (from EU Web) “As cultural communities, Catalonia and Scotland are conventionally and more accurately identified as nations, rather than regions. The term ‘region’ is used here partly for the sake of brevity and consistency, partly in the governmental sense elaborated earlier in the paper, and partly in recognition of the fact that as territorial units they do not (yet) have independent statehood. There is no intention to cast doubt on their respective claims to nationhood”.