Here’s a nice profile in the Guardian of my colleague Dave Brady, who was in London recently talking about poverty and social policy:
Brady’s response is that we need to rebuild trust in a welfare state that everyone feels they benefit from. The problem he sees developing in Britain is similar to the situation that exists in the US, where welfare is now only for the very poorest people.
“The more [that] ‘welfare’ is a broad portfolio of social policy to help people across the life span, the more effective it is at reducing poverty,” he explains.
“If you create a small constituency of beneficiaries that doesn’t have broad-based political support, it’s harder to mobilise in support of those benefits.”
For evidence, Brady points out, look no further than the ease with which the welfare reform bill got through parliament compared with the ferocious fight the coalition government has had to get the health bill on to the statute book.
Unluckily for me, Dave will soon be heading off to Berlin to be a director at the WZB, despite the city’s near-total absence of quality baseball.