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A sign of different times in British politics?

Michael Crick | 13:19 UK time, Thursday, 23 September 2010

A rather bizarre event took place in the Cabinet room in Downing Street a few days ago. And a sign of these somewhat different times in British politics.

A Cabinet sub-committee was sitting around the Cabinet table discussing child poverty. Big deal, you'll say.

But the committee met not just Conservatives present, and Lib Dem ministers too, of course, but a couple of Labour MPs as well.

Nick Clegg was in the chair, and was joined by his party colleague, the Children's Minister Sarah Teather. Among the Conservatives in attendance were David Willetts and the Economic Secretary Justine Greening. But also at the Cabinet table were the Labour MP Frank Field and his colleague from Nottingham, Graham Allen.

Field is currently giving the government advice on poverty, whilst Allen is writing a separate report for ministers on early intervention.

This cross-party group was merrily engaged in amicable, constructive discussion, my source reports, as if the coalition contained three parties, not two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Not really a sign of the times so much as a sign that Frank Field and Graham Allen are currently working for the government. Which we already knew. This attempt to promote it as a new consensus politics is pretty transparent I think.

  • Comment number 2.


    Was it a deep concern for the carp lives of the most unlucky, or was it the political kudos of (appearing to be) helping them? Was it a visceral union with his table-fellows, in the spirit of 'all in this together', or an orgasmic sense of 'king of all I survey'?

    How many of these worthies have been a) out of work b) been employed as menial labour c) had to, literally, count pennies? Did any of lack motivation and struggle with institutional learning? Do they realise just how many SOLUTIONS to child poverty (financial, inspirational, educational and aspirational) have SOLVED NOTHING? does it occur to them that the odd chat with a 'cultural loser' is not EMPATHY?

    Instead of ostentatiously including all the parties - SPOILPARTYGAMES - then there will be no need.

    I wonder if Kitten Shoes has worked out what makes men nihilistic yet.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dear Mr Crick

    "constructive discussion"

    Which was ?

    Tell them from me to support Douglas Carswell's bill to remove fractional reserve banking which is removing wealth from everyone to the Govt and elite. If they dont it will implode anyway. The middle class's will come to the party late - it will be over for them in five years and as Max Keiser says it will be a casino gulag. For all those who dont believe what we're saying watch the price of gold and silver over the coming months and years.

    Time to wake up to intrinsic legalised embezzlement - FRB

  • Comment number 4.

    They can sort this guy out why not the bankers ? Its where you will find child poverty starts

  • Comment number 5.

    I find it worrying that the BBC has decided to ban a previously valued contributer to the political blogs on this site (oldnat). His crime? Suggesting people check another source of information for a different slant on political events. Is the BBC afraid of of the public having access to other current event sites?


  • Comment number 6.


    Any chance you can email me details? I'm easy to track down via website (not blogspot)

  • Comment number 7.


    During the election run-up, Nick Clegg utterly refused to position his party with regard to a hung parliament. Very noble but, in retrospect, no service to democracy.

    Now all the talk is of the next election and of how wonderful coalition is. So all parties will have a position on coalition during the hustings? Pull the other one.

    Far better to SPOILPARTYGAMES.


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