Posts Tagged ‘Helen Godwin Teige’

We do not need to divide the country to get through difficult times

15/04/2013, 06:49:16 PM

by Helen Godwin Teige

Ed Miliband came to Bristol on Saturday, so I, my husband. our two toddlers and my sister went along to see Ed and listen to what he had to say. He did an ‘on the stump’ speech and answered questions from members and non-members who had gathered in the busy St Nicholas Market in Bristol.

I am pretty sure Ed won some votes for both himself and the Labour party on Saturday. He took questions on everything from mental health, vocational qualifications, and the bedroom tax to legalisation of drugs and Trident. Bristolians are an understated bunch but they know what they are interested in and we felt Ed answered each question well; he listened, gave real and honest answers and didn’t sound as policy light as the press are desperate for him to be.

He was here on the back of the local elections but there were key things that he mentioned that I think Labour need to drill down into and build deeper policies

1. Mental Health

The stigma of mental health needs to end. The increase in dementia cases means this is on the agenda in a big way but mental health affects all ages and  is a vast subject requiring more research, treatment and occupational health. We need to take the lead in accepting people with mental health problems and ensuring their place in society is understood and valued.


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More social housing, not a bedroom tax, is the answer to our housing shortage

27/03/2013, 04:24:06 PM

by Helen Godwin Teige

We know that economics alone cannot dictate the shape of our society and despite living under the most regressive government in modern times, we expect human considerations to be included in coalition policy. In the case of the “bedroom tax” it seems that Cameron’s Tories have reached a low ebb in disregarding those who require help from the government.

Growing up in the 1980’s on a small, very green and very pleasant housing estate around a third of the inhabitants had taken up the right to buy option. The street was a mix of young families and older couples, rehoused from post war prefabs. There was no sense of the temporary in our street, owner occupiers and tenants lived, worked and played together; only the council paint palette on the front doors gave away which houses were still local authority owned. Gardens were manicured, hanging baskets tended and everyone looked after each other.

My point is not one of nostalgia; but rather that this world does still exist. The current governments obsession with demonizing those in social housing or claiming housing benefit threatens to tear apart the very fabric of communities across Britain through the bedroom tax which will force people to leave their homes; or face a further financial penalty during some of the toughest times in decades. It is also prudent to highlight that many commentators have little understanding of the benefit of this policy, given the lack of smaller housing stock., confirming that this policy is purely a fiscal one and will do little ease the demand on social housing. Rather, as we all know, the answer is to build new social housing and pull together communities through job creation, renewed confidence and ambition.


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George Osborne’s ugly society

25/03/2012, 08:30:04 AM

by Helen Godwin Tiege

The news is full of the budget, and it seems George Osborne is getting himself into a pickle after breaking the “don’t mess the with pensioners” rule. Even the Daily Mail has turned on the Tories, along with almost every other newspaper.

We have also heard how great this budget is for business, with the scrapping of the 50p tax rate and further reduction in corporation tax. The CEO of Glaxo, Sir Andrew Whitty, was quite happy for the chancellor to claim their announcement today, that they will create over 1000 new roles, was a result of new measures announced in the budget, as well as the Labour-led changes to patenting laws.

We heard from several “business-leaders” who felt that the scrapping of the 50p rate would mean that Britain was once again “open for business”. And this is all great news, only a twisted cynic would want to see the economy fail or go into stagnation after what has been a troubling and difficult 4 years. If these measure really will bring investment and job creation to Britain then I would not want to oppose them.

However, I cannot see how such changes which ultimately benefit individuals can be introduced at a time when there is still rising unemployment, a very real threat of a “lost generation” and millions of people around the country about to face their darkest times as a result of local authority cuts that come into effect from April.


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Helen Godwin Teige warns the Tories against another lost generation

09/08/2010, 04:41:19 PM

The recent media circus surrounding the Raoul Moat case did lead to some interesting discussion about the ‘lost generation’ of working class men who have lost their standing in society as a result of the steady decline in manufacturing since the 1980s.

Numerous commentators discussed fathers and their sons who have spent much of their lives on benefits and with little or no expectation of finding work. This is an issue across the UK, though one more noticeable in the former industrial heartlands of the North, and especially former mining towns that experienced mass unemployment after the pit closures of the Thatcher years. (more…)

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A family story of where Labour went wrong, by Helen Godwin Teige

09/07/2010, 09:36:35 AM

In 1997 my entire family voted for Tony Blair. We were genuinely thrilled as we celebrated the landslide. I was 21 and optimistic after a lifetime of Conservative government.

Fast forward to 2010 and only half of us still gave Labour our vote, with my mother making it very clear that this was their last chance. Interestingly, of the Labour voters, two of us are now members. We both got involved in the election campaign and felt passionately that Labour was the right party, on policy across the board and particularly to get us out of the recession.

But what about the rest of my family; what went wrong? (more…)

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