Archive for January, 2009

Social Fund

News stories appeared just before Christmas indicating the government was thinking about charging interest on the loans available through the Social Fund (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/dec/22/government-social-fund-loans).  It is not clear that this was indeed the government’s intent and the stories were soon downplayed and denied.  But it did take me back to that very posting: https://liverpoolmpa.wordpress.com/2007/03/16/welfare-reform-and-iraq/.  It seems eerily familiar.

Obamania

I have not blogged for some time now (presures of work, blah, blah) but have been a little reluctant in some respects.  The general mood of optimism following Obama’s election vistory has been good to see and I have not particularly wanted to dispense my usual cold shower of realism.  Since that inital optimism, pundits can regularly be heard clutching at the lifeline – it will all be different after 20th January.  Global warming will be solved.  The credit crunch will end.  More recently, the conflict in the Middle East will be resolved.

Optimism is all very well.  But Obama is coming into office with overwhelming and unrealistic expectations attached to his term in office.  He is human.  He has serious constraints on his ability to act.  And there are no simple solutions to the problems facing him and us.  I can’t help but reflect on the West Wing.  Bartlett’s fictional administration, it seems to me, achieved virtually nothing memorable in eight years.  Why should reality be easier?

Having said that, a bit of hope can be a good thing.