A week is a long time in politics

The famous quote that forms the title of this blog is attributed to the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson back in the 1960s but is arguably even more pertinent to the current political landscape. Trying to make political predictions is a risky game given how quickly things change and both pollsters and politicians have had their fingers burnt trying to second guess how the public will vote in the last couple of years.

The challenge for academics and students is to try and make sense of the world around us and we are certainly living in fascinating but unsettling times. One of my main academic and professional interests is in the decisions that governments make about how to financially support the most vulnerable in society. Often this is referred to as ‘welfare’ or ‘benefits’ and while these terms have become tainted in recent years these are big decisions – social security spending is the biggest area of government expenditure (yes bigger than Health or Education).

Over the last few weeks I have written a number of articles and blogs where I have tried to unpick some of the main local and national issues in relation to welfare spending and poverty. These are issues that have an impact on a wide range of service users and professionals across the entire Health and Social Care spectrum. I hope that they give a snapshot of the current position while we all draw breath and wait for Brexit and the next election…

London School of Economics Policy and Politics blog – I argue that we need a fundamental shift in the way that we administer social security benefits and treat benefit claimants.

Staffordshire University Election Experts blog – Stoke-on-Trent has some of the poorest constituencies in the country meaning decisions about social security have a great impact on many people living in our local communities.

Adviser Journal – I explore the positions that the main political parties set out in their election manifestos in relation to social security benefits.

Richard Machin is the course leader for the Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Practice degree:
Twitter: @RMachinStaffs
Email: Richard.machin@staffs.ac.uk