Lord Freud is a hero

Lord Freud 512

Lord Freud is is an unpaid Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He is a great grandson of Sigmund Freud. He had a very successful career as a journalist and in the city. In 2006 Tony Blair appointed Freud to provide an independent review of the British welfare to work system. Many of his recommendations were implemented. Then in 2008 he produced a white paper for James Purnell, the Labour Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. In 2009 he joined the Conservative party and became a shadow minister for welfare. A subject he is obviously a great expert on. In the current government he is in charge of reforms to the benefit system. His ideas have been massively successful and are partially responsible for the mass return to work of vast numbers of former benefits claimants. Everybody in Britain should be grateful for his work, the country wins enormously from having people working instead of existing on benefits.

At the Conservative Party conference earlier this month Lord Freud was involved in a fringe meeting. I have been to these and enjoy them a lot, they are a great opportunity for everyone in the party to get stuck in to the nitty gritty of finding great policies to make Britain work better and to look after everyone in society.

The discussion was about what to do for the relatively small number of mentally ill people who are capable of doing something, but not capable of the work involved in a proper job. It would be really good for their self esteem if they could find a task to do and maybe it would also help their long term condition. The idea being floated was that they could be paid a wage lower than the national minimum wage by an employer with the Government making up the difference. So they would still get the minimum wage. Thus an employer would be able to employ someone with very low productivity who would not otherwise by economically viable to have in the business. All excellent stuff and typical of the caring, compassionate Conservative party. Remember that the Prime Minister had a disabled child so has an emotional engagement in this area.

Someone tape recorded the discussion and then made part of it public. Here is a transcript:

“You make a really good point about the disabled. Now I had not thought through and we have not got a system for, you know, kind of going below the Minimum Wage. But we do have, you know, Universal Credit is really useful for people with the fluctuating conditions who can do some work – go up and down – because they can earn and get…and get, you know, bolstered through Universal Credit, and they can move that amount up and down. Now, there is a small…there is a group, and I know exactly who you mean, where actually as you say they’re not worth the full wage and actually I’m going to go and think about that particular issue, whether there is something we can do nationally, and without distorting the whole thing, which actually if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it’s working can we actually”

As you can see this is all very good stuff. A Government minister doing his best to find a compassionate and sensible solution for this small group of people. Every educated person in Britain would approve wholeheartedly of what he is trying to do.

But not the Labour party. They saw a political opportunity to use these disadvantaged people as pawns. To selectively quote Lord Freud completely out of context. To be nasty and evil. As you would expect.

This was sprung on Cameron at PMQs and he said that the language used was not acceptable. Lord Freud has apologised to the House of Lords for any offence cause. But, let’s face it, nobody was really offended. The only people “taking offence” were Labour opportunists trying to embarrass the government for electoral advantage. And who care not one jot for the poor people who would benefit from a great idea.

11 Comments


  1. I guess there is literally nothing you can do that is worth £6.50ph ?

    You wouldn’t be worth £2ph at game coding, would you?

    Hence… the market has spoken, your minimum wage should be less than £2ph.

    You’re defending idiocy.

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  2. Nobody really offended? I’m a disabled person and I was deeply offended.

    I don’t care what Freud’s pedigree is, he’s no friend of disabled people and he should go. His apology is worthless.

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  3. “As you can see this is all very good stuff… Every educated person in Britain would approve wholeheartedly of what he is trying to do.”

    If you’re going to tell me what I can see and then insult me (and my education) because I CAN’T see it, do I even need to be here to read it?

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  4. By the way, with regard to your profession (veteran games industry marketer), what are “veteran games”?

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  5. Millipede shows us his true character here – opportunistic, and capable of stooping to the lowest of low levels to win political points. And still people want him to lead the country. Sigh.

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  6. Yes look at what has happened to Remploy. The agenda here is that yet more pubic funds can be moved to private employers.

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  7. My wife would fall under this trap. They can go stuff themselves when I remember the stress and anxiety she went through just going to her work placement appointments!

    Caring?
    Compassionate?

    Forcing a mentally ill person into a situation that theyre told they arent even worth an employer paying national minimum wage, or spending the proposed tax credits on the NHS to be fully funded on treating the patients with some long over due respect.

    I know which sounds genuinely more compassionate to me!

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  8. Some of the comments here have completely missed the point of Freud’s remarks. His choice of language was poor but dare I say it, the language issue has actually added more heat than light to the point at hand.

    How do you incorporate as many people into the workplace? I have to say, one of the biggest problems is perception on the part of the employer. Some (note some not all) will consider hiring a disabled person (whether mentally or physically encumbered) as more hassle than it is worth. The idea of saying to a business, look we’ll subsidise their employment, could reduce the perceived risk in employing them. In this instance let me clarify in case I get battered by an army of trolls, risk is defined in this sense of whether they are set up to support their employment effectively (i.e. appropriate equipment, health and safety assessments, whether the work is appropriate for their abilities etc).

    As ever, in the rush to appear PC and right-on, the context has gone missing in action, all for what? A few political points and a couple of news cycles.

    It’s a shame. My father was physically disabled (suffered from MS) and was a fully trained and qualified chartered accountant. As the MS progressed and robbed him of motor skills, his employers needed to be more sympathetic to his condition and rightly so. So why is this any different? I just don’t see it.

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  9. People can be offended all they like. The fact is that you can’t force companies to employ people. If they can’t make money out of paying people the minimum wage, then those people will remain unemployed. What’s worse? Employing them at a wage below the ‘minimum’ but equal to the economic value of what they are able to do, or leave them sitting at home with no job at all? Because that’s the choice Freud was talking about.

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  10. The point here is the putting of value on the individual in respect of their ability to generate income for an employer. These people place no other value on human existence whatsoever. So it is clear where we stand in this scenario, perceived indeed as a slave might be, assessed only as a cog in a money generating machine. Lorded over by those who are by right in their own eyes masters and judges over us, giving themselves the right to judge our worth to them. This perversion of what it should mean to be classed human, and not a subspecies, is almost beyond a rational persons thinking, in our supposedly enlightened times. Make no mistake we are 2 seconds from living in a totalitarian state. The general population have, by and large been drawn into the belief that our woes are caused by various minorities. Immigrants, benefit scroungers, the disabled and sick. These people between them will destroy our society, steal our jobs, fraudulently claim benefits, but worst of all demand a decent level of existence, when through no fault of their own they are unable to function to contribute to the elite’s great god of mammon. There is an agenda here, and it is a very dangerous one.To understand it we only have to look to recent history to see what the future will hold if we don’t work out how to stop it. This is not about Lord Fraud, it is all of them, worldwide. We really do have only one means of disruption of these evil people and their plans for the world, and that is non cooperation, disruption and insurrection. Good wishes to us all in our struggle.

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  11. Sorry, Andy, you’re completely wrong. Freud was talking technically about the way labour markets work. It could have been a discussion in any academic seminar. Unfortunately, you and others on the side of the opposition just want to make it a political discussion rather than one about how to deal with a practical problem. Freud didn’t say disabled people have no worth as individuals. He didn’t say that they only have worth as defined by the labour market. He was talking about the labour market productivity of a very particular (perhaps even hypothetical) subset of the population of people with disabilities. Your politicised ranting is exactly why so many are turned off by modern day politics. Including me.

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