Surely we all want Best Value for public monies?

I read wih dismay and frustration at the Charity Sector’s response to the government’s proposal that monies given to Charities by government organisations for services should not be used for lobbying. The Charity sector claim this is a vow of silence as they represent ‘the vulnerable’ against the Big Bad Government.

But lets just clarify this. Charities, who claim to be ‘not for profit’, feel they have the right to skim off monies intended to assist users of services so they can lobby government for their own interests? In any other context, this would surely be considered fraud and corruption?

Best Value is not a new term but I believe it is has relevant as ever as a core value to the spending of public monies. Best value is not about always going for the cheapest option, but ensuring the maximum outcomes can be reached for the money being spent. It is something the average household has to do and continiously review, although I am not sure the government is as good at doing this.

The reality which the socialist agenda appears to ignore is that the planet and society is built upon limited resourses. Many of the ‘cuts’ over the 6 years have been effective and nnecessary spring cleaning that has probably improved outcomes. Admittedly not all the cuts have keep best value in mind and I think monies could have been better saved while still maintaining or improving outcomes.

On a personal level. as someone who receives a lot of state funding in a number of ways, I want to feel that I am ‘best value’. By this, I want to believe I am able to make the best contribution to my community and society as I can. This does not mean I buy into the ‘benefit scrounger’ rhetoric but it does mean I have a social conscience and awareness I am not the only person who needs support.

Also being a long term user, being ‘best value’ means I should in theory be in a better position to maintain the support I require for as long as I need it. This is long term thinking I doubt many people care about and I feel this highlights the true level of selfishness that motivates many ‘anti-cuts’ activists.

Getting the most of every £1 of tax raised by reducing waste and avoiding duplication should be the goal of everyone. Best value requires people, including charities, to think far beyond their own interests and think about how public monies can be better spent for the benefit of everyone.

Unfortunately the rhetoric of austerity has caused people to be more divided, battling their own causes one cut at a time, without any interest in looking at the bigger picture. This more divisive era of politics, often led by the Charity Sector, and fuelled by obsessive social media, is sadly likely to keep Best Value off the agenda for many years to come.

Build a new independent Scotland?


I am not Scottish and I clearly do not live in Scotland, although my parents did live there for a while. I also have no interest in the politics of the potential independence of Scotland although I am interested in the practical implications of building a whole new country as I have always been interested in the detailed workings of Government.


Building a new country will mean Scotland will have to its own everything, replicating many of the current UK wide bodies like HMRC and Jobcentre Plus for a new Scotland. It may also mean Scotland will require its own international dialling code as the UK could split to +440 for England, Wales and NI, and +441 for Scotland. Calls between England and Scotland could also be foul to international charges and even banking could be more difficult. There will need to be passport and customs control at the border, slowing down the travel between the countries.


The reality will be expenses and stressful for those who live and work in England and Scotland, and for what? Some ancient pride that has little barring on a modern country. Common sense said we should be headed, over many years, to a united Europe and then a united world, not separating into smaller countries. And if Scotland has independence, then Wales, could Cornwall be next???


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Getting involved with government


I believe to actually change Government, you can not sit on the sides moaning and throwing stones, but rather you need to get involved with government and work with them, whoever they are. My aim is to make life a better place for all disabled people by working with those with power, which political party they are. I have spent many years getting myself into a position where the government is listening to me on my terms.


It is my ambition to be a government advisor on the big ideas as well as the small print. While I know my critics think I like the government of the day with rose coloured specs,

 but I am no one’s puppet although I know how to work with people, I support or berate the government of the day policy by policy, action by action, detail by detail and I will tell my honest opinion when asked to anyone prepared to give me the respectful time of day.


I acknowledge there was a time some years ago for Direct Action, when disability was not on the agenda, but now it is and we live in a world of a more approachable and connected government, so it is the time to get involved, not revert to thug like opposition.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  


Transparent priorities


I fear one of the problems with any government, national or local, is they are not very good is being transparent or consistent in their priorities and how they are implemented. We can not often come onboard with what the government is doing because we do not know what they are trying to do as their aims may lack a consistent strategy. We can then not measure how well they are doing because we often do not know what they are trying to achieve.


An manifesto is only a bundle of promises to be broken, what we need is a government, once in power to be upfront and transparent in great details with their plans and priorities so we can hold them better to account.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  


If this was a Labour government


If we had a Labour Government implementing the necessary welfare reforms instead of the Coalition government, would people be reacting with so much hostility? Well, I have come to the conclusion that probably not and that a lot of the so-called anti-cuts protests or in fact anti-tory protests by trade unionists, socialists and those institutionalised into the victimhood of being ‘proudly working class’. 


Disability has specifically and wrongly been used as a major political weapon against the government for ideological reasons by people who have often no understanding of what they talking about, or any awareness of the consequences of their own prejudices against disabled people as inferior beings is having on the fabric of society, taking attitudes against disabled people back 50 years. 


If this was a Labour government, I feel people would accept the reforms since that is not what they are really complaining about.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  


Setting big picture goals


I believe one people with this government as well as governments in general is that they have not set clear big picture goals in which to pin all its policies on. It talks about cutting costs but it is a goal which is not being implemented as strongly as people may realise which so much waste being created by this government. 


Many of the big goals of government are there and have always been there regardless of who was in powerful like reducing crime, effective justice, full employment and so on, although have not been strategically followed through. I believe every penny spent by the government must be linked to achieving these top goals in one way or another, which should be clear and transparent.


It is only which we have a government clear about its goals and its plans to achieve them will we have a government accountable to its citizens.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  


Citizen Involvement is key


I believe in order to successfully turn the bigger government policies into detailed effective practice, it is  important to involve the citizens the policy will affect in all stages of its development and implementation. This is about going far beyond what is often meaningless consultations and actually involve citizens as partners in the policy, taking some responsibility for the success. It is about involving many citizens in many ways, some small some fundamentally large, and ensuring those citizens who take a paid large role are accountable to all the citizens who do not or can not have an involvement.


By involving citizens at all levels, it will create a level of ownership which will enable the policy to be more successfully implemented in a new way of co-produced governance.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  


Complaints or Constructive Criticism


Its could be argued that a lot of people find it easy to complain, but if you really want to make a change than you need to provide constructive criticism. I regard complaining as simply saying what is wrong with something in your opinion, so what you do not like. But what does this actually achieve apart from letting off steam? The hard part is actually figuring out how do make something work better for the benefit of yourself and others.


I am good at providing constructive criticism rather than just complaining, it is often how I open the door into getting paid work. When it comes to accessibility and disability issues, I can often be on auto-pilot as I point out to others what I see. If more people chose to give constructive criticism rather than just complaining I believe the world was indeed be a better place!


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  

Well, the taxpayers pays for everything, don’t they?!


This was the remark made by a fellow ILF users and so-called activists when I challenged her to why she supported the high court case, as a waste of money, and I think it is a remark which really sums up the arrogance that now exists within the so-called movement. We have a generation of middle class disability activists who entire existence is funded by the state. Even if the work it is an user-led charity which receives public money since the charity is paid to control the voice of disabled people.


So with their socialist values, they have led themselves to believe the state revolves around them and that they are not responsibility to others. It is an attitude we must challenge and conquer if we can ever achieve true equality for disabled people.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email  


The bedroom tax


I live in a three bedroom place, one bedroom is for myself, one is for my live-in volunteer and the third ‘bedroom’ is my office, where I am typing this article. This means as someone on housing benefit with one “spare” bedroom I am going to be affected by the bedroom tax and there is not a lot I can do about it.


The ironic thing is I actually agree with the principles of the tax but I am not sure it has been properly thought through. The aim was to free up social housing by encouraging people to transfer down to properties when they had spare rooms but the fact pensioners are except when they are the ones who are holding onto homes too big for them means the whole point has been lost.


I think that in the end people on the high rate of care component of DLA will be except from the tax because there are so many different and valid reason why a disabled people with support needs may need a spare room. The media are going to be full of very reasonable examples of why it is not working for disabled people and the government will be force to concede the point within the next six months.


We need to wait and see how far the mess with the bedroom tax goes.


If you like what I say, have a look at my site at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email