What did the Government get right in 2013? And what did it get wrong?

We asked our columnists this question and here's what they had to say

Share

 

Grace Dent: Right: recognised that marriage equality for gay people was the cornerstone of a fairer, happier society. Wrong: sneered at food banks and the hungry individuals using them.  

Jane Merrick: Right: undoubtedly, the economy. George Osborne’s austerity strategy of last three years was proven right and recovery is underway. Wrong: the flipside of this is believing that the economy is protected from another housing bubble, which all the experts say it is not.

Archie Bland: I can't think of a nastier innovation than the new rule stating that you have to earn at least £18,600 to sponsor your spouse for a Visa: it will split up thousands of families, and distributes rights according to income. They got it right on gay marriage, and about time.

Lisa Markwell: I have measured support for the free school movement because it has allowed special schools for children with disabilities and different needs to be catered for (although in other aspects, education has been royally ballsed up). What it got wrong look as if it might have been right – Help to Buy fired up the property market, just as we needed… but it went too far and now we are in panic mode.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Stood up to populism and kept its international aid budget. The list is too long for what the Government got wrong - but worst of all was making poverty a crime.

John Rentoul: David Cameron's promise in January of a referendum on Europe was right in democratic principle and in historical necessity. The Help to Buy scheme by which government guaranteed home loans was stupid on stilts. 

Andreas Whittam Smith: Putting the plan to make a military intervention in Syria to a vote in the House of Commons and accepting the negative result.

Ellen E Jones: I'm very happy that legislation to allow same-sex marriage was passed this July.  Nick Clegg's Christmas card was also quite amusing. Wrong: pretty much everything else, but in particular exacerbating the housing crisis with Help to Buy and exacerbating poverty with the systematic dismantling of the welfare state.  

Stefano Hatfield: Right: keeping interest rates low, falling unemployment, presenting UK as a good place to do business for multi-nationals, reaching out to China, gay marriage, maintaining commitment to overseas aid. Wrong: Bedroom Tax, endless and incompetent tinkering with exam system, misguided A&E closures, HS2, failure to clamp down on zero hours contracts, blindness to wage poverty, blindness to housing market bubble and the suffering it causes, constant false dialogue about shirkers and immigrants, refusal to tackle Big Six energy providers.

Owen Jones: Right: the lifting of the ban on same-sex couples marrying. The fact this happened with the Tories in office - despite their history of supporting homophobic laws, and many of their MPs being stuck in the 18th century - shows how far this country has come. But the real credit should go to the LGBT activists, often airbrushed out of history, who fought for equality despite facing ridicule and persecution, and at great cost and sacrifice to themselves. Wrong: Virtually everything else. A quarter of women in work now slave away for poverty wages. Half a million people depend on food banks. A million families a month are dependent on another booming industry, legal loan sharks. The Big Six energy companies are able to hold millions of consumers to ransom. The jobs being created are low-wage, temporary, zero-hour or part-time. This is also the worst so-called economic recovery for over a century. The sooner we get rid of this rabble, the better.

Read our columnists' answers to these questions:

What will 2013 be remembered for?

Who is your person of the year?

What’s the best thing you’ve read this year?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Time Served Fabricator / Welders - Immediate Start

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Advisors

£14564 - £15311 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Adviso...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the Labour leadership election hasn’t yet got to grips with why the party lost

John Rentoul
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific