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Could Esther McVey be Thatcher's successor?

Larry Neild on how the Liverpool-born 'public enemy' is Middle England's rising star

Written by . Published on January 29th 2014.


Could Esther McVey be Thatcher's successor?
 

SHE may be regarded as political Public Enemy Number One among Merseyside's opposition activists. But peer into the future some years and could Esther McVey ever become Britain's second female tenant at 10 Downing Street? 

Commentators have heaped praise on the Conservative member for Wirral West since her recent call for young people to think small when job hunting. Starting at the bottom, as a lowly paid employee in a coffee shop is no bad thing, says the former television presenter and ex-pupil of Belvedere School in Liverpool. 

The trouble is, many of the casualties of the War Against Benefits are vulnerable people in genuine need. Far too many have fallen victim to the hurdles thrown in their path by draconian policies

The Labour movement in and around Liverpool have made Esther McVey one of their main targets in the run up to next year’s general election. They launched an “Esther McWho” drive as they headed to the posh environs of Hoylake and West Kirby to woo voters back to the Milliband camp. 

Wishful thinking aside, few people today would use the term McWho, given the meteoric rise up the political greasy pole since her election in 2010. After a spell as the Minister for the Disabled, Esther McVey is now the Minister for Employment, and is fast carving herself a reputation at Westminster as credible front-bench material. 

Deborah Meaden, Queen of Dragon’s Den, was so glowing in that bastion of Conservatism., the Daily Mail, you’d have thought she was the unofficial leader of the McVey Cheerleaders Club.

Fan Deborah MeadenFan: Deborah Meaden

Currently touring the UK on the Strictly Come Dancing bus, Ms Meaden leafed through the papers to catch up on what was happening away from the dance floor.

“It was after reading the Mail I whooped so loud that up that up and down the bus headphones were coming off and everyone was looking to see what on earth had happened.

“And what had happened…newspaper headlines reporting a Government minister talking common sense for once. That minister was the brilliant Esther McVey, the bubbly Liverpudlian who gave up an exciting career in TV to become an MP and who has already reached impressive heights by becoming Employment Minister. Well, she could rise even further if she keeps talking the sound common sense that she articulated so fluently.”

During her spell as Minister for the Disabled, McVey was villified for the way she dragged claimants off their benefits.

The Liberal Democrat Disability Association called on David Cameron to sack her. It was after she commented (again in the Mail) that she would go after “bogus” claimants of disability benefits, stating that one in 17 could receive the allowance within five years if the current rate continued.

"When Maria Miller was removed from the job of Minister for Disabled People, people celebrated. But it turns out her replacement, Esther McVey, is no better. In fact, she may be worse," a petition by the LDDA read.

In her interview, McVey also said only three per cent of people are born with a disability with the rest acquiring it through accident or illness. But, she contends that people can come out of it thanks to modern medicine and medical advances which help bodies to completely heal.

In the wake of Government enforced medical checks, around 900,000 people dropped their claims for incapacity benefit rather than take medical tests.

Of those who took the work capability tests, 837,000 were considered fit to work immediately and another 367,300 were considered able to do some level of work - adding up to more than 2m people considered no longer eligible for incapacity benefit.

The trouble is, many of the casualties of the take-no-prisoners War Against Benefits are vulnerable people in genuine need. Far too many of them have fallen victim to the hurdles thrown in their path by draconian policies. This, and bad or botched administration of benefits by the DWP, regularly makes headlines, not least when an individual takes their own life.

Once described as Tory Minister for Encouraging Hatred of Disabled, the on-line blog Eyes Left pulled no punches in its view of McVey.

“Esther McVey spends much of her time sucking up to her bosses, the prime minister, 'Deckchair Dave' (on the off-chance that  he's actually in the country), and the much hated and vile IDS, in the vain hope that she will be noticed and promoted to something more senior in Government. I hope she isn't holding her breath, after all she "talks funny" and the Tories already have one token Northerner in the very large form of Eric Pickles.

Esther McveyEsther McVey: Villified by the left

“However, there may be a small chance of an opening for a female 'Northern brown nosing creep' I suppose, and Esther McVey, certainly fills that brief! Every time I see this woman on the TV what she is actually saying gets drowned out by her very loud metaphorical shouting and overt body language screaming; "hey notice me, I'm blonde, I'm female and I'm Northern, pick me, pick me, please pick me Dave, please, pretty please.”

It goes on: “May be Cameron and IDS thought that Esther McVey's past experience in her family's business of demolition and site clearance would be asset to the DWP?  After all they are the government who are viciously bulldozing the lives of disabled people and exiting leaving a trail of death, suicide and destruction behind them.

“What next for McVey? Kicking away blind people's white canes? Repossessing electric wheelchairs from people who can barely walk and also have minimal use in their upper limbs? Taking away disabled people's cars rendering them prisoners in their own homes and forcing many to give up the jobs they have struggled to hold? Too late, if she wants to get on in this hideous government she'll have to find new ways to assault the disabled as IDS is already doing all of the above.”

I’ve interviewed McVey (who has recently submitted plans to Liverpool City Council for a major building project opposite Waterloo Warehouse) many times. There is no doubt she is a hard working politician and willing, eager even, to stand by the policies she passionately promotes.

The fact is many comfortably off, able-bodied people picking up their Daily Mail in middle England are likely to support the work of Esther McVey and her front bench colleagues determined to slash the welfare bill.

Nevertheless, who knows? Maybe one day there will be rallies at the end of Downing Street to the strains of "Esther, Esther, Esther …. Out, Out, Out."

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54 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

Those quotes from eyes left blog - more than a bit of misogyny about them.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

Good point, and that sort of comment only serves to detract from the real issues unfortunately. Esther McVey's foes and victims have plenty to go on without resorting to this

John BradleyJanuary 29th 2014.

and these pics of Esther show she is quiet to prepared to use her sexuality and appearance, when it suits her. Thank god Thatcher or May never did this. www.dailymail.co.uk/…/The-racy-photo-shoot-rising-Tory-star-Esther-McVey-forget.html… Mind you pictures like this have not done other modern day dictators like Putin any harm.

AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

Our very own Sarah Palin. She should volunteer for Scope for a month and then see what she thinks about "modern medicine" and how it can "heal" disability.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Doctor NookieJanuary 29th 2014.

And of course, modern medicine is only available to the well off now that the NHS is being dismantled.

AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

Utter shite, have you visited a hospital lately? Was it full of toffs?

Sir Lancelot SprattJanuary 30th 2014.

Why yes, by gad! Couldn't move for all the top hats.

Angry of AllertonJanuary 29th 2014.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, this from one of our own.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

It's a democracy, it's not some sort of betrayal to have diferent political views.

Grove ParkJanuary 30th 2014.

One of YOUR own, Allerton boy! i have no connection whatever with this evil and offensive person.

Tony KellyJanuary 29th 2014.

The poison dwarf, I Can't believe a scouser who is so callous and unsympathetic to the plight of the poor and infirm, let her achieve her 5 minutes of infamy, as there is no chance she will be in power in 2015, shame on you, you inconsiderate bitch.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

She may well keep her power in 2015. So far there is no credible opposition.

AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

More shite, so all scousers are meant to be the same, like chirpy jokers who are just like you? Do me favour

Dicky SamJanuary 31st 2014.

'Scousers' are a 1970s invention. I wish they'd clear off back to where they came from, take their Oldham Echo with them and leave us Liverpudlians in peace

AnonymousDecember 24th 2014.

She's no scouser.

scouse690January 29th 2014.

She should learn to listen!! Stop talking OVER people and show some empathy. She is an embarrassment to the Conservative party, scousers, and females. But especially to everyone with genuine mental, medical and physical disabilities. Only a fraction of these conditions happen from birth, the majority are linked to medical conditions e.g Cancer, MS, Motor Neurone Disease, chronic mental diseases, early dementia, brain abnormalities including Tumours...NONE of which can be cured by "Modern Medicine" . I'm sure the list must be longer, but I have lost friends, family and friends' family, with these conditions, in the last 10 years. They were aged between 30 and 52. She needs to get out more, learn more about what she is talking about and stop looking upon people as "numbers".

AnonymousJanuary 29th 2014.

Good article but Heswall is in Wirral South constituency, whose MP is the Labour Alison McGovern. Although Alison has a majority a lot small than even Esther McVey's.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
EditorialJanuary 30th 2014.

Slip of the keys. Well spotted Anon and changed. Thanks.

Dick ShunneryJanuary 30th 2014.

Whilst you are about it, check your OED and amend "villified" (sic)

Square EyesJanuary 30th 2014.

She "gave up an exciting career in TV" - She was Mal Young's girlfriend wasn't she? It's not what you know, it's WHO you know.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyJanuary 30th 2014.

It is not who you know, but who you blow, or do blow with. Redmond's right hand man in the scalisation of Liverpool, and the man behind Desperate Scousewives and attempt to further degrade the brand.

Square EyesJanuary 30th 2014.

I take it Bradders that you haven't done 'How Scouse Are You?' quiz on the Oldham Echo's website?

John BradleyJanuary 30th 2014.

I looked at the first page realised it was beef in the Scouse, so knew it was a crap test.

Kirk DaleJanuary 30th 2014.

With a Belvedere education and a Wirral Tory seat her north-end accent is presumably a bit of professional scouserism. Does she play golf with Tarby?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Warbreck MoorJanuary 30th 2014.

She's certainly hard-faced. You could open beer bottles on that grid.

Ann FieldJuly 16th 2014.

And that accent and voice grates. She sounds like a patronising Wirral hairdresser.

Charlotte StreetJanuary 30th 2014.

That Deborah Meaden can't be that bright. As any primary school pupil knows, dragons live in a LAIR not a den; dens are where lions live. But she's another bottle-blonde ignoramus who is unaccountably prominent in our increasingly shallow-minded and Americanised country

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Barry Stuart-HargreavesJanuary 30th 2014.

Yes! I bet she refers to 'Strictly Come Dancing' as "stricklee" as do all vapid mountebanks and bletherskites.

Yvonne Stuart-HargreavesJanuary 30th 2014.

That Esther McVey is hardly top-drawer either.

Margo LeadbetterJanuary 31st 2014.

'GMTV' indeed!

True BritonJanuary 30th 2014.

"Welfare bill" Mr. Neild? This is not America. We do not have 'welfare' we have social security, despite the efforts of an increasing right-wing media and political establishment to change the way we speak and think.

Ramsey CampbellJanuary 30th 2014.

"Welfare bill" is not an Americanism, though the use of "welfare" as a stand-alone term may have become one (even though Arnold Bennett was using it in 1918). "Welfare state" has been a British term since the fifties.

8 Responses: Reply To This...
The Beverage RetortJanuary 30th 2014.

'Welfare state' describes a civilised society with a national insurance scheme to act as a safety net. The word 'welfare' is used as an accusatory insult at those who are unable to make a living by formerly conventional means, i.e., having a secure job that put a roof over a family's head and food on the table. At one time these were merely the bereaved, the disabled and the chronically sick. At present even those who have what passes for a job these days are reliant upon benefits. Those who refer to these payments as "welfare" imply that all such people are idlers, criminals and fraudsters taking something they do not deserve or are entitled to.

AnonymousJanuary 30th 2014.

"idlers, criminals and fraudsters taking something they do not deserve or are entitled to" - a perfect description of landlords.

Mine's a PintJanuary 31st 2014.

Most of the so-called "welfare bill" is paid to landlords as Housing Benefit. That's £45 BILLION a year, just to make landlords richer at the taxpayers' expense.

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2014.

There's me thinking it was to put a roof over someone's head, must have got it wrong

Mine's a Johnny WalkerJanuary 31st 2014.

Mine's a Pint is completely correct. Anonymous, you are extremely naive

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2014.

Anon is spot on houseing benefit is to pay the cost of housing people. buildings dont come free you know.

Mine's a Johnny WalkerJanuary 31st 2014.

Until Margaret Thatcher allowed right to buy, the UK had one of the biggest social housing stocks of any nation in the world and rents were capped. Her Housing Act of 1988 expanded private sector financial input into social housing development, and introduced assured shorthold tenancies and higher rents that could be set by private landlords at the market value. Owing to Rackman style slumlords in the 1960s, all of this bad practice had previously been abolished by a Labour government. Thatcher's measures left the housing benefit bill to take the strain, which swelled to five times its original size to almost £25bn a year today, most of that money swelling the bank accounts of speculative property owners making a fortune from letting

AliJanuary 31st 2014.

Mines a Johnny Walker - you are absolutely spot on!!!

Emma BJanuary 30th 2014.

The Beveridge Retort - how about welfare advisors then? Even Thatcher and Tebbit were from a working class background and attended State schools, unlike Est Est Est. So bad they named her thrice.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
The Beverage RetortJanuary 31st 2014.

No they weren't. Thatcher went to a fee-paying Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School which got her into Oxford. Tebbit was a journalist before the RAF trained him as a pilot at public expense and he became a very well paid airline pilot. Hardly hewers of stone or factory workers.

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2014.

I think tebbit might have volunteered to defend his country and fellow citizens as a pilot in the RAF and they trained him to do that. So what if he becomes a comercial pilot after that whats he suposed to do, forget how to fly a plane? If we equip people with skills so they can serve their country we shouldnt damn them for using those skills, we should just be glad they are willing to step forward in our defence.

John BradleyJanuary 31st 2014.

If Tebbit joined up it was to protect the status quo from his fellow citizens.

The Beverage RetortJanuary 31st 2014.

Anonymous, I was merely pointing out the Tebbit and Thatcher weren't working class and only Tebbit went to a state school. I wasn't damning him for his skills (supplied by the taxpayer) and the fortune he made with them afterwards. Get a grip man!

Emma BJanuary 31st 2014.

How patronising of The Beveridge Retort again. I hadn't realised we working class couldn't be journalists and had to work in factories! Incidentally, a scholarship got Thatcher in unlike Esther who paid was my point.

Twerking Class HeroJanuary 31st 2014.

By definition journalism is a middle class occupation, and ws moreso in Tebbit's day.

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2014.

I'm surprised all you dreary, po-faced, earnest, right on types have missed the obvious point? You'd do her wouldn't ya?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Nobby CheesemanJanuary 31st 2014.

Not even with yours, thank you very much.

Steve HendonJuly 15th 2014.

I'd do her alright, with a blunt instrument !

John BradleyJuly 15th 2014.

Would that be your wit.

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