On Tuesday 8th November, the welfare reform bill Grand Committee debated Time Limiting ESA to one year.
Bns Hollis (Lab leader) pushed Lord Freud (Gov sponsor of the bill) to provide a financial breakdown of how much the measure would cost.
In reply, Lord Freud seemed to say, quite clearly,
"Well my Lords, you can see the process here clearly as you move through the bulge of effectively, stock, taking on the transfer from IB to ESA....."
As you might imagine, twitter (we were live tweeting the debate to a wider audience) immediately exploded with indignation. "Did he just call us STOCK?" one person asked and many tweets followed, astounded to hear us referred to in such inhumane terms.
Stock - what does it make you think of? Cattle? Commodities? Perhaps when discussing human beings there are worse connotations.
Well, it would appear that the Hansard report has this transcript,
"My Lords, one can clearly see the process here, as you move through the bulge, of stopping as you take on the transfer from IB to ESA."
This now makes no sense at all. I am assured that the job of those transcribing for Hansard is to make sense where they believe someone has spoken in error or where the grammar is not clear. With this in mind, perhaps they simply could not discern Freud's meaning and changed it to this garbled phrase.
However, it seems rather coincidental that a word that caused such offence, such fear and shock, should be the very word unavailable for posterity.
I'll leave you to judge. You can watch from 17.43 and decide for yourselves.