Thursday 19 February 2015

Cameron Pushes Workfare

Our "fearless leader" has once again confirmed his party's commitment to forcing young people who are out of work to do unpaid civic labour. This is one of the subjects I've written about the most on HPANWO and I hardly need to reiterate to regular HPANWO-readers the enormous practical and moral hurdles I've identified therein; please see the background links below for more details. At a speech on Tuesday the Prime Minister David Cameron discussed the Conservative Party's welfare and benefits manifesto for May's General Election. The content of his address is not as significant as its style. Look at the kind of language he uses: He begins by stating that he wishes to abolish youth unemployment which he then goes on to describe as if it's some kind of bad habit, like smoking or dangerous driving, that a cultural change will alleviate. The current benefits protocol will be replaced with a "youth allowance" which will force young unemployed people to do daily "community service". He doesn't want young people to be "sucked into a life on welfare!" and a "life of inactivity!". Cameron has said this before and suggested every solution imaginable... except creating real jobs. He thinks young people need more "order and discipline!" as if this alone is the sole reason they're out of work at all, see: We don't need "work experience"; we need work! You might think: "Right, if that's the Tories' attitude I'm going to vote Labour instead!" But that would be pointless. The Labour Party under Ed "Fabian Society" Miliband claim to oppose Cameron's workfare scheme, but they will have something very similar lined up. Most of the reforms that led to unwaged dole claimants pushing pallets at Poundland were cooked up during Tony Blair's and Gordon Brown's premiership. Sadly the vox populi video further down on the BBC article features only people who support the idea too; and they demonstrate, very inarticulately, that they're totally unaware of the drawbacks of workfare that I've realized. The government has also revealed that it would like to sanction benefits for overweight people who refuse treatment, whatever that "treatment" might entail, see: More and more being out of work leads your lives being effectively owned by the authorities. We are seeing of a return to debtors bonding and workhouses. As has happened before, another news story has emerged at around the same time to try and balance out the impact of the original one. According to Office of National Statistics, unemployment has fallen to 1.86 million, see: The optimistic headline is not qualified in any detail, indicating that the figures could have once more been massaged. How many of this "fall in unemployment" involves jobs paid above the minimum wage? Are people on JSA work placements counted? The work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has boasted that the new Universal Credit is "under budget"; yes, because so many are being sanctioned! Here he is being grilled by John Snow, one of the few decent TV current affairs presenters left: IDS makes my blood boil. I sometimes wonder what he would look like being made to stack shelves in Tesco after having both his legs broken. Would be able to carry the boxes on his lap in his wheelchair? Then he can work! I couldn't give ATOS about him if he dies quite frankly. I myself have been approached by somebody working in the employment and benefits system who describes terrible institutional corruption that means many people's benefits are cut unjustly, see:


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben. Hope all is well. Thank you foir the article. I was having this discussion recently, you covered all the same aspect that I did in the conversation. It is indeed a return to the workhouse and debtors prisons only with a less grim outer garb, though the principal is still grim. I have been out of work for a few months now and refuse to get into the indignity and indifference of JSA. Job seekers in terms of forced unpaid work, lack of interest in your personal skills/qualifications and via their own sites that is organised within highly constrained and limited pathways that are detrimental in the long and short term. Id rather wait for a tax rebate in April and scratch my existence through the meantime with some dignity. Take care my friend

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Hi, X. Great minds etc! You're welcome; glad you liked it. Well done for resisting the indignity of falling into the dehumanizing system. Good luck, mate. Hope it all works out for you. It will hopefully be an inspiration to others :-)

Anonymous said...

Cheers Ben.