Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Melanie Phillips on unemployment
Anyone interested in the issue of unemployment will want to listen to a Radio 4 programme at 8.00 pm next Monday and the following Monday. "Journalist Melanie Phillips embarks on a personal journey to explore what work means to some of the most vulnerable and socially-excluded people in Britain. Melanie is known for her uncompromising views on the 'workshy' beneficiaries of the welfare state but will her theories stand up in the face of the complex and difficult lives of the people she meets?" So says the BBC website. Phillips' "uncompromising views" are, in fact, increasingly common among those with no first-hand experience. "In this first programme," we read, "Melanie travels to the north-east of England to meet unemployed young people who are struggling to find their way into the labour market and a married couple who are desperate to move themselves into work and away from dependency." It will be interesting to see if there is any mention of New Deal and the various private companies involved. In episode 2 "Melanie spends time with cleaners and catering staff working on the minimum wage and asks what motivates them to work. Would Melanie's own assiduous work ethic survive night shifts, low pay and cleaning lavatories?" Good question, but I suspect the answer is yes.