Saturday, 24 April 2010

A good time to bash the unemployed

The BBC is to broadcast a Panorama programme about the young unemployed, tomorrow 26 April at 8.30 pm. It returns to a programme they filmed in 2007 about four young unemployed people in Swindon. "The programme first met them in 2007 and set them real-life Apprentice-style work challenges, with dramatic results. Since then the recession has struck, and hit Swindon - and their prospects - hard. How have they responded?" (BBC website) Today's Times gives us a taste of what is in this programme. "The former government minister Lord Jones has suggested that unemployed young people who refuse to look for a job should be “starved back to work” rather than continue to claim thousands of pounds in benefits." It's predictable stuff. "One of the pair, who were from middle-class families, told Jones that he and his girlfriend were paid about £12,000 a year in jobseeker’s allowance and housing benefit, and there was no reason for them to look for work. This is equivalent to a gross income of £15,000-£16,000." Shocking. And Jones' conclusion? "He said that while looking for a job, claimants should carry out community work — such as cleaning lavatories or removing graffiti — or study at college. While he did not support forced starvation, he believed anyone who refused three offers of jobs should lose the dole and be put in hostels and given “subsistence rations” of food and water. Jones said: “I’d say to them, ‘Sorry, mate, you have just surrendered your choices in life’.”"
The comments on the article are equally predictable. But the unemployed will be asking the obvious question. Where do those job offers come from? As we've pointed out before, you are not handed a job, you have to go out and ask for it. And no government, whatever the rhetoric, is going to create jobs specifically for the unemployed; and no government (one sincerely hopes) is going to change the law to remove the concept of the personal allowance, the minimum someone needs to live on.
It's a good time for the right-wing press to carry articles like this. It's less obvious why the BBC should choose an election campaign to run programmes like this. - hard. How have they responded?s. Since then the recession has struck, and hit Swindon - and their prospects - hard. How have they responded?


  1. Jones is living on another galaxy, let alone planet!

    Three main points he should seriously consider before making ashemedly populist comments without any forthought on 'common' sense.

    Firstly, I have cleaned toilets and mopped floors in the past working for cleaning contractors. However, I was paid a wage! If Jones wants people to clean toilets and clean graffiti, then fine. However, by doing so, you're admitting this work needs to be done. If so, then employ such people on a full and part time basis and PAY them at least the nat min wage! Unless, he sees such work as nothing more than non-productive punishment, similar to doing a spell of community service!

    Secondly, what will he say to those who already clean tiolets (I hope he's aware that public toilets are a rarity these days), scrub away graffiti and clean the streets? What happens not if, but WHEN their hours are cut back and they eventually lose thier jobs? Will they then be 'rehired' to work for benefits only? What guarantees will he give to ensure people working for benefits will not be used to undercut those in regular employment? Such uses of workfare has already hppened in the US.

    Thirdly, if he want's to see the crime rate rocket, then the govt should do as he suggests. After all, some may see a prison as not too dissimilar to a hostel providing "bread and water".

    As per ususual, a lot of heat but not much light from a rent-a-gob who likes the sound of his own voice rather TOO much!

  2. Once again, a classic example of those who are prepared to put in the time and effort into finding a job getting tarred with the same brush as those who refuse to work.

    I for one won't be watching this - I'll be too busy looking for a job!


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