Meanwhile, A4e's Mark Lovell (who is "in charge of A4e", according to the Spectator - but then the company seems to have a number of bosses) says that we're wrong about there being no jobs. In the Spectator interview he assures us that, "We have never been in an economy where there aren’t suitable jobs for the people who walk through our doors." He quotes the ONS figure of 500,000 vacancies in the Jobcentres, and says that this is only one third of the total. This will come as a surprise to those who know that a great many of the vacancies in the Jobcentres are not jobs at all, but spurious "home working opportunities" and adverts by agencies. Still, Lovell is clear about A4e's value. "During a recession you tend to find that employers often do more by word-of-mouth recruitment. The role of brokers who put people in touch with these opportunities is even more important during the recessionary cycle." The writer of the article, Peter Hoskin, doesn't question this, or bring up the embarrassing statistics.
Another of the government's big ideas is that groups of workers in the public sector should turn themselves into "mutual pathfinders", becoming independent co-operatives. Just once, in the election campaign, a spokesman let slip the real agenda - that these mutuals would then be able to bid for contracts. There's nothing of that in the piece on the Thirdsector website. We are not to suspect that this is a prelude to privatisation, when the mutuals will be outbid by the private companies. But there's a small clue in the fact that A4e is one of the organisations which will provide mentors for these new mutuals.