Thanks to a correspondent for drawing my attention to this item on Channel 4 News tonight; I missed it. It vindicates what many people have been saying, on this blog and elsewhere. The Universal Jobmatch website is vulnerable to hackers stealing your personal data, simply because no one is checking whether the vacancies advertised are genuine. And people are being told, by Jobcentre and Work Programme staff, that they were obliged to sign up when they're not. A good bit of work by a group of "hackers" - though they didn't have to actually hack the site to expose its failures, just register as employers using clearly false details.
You will not have noticed any references to the Work Programme in all the discussion of the Chancellor's financial plans this week. I wonder why that is. But when you got over the blow about benefits effectively being cut, you may have noticed something of a backlash in the media. Osborne began his attack with the usual reference to hard-working people going off to work in the morning while their neighbours, "living a life on benefits", slept in. But the opposition and commentators were quick to point out that 60% of working age benefits go to people who are in work. Not that that bothered Osborne, who talked about "fairness". And it didn't bother the Express, which talked about "Britain's benefits free-for-all" and "state handouts", deliberately ignoring the truth (so what else is new?). Now the Guardian has reported that Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Business Secretary, didn't like Osborne's rhetoric much. "Cable .... distanced himself from the way in which the chancellor had sold his squeeze on welfare benefits in his autumn statement, saying he identified with those claimants who resented being regarded as a scrounger. 'I think that kind of approach and language is completely wrong. I made it fairly clear that that stuff about people being unemployed at home with the curtains drawn is not the way, certainly, I would have addressed it. I think most people out there are looking for work, most people in this country are very conscientious, and we should do what we can to support them.'" Good. It needs more people to say that. The government is playing a game with the Labour party by introducing legislation on this below-inflation rise in benefits, daring them to oppose it. Maybe they'll have the courage to do so.
The Huffington Post has published an interesting article headed "Work Programme increases hardship and makes little difference to compliance". At last, some common sense.
So are we beginning to see just a glimmer of the turning of the tide? Maybe not. But we live in hope.