Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Proud to work?

The DWP Press Office has been infamous for a long time.  It's staffed by civil servants who are supposed to adhere to the Civil Service Code, which says that they should have "integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality".  But perhaps they're working under the direction of the DWP's Director of Communications, Richard Caseby, who appears to have no such scruples (he's a former managing editor of the Sun).  Back in January the Press Office put out a press release referring to "welfare hand-outs", a term the Daily Mail obligingly repeated.  Then last week came this:
There was no pretence that this was anything other than straight-forward propaganda.  Objective and impartial it was most certainly not.  But I bet the intern (unpaid?) who gets to do the graphics has fun.

Today they attempted a rather different Twitter campaign, one which the Press Office didn't invent but which has decidedly sinister overtones.  It's called "Proud to Work", and it seems to be the creation of the ERSA, the work programme providers' trade body - but clearly they are all working together with this.  The DWP re-tweeted the highly dubious statement that the "Work Programme will deliver £18bn to economy".  Immediately afterwards came re-tweets of stuff from Interserve, A4e and Working Links (not on this screen capture).

What I find most disturbing about this is the "proud to work" tag.  It's subtle.  It suggests that those who are not working are not proud, have no pride.  It suggests that unemployment is voluntary, the result of lack of self-respect.  Perhaps it suggests other things to you.

Is there anything that can be done about the DWP Press Office?  Not at this stage in the parliament, I think.  There doesn't seem to be any mechanism for opposition MPs to complain about it effectively.  What it proves, however, very clearly, is that this government, and Iain Duncan Smith in particular, work closely with the right-wing press to spread lies and damaging propaganda.  If they win in 2015, it will only get worse.

10 comments:

  1. Is that "delivering £18bn to economy" delivering £18bn of free labour to tax dodging multinationals who would otherwise have had to pay Minimum Wage for it? And for whom is that a good deal?

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  2. What a load of bollix from the DWP. The truth is that the Work and Pensions Committee recently forced the DWP to admit that most of their “losses” are the result of errors by the DWP’s own staff. There is very little evidence of claimants committing Benefits frauds. Indeed, the W&P Cttee asked the DWP why they persist in using the inflammatory and misleading term, “Fraud and Error?”

    Most people know that IDS is so dim that he relies on lies and propaganda. He can’t come up with any rational, intelligent, truthful arguments,.which is why the Tories sacked him as their leader in 2003, but not before Newsnight had exposed IDS as a blatant liar who even falsified his own CV. IDS is not a man who anyone in the right mind admires or respects but David Cameron seems to be terrified of his tantrums.

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  3. ERSA,a self serving entity,I have noticed over the summer recess that very little has been said about the WP.
    At the Charity that I volunteer they agreed to take on MWA conscripts,this has now stopped Why? A4E dumped up to 8 people a week,after the 20 minute induction (and A4E could claim) they only wanted to be contacted if a sanction doubt needed to be raised.
    The Charity was sold by A4E on "It had a duty" to help the unemployed,they were unaware that A4E got a fee and that once paid,after induction they could keep the fee regardless of what happened to the "Volunteer"

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  4. The DWP's role is to provide information regarding Social Security it is not to attack benefit claimants. The above press release proves that the DWP is colluding with the Tories and the right-wing press to discredit those who claim Social Security. I wonder what view the DWP will take when Labour are in government? Shocking.

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  5. The Civil Service code quoted by Historian seems to be a thing of the past. These days every senior appointment seems to be done on a party political basis and the civil service as a whole skewed to serve the interests and agenda of the ruling party. Just look at the politicisation of the BBC for another example.
    This starts at the top with political appointments and quickly filters all the way down to the "foot soldiers" - those that meet face to face with the public.
    We should expect a lot more of this propaganda as the General Election approaches. Not only will it be the longest GE campaign in history but, I suspect, the dirtiest too.

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  6. ''Most obscure benefit fraud excuses''? Perhaps Richard Caseby would be so good as to publicise all of these in full: http://dwpunspun.org.uk/sanctions

    As for ''proud to work''. I do hope that anyone who buys into this propaganda takes note of how they treat others in work. Those charity collectors or ''chuggers'' who stop them on the local high street or city centre for example. I do hope they give that worker at least a couple of minutes of their time in the most courteous way possible and not make them feel small or insignificant by telling them to ''fornicate off'' or ignoring them. Even if they refuse to sign up.

    Or cold callers who call at their home or phone them in the middle of a meal, whilst taking a shower or their favourite TV program. Again, I do hop they treat such workers with dignity, whether they purchase what they have to offer or not. After all, if the examples I have given are supposed to be proud to work, then surely it's up to others who buy into this to make them feel proud too.

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  7. 'Proud to Work': just as bad as 'Rehab JobFit' .

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  8. This morning on the BBC, I heard briefly a report about ''attitude training for jobseekers''. Sadly I had to go out before I heard it in full. Any more news of this?

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  9. The “attitude test” seems to be the brainchild of Esther McVey according to the Torygraph last week:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11078359/Welfare-claimants-to-get-attitude-tests-employment-minister-reveals.html

    There seems to be a determination to cause Benefits claimants as much exasperation as possible.

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  10. the attitude tests are an australian thing originally... another excuse to take people off benefits because some dodgy psychometric test says they are "unwilling to work"... reminiscent of NAZI germany

    on another note does anyone have a working valid email for a4e in south east london?

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