There are proper concerns about the effect of being long-term unemployed. Soul-destroying, alienating, unhealthy and uncivilised, the cumulative effects in a region can be awful. Lack of self-esteem and initiative produces a deadening dispiriting aura. Travel through many semi-abandoned towns with high streets full of pound shops, charity shops, payday loan companies and masses of gambling joints and wonder - how has it come to this?
There are many varieties of long-term unemployment. Thanks to Thatcher laying waste to vast industrial regions in the 80’s, we have generational unemployment where several members of the same family have never worked. There are people in their 50’s deemed surplus to requirements and made redundant who find companies not interested in taking them on. Proud capable people caught by circumstance find themselves labelled as lazy layabouts and worthless. There are also the chronically idle who will work very hard to avoid anything resembling ‘work’.
The people generically labelled shirkers by silver-spoonfed politicians, themselves members of the Etonocracy, remote and arrogant, find that they are once again used as whipping boys. Iain Duncan Smith (who ‘scrounges’ on his wife’s estate) was at it again yesterday. There is something terribly Victorian about IDS. He knows what is best for the lower orders. And by jingo he will do his damnedest to see that they are ‘dealt with.’
His latest wheeze is another triumph for ideology over reason. Across the country the long term unemployed are to report to their local job centre every day and stay there for 7 hours each day. This is weird. Doing what? “Improving their CV” --- oh, right, that will keep them occupied. Think about the implications for job centre staff and the potential for further problems. We treat criminals better. A community service sentence involves putting something back by doing unpaid work in the area. What is to stop the unemployed being given something practical to do for their money and self-esteem? In the past during hard times there were big civic projects created to provide gainful employment.
No chance with this bunch, who are set on dividing and ruling with plans to turn the gullible onto the unfortunate. The Victorians used a treadmill to keep the destitute and unworthy ‘occupied’. They also cherished workhouses for the poor.
Watch this space....
Meanwhile, the banking criminals who fiddled the Libor rate continue to get away with it. It would not have anything to do with the the involvement of a former Tory party treasurer would it?