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That Shrinking Feeling

Walking back from Tesco, two awkward shaped big bags of quality product in hand, I see a local women's clothing shop with the 'closing down sale' signage in the window. Always sad to see that happen, even as an anti-capitalist progressive liberal scrounger, though to be honest I have to admit that I can't see how such a place could have had much of a future as a boutique in a village. That aside (I'm not an expert on such things) it is sad. I always feel a little tug on the old heartstrings at such sights. They've only been there a few months. You get the impression, with such enterprises, that they are someone's dream venture. That carries with it a certain sense of naive charm (which of course may be completely unfair), so when the shop is seen to be at the end of it's life there's a feeling of sympathy. Besides I take no pleasure in seeing the owner left in debt either, which is always a possibility in such cases.

Returning home I see the headlines about a double dip recession threatening. Another quarter of contraction in the economy. This includes the Christmas period that I seem to recall (not so long ago!) was meant to have been pretty good all things considered; certainly no adverse weather affecting sales. If that quarter is in the mire, then I can't see how the next quarter, which I believe to be the determinant for the double dip status, will be any better.

Another quarter of failure to add to Osbourne's list of incompetence. Businesses such as the aforementioned boutique not getting support and people going out of work. All week we've had the welfare reform bill passing through parliament like a bad curry. There have been defeats along the way, but I doubt that will stop them. not when the likes of Lord (how the fuck he's a lord I do not know) Freud stoop to after hours shenanigans to get his amendments through. It's shameless.

Meanwhile the Work Programme and it's arch-zealot, Chris Grayling, continue unabated. Here is a man who will look at a blue sky and believe it to be yellow if it serves his own, poisonous, interests. Despite stinging criticism from almost everywhere, including all but 2 callers to Victoria Derbyshire's phone in on Tuesday, he simply refuses to believe that the WP is not delivering. The man is an ass. One of those 2 callers was a prisoner and, with due respect, he will find it easier on these schemes because his situation ticks certain boxes that open up doors and funding that aren't available for others. Another caller commented on how his wife's workplace was cutting her hours precisely because of the Work Programme sending essentially free staff to do her job. The government's own statistics estimate an average success rate of around 40-50% while the National Audit Office place it as just under 30%! So where does that leave the other 60+ % that won't be helped by a scheme Grayling and his masters have talked up to the heavens? Well they'll be fast tracked into unpaid work via the Community Action Programme (synonymous with Community Service I should think).

Frankly I see little to hope for right now. This government is conniving and plain evil. I don't see how cutting people's benefits to £26,000 makes for a better society. There are even concerns it's not going to save any money given the costs involved. How does cutting someone's income improve their chances of finding work and their 'employability' (another happy clappy corporate buzzword)? Yet we reward Stephen Hester, of RBS, by giving him a king's ransom! Shouldn't we cut his salary instead? Of course the government will laugh that right out of town.

Meanwhile Ed Merelybland continues his colourless ranting against the government. Come on man, it's an open goal! Even a slumbering idiot couldn't fail to point out that the government is completely wrong on all counts. Yet what happens in response? Cameron, a man I find to be incredibly calculating and snide, plays to the gallery by continuing to harp on about Labour borrowing it all, spending it all and breaking the bank. But here's the rub: in response to the news of a further contraction Osbourne puts it down to international factors. Unfortunately he can't quite bring himself to concede to Labour the same courtesy by admitting that the banking crisis was similarly international.

That's what we're dealing with: a coalition of liars and enablers. The Libdems sit back and enable the Tory government (that's what it really is) to get away with extraordinary policies that threaten thousands. Meanwhile the lying coalition are happy to take credit for labour policies they benefit from (such as Labour's own harsh welfare reforms - they introduced us to both David Freud and ATOS) while blaming them for all our current economic woes while using the same excuses as Labour. Anyone that cannot see Tory hypocrisy and the dissembling true nature of the right wing deserves all they get. I see no future in this country right now. None at all. Stay safe.

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I Fucking Hate the Work Programme

That did not go well.
My legs were wobbly to begin with as I closed in on the church that passes for the office of the employment wing of the Salvation Army. My appointment was 3 to half past. I really did feel sick. Pretty early on, when he asked for the forms he gave me last time to fill in, I knew that what was arranged on the letter (a short interview with me bringing my CV and jobsearch) was actually going to be much longer. I also knew that, come half three when I had to leave to catch my bus back ten minutes later, I was going to have problems. 
Unfortunately, though more for me I fear, it never got that far; at 20 past he terminated the interview citing my apparent 'putting up barriers' as the reason not to continue. This was because I refused consent for him to keep my CV. I asked why he needed it and offered, three times, to show it to him (that's all), he said it was to apply for jobs on my behalf. The EEC's need this information.
What's an EEC? Employm…

Anybody Out There?

Just so I can be sure this is being read at all and decide whether it's worth continuing, please shout out in the comments. Even if you think I'm talking barmy bollocks, it'd be helpful to know if there are people reading this and not weird bots from phishing sites or Russian hackers or some weird sentient algorithm.

Apologies if you are none of those things, but I'm considering what to do with this blog.

Thanks

ADD

Thursday today (unless time has confused me again!), the day between yesterday's appointment with The Psychologist, and signing on tomorrow. A brief oasis for me to discuss said appointment as it was a test for 'neurodiverse tendencies'. I think that's the best way of putting it; it's all a bit vague really. When I first saw The Psychologist I mentioned that I was in the process of trying to get a diagnosis for Aspergers to which she replied she could do a test that, while not an official diagnosis, could count towards one - or something. Something official anyway, though bizarrely after the test was completed (took a couple of hours) she said she wasn't trained for Aspergers specifically.

The test itself was a kind of Krypton Factor lite (sans exercise course): a mix of recall, pattern recognition, problem solving, and questionnaire. I was asked to arrange coloured blocks into a prescribed pattern, to spot what was missing from a series of pictures, to guess fr…