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Showing posts from February, 2012

See Me After School!

I wish I could take credit for this, but sadly no. It is a glorious deconstruction of Herr Ratface Grayling's letter to Polly Toynbee.

Hypocrit much, Chris?

Fare, What's Fair?

The Workfare leviathan rumbles on, like a riderless horse. The public (that's us, the group the Tories hate the most) are shining light into this murky world, and it's about time. Next Saturday there are to be demonstrations against this iniquitous and scandalous scheme. No doubt the likes of ratface Grayling will label those participating as job snobs or SWP troublemakers and the like as he has done all week. His appearance in the introduction to a piece by Newsnight (21/2, right at the start) is telling. Watch his body language: his eyes give it all away as they look away when he finishes speaking. Even he knows full well this is all just about corporate power.

My advice to those participating (and, though I hope to god otherwise, that may well be me) is to become the least employable candidate. I don't mean cause trouble or make the workplace you are sentenced to attend dangerous, that would be stupid. But let your self worth dictate your course of action: you are being …

Workfare Again

I say again, I've probably spoken about this, one way or another, more times than I can actually remember on this blog. I find this issue just extraordinary: I simply cannot understand how anyone can genuinely think it's a positive for society. It totally blows my mind. Obviously the Tories do; over the weekend DWPunterfuhrerGraylingtried to qualify the rules, but succeeded only in contradicting himself. (That link comes from here.) He said that people won't get sanctioned unless they walk out of these schemes, having agreed to partake (though the voluntary aspect is still unclear), at the eleventh hour. He quickly followed up by saying there are also limited sanctions for those that don't partake at all, or who quickly back out within the cooling off period said to exist. It's deeply confusing. But then so is the Coalition (isn't that the sort of name dystopian SF writers use for their far future machine tyrannies?)

All this comes from the revelation of a job, …

The Myth of the Just World

Following from Thursday's surprise call from the jobcentre I had my signing yesterday along with meeting The Psychologist for the outcome of the test. It's all somewhat confusing. Though signing went smoothly I'm still not really sure where I stand with respect to this test. She seemed to indicate that I have something called Non Verbal Learning Disability which, I'm told, is a newly discovered neuro-diverse condition (if indeed that's the appropriate word) and that I may also have ADD. It all seems to be about tendencies: getting a concrete yes or no seems impossible and, I get the feeling, inappropriate. Unfortunately the system requires that degree of certainty (as do I, quite frankly).

A preliminary questionnaire answered from the first appointment prior to the test itself led her to conclude that I suffered from anxiety (duh) and depression. Now I can't attest to whether I feel the latter (I'd say more frustration than depression, but I can't really…

Work Choices

I've just had a call, completely out of the blue, from the JC disability advisor (who, handily, is never scheduled to work when I'm due to sign). Caught me completely unawares and left me unable to answer as she claimed that my adviser had, several weeks prior with my knowledge/consent, arranged for her to call me. Er, nope. In fact I'm pretty annoyed that I've been lied to like this as at the very least it means I've got to look forward to an awkward confrontation tomorrow when i go to sign on (assuming I'm not being seen by the front desk).

This may seem rather a trivial thing to be critical of, but I cannot deal with being contacted out of the blue like this. Basically she wants to see me, at some point, for a discussion about all the options that are available to someone with health issues. Of course there are no options: I claim JSA and she has no means to alter the conditionality. She wants to talk about the options to the Work Programme - apparently there…

Five Live Unemployment Discussion

I missed it as it went out live, but I'm writing this as I listen to the iplayer repeat. It's broadcast from Salford in the wake of another rise in unemployment. I guess it really is the price worth paying for the unstoppable juggernaut of Tory ideology. Let them eat cake, eh Gideon?

Ok, so the show starts off with a couple of people saying who they are and how long they've been unemployed. Then suddenly some mouthpiece from Morrissons (nice free advertising there, reminiscent of last Summer's BB3 Jobfest bollocks piece that I commented on) saying they are creating 7,000 odd jobs this year. Of course they won't be saying how poorly paid those jobs are, especially given that the big 4 supermarkets are the third biggest employer (together) and that's right after the NHS. Megabucks for the boss class, free advertising, and shit jobs for the rest of us. Fortunately Sainsbury's have had the sense to pull away from the government's workfare frenzy, not so the …

Stuck - Fear of the Marketplace

In the past I have seen a couple of counsellors. The first was a stoney faced old harridan with zero interest whose only contribution, that I can recall, was to say that agoraphobia was dealt with by dumping someone in the centre of town and leaving them to their own devices, as some think you teach a child to swim. At the time there was mention of a diagnosis for agoraphobia as the first attempt to understand my issues. There was no mention of Aspergers or even ADD (or any such thing) and so I asked the counsellor, sat there looking at me like a statue, how you treat this condition. She had made no effort to engage with me, talk to me or ask me anything other than my name and some cursory preliminary questions. In turn I too sat there, confused as to what was meant to happen. It's my belief that the counsellor should lead the session, but what do I know.

Subsequently I saw another counsellor a few years later, via the local GP, she wasn't much better, certainly a warmer person…

Thy Father's Bike

Here is an interesting piece, with accompanying video, from the Guardian. I don't know what the significance of the self help books the article mentions are, but the rhetoric from the provider is palpably ignorant. I find this kind of nonsense self defeating because all it seems to do is set the reader up for failure - and then, when they inevitably look to place blame, get criticised further. In other words, if you don't 'self improve' it's your own fault, and you have to 'own' that. Taking responsibility for your own actions is one thing, taking responsibility for conditions beyond your control and the consequences thereof is another.

I find this very worrying. It cannot be healthy to programme the minds of 'customers' (that awful word again - it implies a freedom that isn't there) to believe, as Richard from the article does, that it's all your own fault if you don't have a job. It's the customer's fault they aren't working…

Hang 'Em, Flog 'Em, Film 'Em - Rethink

I watched the film again last night, the whole thing. Indeed my reading of Ryan's parents was incorrect. I'm not going to defend the riots, in fact I don't know any progressive speaker that has. Smashing up communities for material goods is giving the Tories and the rich elite what they want. It's self defeating.

In fact it's obvious that none of the people in the film, taken on face value, are bad people. They were just guilty of stupidity. Unfortunately the venomous Tory party and their programmed followers are functionally incapable of understanding events like these - how dare people riot? There's no poverty in this country, blah blah blah, we live in a meritocracy blah blah blah. Unfortunately they don't see how wrong they are. The utterly futile incongruity of stealing trainers and xboxes is proof of this: it's capitalism gone mad. The only thing that should surprise people is that this hasn't happened sooner.

The zealousness of the responses f…

First World, Worst World

The last couple of weeks, for the welfare community - specifically the sick - has certainly been tumultuous. The government has resorted to shenanigans with Lord Fraud (that's David Freud for those who, blissfully do not know) pulling a late night stunt to get his amendments through after the rest of the Lords sending his bill back to the Commons. Not content with such inconveniences as democracy, IDS and his sloth faced manservant (the Igor to IDS' Frankenstein) have used some new trick called 'financial privilege' to get the bill through - 'It's alive'! I'm led to believe this means that the Lords cannot intervene further. The government won the vote and the rest of us have lost out.

What more evidence do people need that this government, this so-called coalition, is not for the people, but for the rich. The truth of the old adage that says government should fear it's people couldn't be more in demand here. I certainly fear this government.

Mor…

Hang 'em, Flog 'em, Film 'em!

Last night I turned on the tv to find a show about rioters (the traditional kind, not the banksters who won't make it onto cctv). The bbc had managed to find a group of teenagers that had participated in the riots and been caught and their parents (a couple whose kids were inside still). To be fair the show did become less ‘for the gallery’ by the end. But the whole tone seemed to be rather demanding, and somewhat pointless. In fact the premise seemed rather flawed because the only people that would agree to participate would be those that felt some measure of contrition. The ones that didn’t care obviously wouldn’t agree to be filmed (in fact I can’t understand why anyone would, but these are young adults/kids we are talking about). So a series of interviews to camera are conducted by a disembodied voice asking trite and obvious questions ‘why did you do it?’. We learn nothing about the riots at all. It’s obvious these kids are just victims of the moment – that’s not to say they h…