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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. If only they would make the effort; if only they'd get out of bed in the morning; if only.... It's insidious, but this is the tone of the Tory paradigm and it's getting stronger. If only the sick would rise up and work they'd be better, they'd be healed! This is monstrous ignorance!

I don't think this is healthy at all. I think telling people it's their fault they didn't look hard enough - that the 10 applications they made each day last week should have been 11, for instance. It just sounds like an easy out for the provider; an easy way to wriggle off the hook. I think it sets up the 'customer' for a fall which will (further) harm their self confidence, their emotional well being and perhaps any existing mental health problems, such as depression. This is compounded by then compelling them to look harder and to 'keep trying' which will only exacerbate the problem: the more they put in, the more crushing each rejection becomes. There's no room to take stock, to even allow the 'customer' to catch his breath even. Then of course we will see an increased rise in people turning to their GP for a sick note. It's a vicious cycle.

(PS: I notice this site has had 5000 visitors. I hope they've got something from this, certainly as much as I have for writing my lefty loony liberal thoughts and experiences. Thanks for reading!)


  1. Its always the "clients" fault.. Obviously they must be doing something wrong, or they will have a job.. as we get told by many people there are many jobs out there.

    Its a form of circular logic that doesnt rely on reality. I havent seen my a4e adviser since mid january, not supposed to just drop in and do job search, i am supposed to have an appointment to do that. I was supposed to be there tuesday but it was cancelled, now i have to see him in march.. 10 weeks of course if i get a job within those 10 weeks, they will claim they got me a job..

    Whatever you do is wrong in these places. You can never win..

    1. Indeed. I've had that myself when dealing with JSA advisers; they can never simply accept the conditions of the labour market as a reason. When a hundred odd people are applying for a given job it would be the exception if you did get the job. But no, it's your cv, attitude, clothes, haircut...nonsense. I find it all rather sinister. "If you want to work in the biscuit factory dave, you must have clean fingers!"


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