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Showing posts from August, 2012

Everyday Stress

I’m tired. I was five minutes late to sign on today after the bus was five minutes late and stuck in a bit of traffic behind a tractor and having to stop for a piss before going in. Fortunately I’ve never had any grief for being late, and usually I’m not, but I did get asked why I was late. I think what annoys me is that it’s such a feeble question and asked in such a pointlessly lame fashion. Obviously I don’t want to get into trouble for being late (when there’s no one else waiting, either), but it was just pointless asking. Either make an issue out of it or don’t, preferably the latter.
This time however they did ask about the Work Programme. Again, and perhaps fortunately, it wasn’t an in depth interrogation. I’ve been anticipating them asking me how it’s going on the WP, not that the JC is in any position to do anything. So I had to explain, as tactfully as I could without giving away the fact I’ve only had one appointment (which I’m sure would set off all kinds of alarm bells),…

Some Work Programme Thoughts

Well nothing changes on the WP front as far as I'm concerned; the machinery plunders on in the eyes of the media 'chanign people's lives', but not doing a great deal for the majority of us. No help has been offered for me whatsoever, in any way shape or form even though I've been accused of not engaging with that help. 
Speaking of my good chums at the Sally Ann, there's this story from a place called Cradley Heath. It's the usual WP propaganda, and, if the people have genuinely been helped, that's great. They are what's important, not some army of god! But I have my doubts:
The Salvation Army is working together with Employment Plus and professional training course QTT who run the courses at the Employment Resource Centre at the Salvation Army.
Firstly, Employment Plus is the Salvation Army. At first I assumed they were as separate as this quote implies, staffed by people independent of the SA (ie not necessarily god botherers with military ranks…

Jobsearch 2

Another thing I've noticed on the DWP search machine is how some jobs require you to contact the DWP for further information. Instead of providing a direct contact number for the employer, the claimant is directed to ring the DWP's own 'jobline' call centre. Why? 
I can't imagine any scenario where the DWP has to act as some kind of filter for an employer. Why hide the most pertinent information from someone presumably interested enough to wade through the sea of shit that forms this database? Why do some employers (if this is indeed the case) ask for this? Do they even ask for it at all, about 65-70% don't and are happy to be contacted directly. 
I must assume that these employers obviously feel the DWP will filter all the 'timewasters'. But that's not how the DWP operates. We all know that, as a consequence of how JSA works and the conditions for it, that people have to apply (and be seen to apply) for almost everything. Filtering simply means th…

Jobsearch

I really think that someone needs to get their teeth into the DWP's jobsearch system. We all know how utterly crap it is, even Dispatches commented on it's ineptitude during their haphazard 'investigation' last Monday.
The DWP are forever telling us there are thousands of jobs each day. They refute the fact there are only a few hundred thousand vacancies. Unemployment isn't going to disappear. Not anymore. That ship has sailed. Now we are in the age of workfare. So when we hear there are loads of employers crying out for staff but they can only hire immigrants (how convenient) because school leavers are some how now all totally useless, we need to know what's really going on.
The DWP database is entirely haphazard. The text is often cut and pasted without a thought for proper formatting or an attempt to correct such errors. Most of the adverts never tell you what you need to know in terms of either: the actual wage (if it's the NMW then just say so), the h…

Qualified For Life?

Listening to the radio it would appear to be the annual A Level results day. This in turn means that the CBI will engage in their usual moaning about how education fails people. I don’t believe this, but then the CBI is the enemy. Certainly there are kids that don’t come out of school with a good education, but that’s always been the case. This idea that, now, kids are leaving school in their droves completely uneducated is crap. It’s just the weird expectations of out of touch business types not wanting to invest in people’s training. It’s going to take a lot to convince me otherwise.
So I’m listening to a bunch of kid being interviewed about their expectations and their result and what they want to do with them. Someone wants to be an accountant (dream the dream my friend); another person is studying politics already. All of them are talking about a world I no longer recognise, and when even they face the likelihood of unemployment under this government what chance do I stand?
Whe…

How Not To Get A Job

Top Tricks of the Dole Cheats was how the show was labelled. Didn't see much evidence of any tricks, in fact the whole programme was deeply surreal. 
The first half was more in keeping with the title. C4 had connived with a pair of willing apparent jobseekers to try and make it seem as though they weren't really looking for work. Firstly they had one chap write his shopping list in his jobsearch and apply for a job in the most negative way possible by writing an application that included an admission to not want the job at all. I'm not sure what that was to prove as it would have had nothing to do with the JC anyway since it would have gone directly to the employer concerned, presumably. Secondly the other chap dressed up as a painter and was dropped off outside the JC (supposedly so that the staff would notice, no guarantee they would or could given the camera angle) in a fake company van. 
In both cases they 'got away' with their efforts. Subsequent commentary …

Game Over

I've just spent two hours practicing music, sat in my house on my own. I don't have a sponsor, I don't have public or private backing. I don't even have a particularly good instrument. I've kept my interest, if not my technique, for over twenty years. Throughout I have had zero support. I certainly don't have an invitation to an 11 billion pound musical event with the eyes of the nation on me, and I certainly don't have the apparent hopes and dreams of people that seem lacking in their own lives. 
I'm not here to denigrate what other people do, but the Olympics seemed (past tense at last) to be hell bent on making so much more out of a mere sports competition than anything else. Would we have gotten so excited and 'inspired' by the performance of 'our' athletes had the games been hosted in Paris? 
Last night's finale was a surreal exposition of style of substance. How can one fail to be impressed by it: a ton of money went into the …

A Word In Our Shells, Like

Just been out for a couple of hours walking in a vain attempt to pretend I'm fit. Getting back I notice a suspiciously brown envelope a-waiting for me on the doormat. I turn it over and, sure enough, there's a return address for the DWP on the back. Now what can this be about. I get that bad boy open and sure enough there's a Jobcentre Plus letter that mentions sanctions, but...
It appears to be a generic letter sent care of 'Manager' (the guy hasn't even signed the thing) from our Beloved Lord and Master, the Secretary of State (that no one elected). This letter seems to be in response to the recent court judgement where the DWP got their knuckles rapped for not properly informing people of the consequences of actions they couldn't decide were mandatory. It reads:
Dear (CUSTOMER)
Work Programme You are currently participating in the Work Programme. When we first referred you to the WP, we gave/sent you a letter in which we told you about your requirement to …

Choice?

Isn't it weird. The Work Programme is supposed to be, as we all know by now, bespoke and tailored toward heloping the 'customer' (I don't remember buying anuything) achieve something meaningful. Not just be funnelled into the first job they happen to make you find by ordering you to search on basic jobsearch websites. As if those were the vacancies fhat needed filling the most.
When I tell them I want to be a writer (I have many interests, as I'm sure most people do; we aren't two dimensaional) they couldn't dismiss that quick enough. That gets classified as a 'long term' job goal; which is to say you get patted on the head for showing some interest in the idea of work. Then they get to use that 'interest' to compel you toward what suits them, not you.
Yet if I'd gone to college/university and become a writer on my own; for example let's imagine i'd gotten a degree in journalism and subsquently found a career accordingly, no on…

CAP and WP and Profit

I've been thinking about the Community Action Programme; the government's great scheme that follows 'failure' to get a job on the Work Programme. This scheme is 6 months workfare serving the community in some fashion. Johnny Void has this to say, which is prescient:
Grayling has neglected to ask the voluntary sector whether they want a million full time volunteers, many of whom won’t want to be there. There has been no assessment as to whether the sector can even absorb, supervise and afford this influx of unpaid workers. The more ethical charities such as Oxfam have already stated they will take no part in any workfare style schemes.
Remember Grayling's sales pitch for the Work Programme. He claimed, no I don't have a quote to hand, that the payment scheme would require that a customer find work lasting at least 6 months, amongst other things. He also claimed it would have a bespoke approach, but we all know that's a load of eyewash.
Now, consider tha…

Will To Power

The latest consent.me entry is pretty scary. Universal Credit looks set to enforce a 35 hour a week jobsearch requirement on claimants. This will be monitored online which means claimants will have to sign in to the DWP website so their efforts can be recorded stored and later examined when they go to sign on (which may itself all be done online, I'm not entirely sure). This is a policy straight out of the Policy Exchange playbook. What a surprise.
Now how on earth do they expect people to find 35 hours worth of stuff to look at each week? That's 7 hours of 'jobsearch' a day! Where is this all going to come from? What it really means is that we are going to be dehumanised even further. This is basically treating the unemployed like robots and using the standard of people working against them: 'I work 10 hours a day, therefore looking for work is easy peasy'. Again, divide and rule tactics in play. Anyone found shirking this responsibility will no doubt get san…

Militarisation?

On the news Lord of the Rings, Seb Coe, praised the heroic efforts of the army that have taken the reigns dropped by the astonishing failure of G4S. He salutes their courage, their indefatigability...oh, wait, wrong person. Nope, he's instead praising their professionalism and their 'grace'. Sounds like a nice advert for British Soldiers; the sort you might use to sell their services...nah, that's just conspiracy thinking!
Whatever. It just strikes me as weird how this played out. These guys are doing this job, ok fine, but they are in full uniform. Why? What reason is there to be seen in full military uniform at a civilian event? Doesn't that send out a particular message? I think it does and I think they knew this. To what end, I am not sure. I don't really want to entertain the mad views that some seem to have about the 'new world order' blowing up the games (they'd better hurry up then, it's all over come Sunday!).
But there is an issue abo…

All That Glitters

Gold, gold, golden, gold. Gold of British hope and corporate gold making golden dreams of golden cherubic children raised on golden competition.
I despise competition. I don't think it has helped humanity at all. Correction: I don't think has helped all of humanity. Instead it benefits some at the expense of others. For there to be a winner, there has to be a loser, but it won't be their faces plastered over today's papers. Instead it's the media friendly visage of Olympic poster girl, Jessica Ennis, who has already sold her soul to a particular brand of female skin cream. She obviously knows how the game is really played; you can bet her gold medal, with perfunctory union jack waving, will not be accompanied by any profound insights into the human condition or even the nature of professional sport. That's not to say she's stupid or ill educated, but that these athletes are just puppets. Her career would be over faster than Usain Bolt if she spoke out abou…

Slamming

I was ten minutes late today. Not that it mattered, the JC is inexplicably short staffed on Fridays. I'm not sure what kind of contract the DWP operates, perhaps they have a four day working week and just don't bother telling the people that do work on Friday. Today was pretty empty, except for the queue of people waiting to be seen so I still had to wait. To be fair it's usually not so bad, although the amount of pointless admin they all seem to have to do in between each signing could I'm sure be reduced to improve things. The system is its own worst enemy. 
Today, for the first time since Christmas, I was seen by 'Sue' (not her real name, though actually it is) who seems to be an officious, target driven, pedant. She was bad back then, not least of all because she lacks tact and subtlety when dealing with claimants and can be heard right across the office, which is always a good trait to have when dealing with particularly sensitive claimants. Sue seems to …