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 sanctioned - and this will all be decided off screen without recourse to a face to face adviser.
I'm not a bloody robot! I can barely read a screen for a couple of hours, never mind expecting me to just get on with whatever demands the DWP lays down. We have to sit there and do all this. No matter how crap these websites are, no matter how little support you will get in all of this (you'll be fucked if your PC goes down), you will have to do all this.
It's the ease with which demands are placed on the shoulders of the unemployed. The notion that however difficult their lives are, whatever their problems may be at any time, because they don't have a job they can easily be required to do all this. I presume they expect the Work Programme to facilitate this; this may mean that Universal Credit has a component that compels input/approval from the provider each time you go to sign. It's all so easily abused.
What's worse is encapsulated in this link, from the above article. It comes from A4E and seems to be their Little Red Book for the unemployed. It's 180 pages long and is completely over the top. A few ideas and tips is one thing, but this lifestyle guide is insane! This is telling people how to think, how to live their lives, what's correct and what isn't. It has a list of websites that no doubt A4E claimants will be monitored to see if they use for jobsearching. However none of them are particularly helpful (the first is jobs on the Indian Subcontinent!). They are just meta-search sites, collating vacancies from either other websites or from recruitment agencies.
I find this really difficult. But how seriously will I get taken? Reading off of screens is not easy for me because of ADD and because my eyesight is crap. Having to do that every day for seven fucking hours will send me round the bloody bend! I just cannot process this, but what chance will I have to be believed in the post Olympian era of heroic achievement: after all if a mixed race lass can win a heptathlon then jobsearching is a piece of cake surely!
We really have passed into the era of Will To Power; the Niezstchean ideals that fascists love. We are compelled to be individuals in the manner of John Galt or Alan Sugar. We are to compete with each other because that will strengthen us all (and of course drive down prices/costs etc). We are to be successful financially because money is what matters. If there is any equivocation in the contemplation or execution of these ideals then we are ourselves to blame; we have fallen foul of idleness and malingering. Even the sick can be commanded well by virtue of the WCA, according to that ideal of humankind, 'Christ' Grayling in this extraordinary piece of self delusion.
Conversely welfare dependency, the ideal that the right wing now uses to replace the notion of scrounging, is a bad thing. They can't define what this means of course; we are all dependent surely? Anyone that works for a living is dependent on their income. If that were to dry up they'd soon learn how. So it isn't welfare dependency that's the problem: it's capitalism dependency. Of course the Will To Power hero of the modern age, the champion that thrives in the age of austerity, is someone that is not dependent (IE they happen to have been born into money or been very lucky in managing to make it, or a banker). This is not a lifestyle that is sustainable as we have seen. Nor is it achievable for everyone, in fact it's success depends on quite the opposite. Some have to fail, some have to be the plebs and the poorly paid workbots, for those that succeed to do so.
I don't think I want to live in this kind of world. It's a nastier place mired in indifference and malaise and that's what concerns me the most. We will transcend anger go beyond division to simple callous uncaring indifference. No one will want to know the problems of others and everyone will be too busying looking after number one. Meanwhile those of us that struggle, those of us that can't live up to the Will To Power ideal will be made to feel as failures. It's our fault that we didn't respond: the help was there, through the punitive machinations of the WCA, Universal Credit and the Work Programme, with it's now justified (see this for an astute deconstruction of the DWP's smug and tasteless response to the ruling) workfare component. We just couldn't be bothered. That in turn justifies taking everything away from us and leaving us to our own fate with only ourselves to blame. Meanwhile the politicians play their sad games of tit for tat and corporatism flourishes behind the naive banner of international sport.
How much longer, Britain?
I also came across this nonsense regarding Salvation Army Employment Plus (which seems to have been born down under). None of the claims and services made in this clip exist as far as I am aware, in fact I was told quite plainly that nothing was on offer, almost with pride! Though I have long questioned the value of such basic 'courses' (caveat: people are different and what are basic skills to some are vitally lacking in others - though such people should be helped properly not exploited for propaganda or profit by the anti-welfare lobby that comprises the WP). Then there's this advert which is even more bizarre, with a Schindler's List colour scheme! Mind you New Zealand, where these people are based, seems to be a much easier environment: less people for starters.
The chief remedy that the Will To Power trainers at the likes of A4E and SAE+ seem to espouse is 'confidence'. This word is bandied about so much that it's lost all meaning. I had this with the Shaw Trust (to whom I self referred a few years back, not that self referrals count for anything in the eyes of the DWP). The guy I saw was friendly enough but he seemed to believe in this idea of confidence. It's not that confidence in oneself isn't important or that it isn't issue, god knows when you're at the mercy of the demonisation of the welfare state your confidence is crushed, but it's so superficial: "do a little bit of confidence building and off you go" seems to be the message. Get the claimants sat round a table to be lectured in superficial ideas of confidence building like baking cakes or drawing flowers with petals listing positive words, or snake oil such as NLP. Just believe in yourself and you'll go far. That's the idea and it's easy work for the kind of fantasists whose lack of self awareness and tact borders on the insane. Courses in confidence building (IE sitting with complete strangers and excoriating yourself in public like some weird cult practise) are the key in this new war on welfare. The weapon is self belief: believe you can not be dying of cancer and you'll get a job. It's the sort of vapid crap that Hayley Taylor, the Fairy Jobmother, espouses; it's soundbite friendly and made for the Youtube generation. This is a war for the psyche of the claimant.
How much longer Britain?