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Showing posts from October, 2012

Changing Attitudes?

Ed Miliband surprised me the other day with his welcome comment that Britain needs a better attitude toward mental health. While I'm no closer to being his greatest fan, any such comments, assuming they are well intentioned, are to be welcomed. Especially when they come at the expense of cretins like Jeremy Clarkson.
This is a man - a professional journalist (although that's being generous) - that believes people committing suicide on train tracks are selfish. He claims sympathy yet refers to them, bizarrely, as 'Johnny Suicides' which strikes me as especially flippant.
This is also a man that, live on the BBC in the wake of the public sector protests of a year ago, said of such people that they should be shot in front of their families. So Clarkson speaks of his concern of the traumatic effect of a suicide on train drivers but advocates that relatives should witness the brutal murder of their family members - while the BBC production crew laugh. Is there more odious …

Lively Up Yourself!

Because Atos is not good!

Bad Morning Campers!

There I am doing my morning pressups (don't laugh) and who should grace the airwaves but the archfiend himself, Ian Duncan Smith. In an extraordinary interview with John Humphrys (whose welfare programme from around a year ago he praised twice) he managed not only to claim that the lingering deficit of the UK was due to people not working, but also that the unemployed were destroying the lives of taxpayers supporting them. He didn't seem to want to recognise the reality that there are a 'vanishingly small' number of people apparently (which is about as accurate as it gets) bearing kids with no willingness to work before finishing off by saying that it's a kindness to treat the unemployed the way they have (because of course Labour let them languish on the dole, yes that old chestnut). This was led by a piece from south wales featuring a number of people out of work all saying the same thing: where is the help? 
Then, from Channel 4 news and recorded by the Guardia…

The Quality of Jobs 1

Something I've noticed, as I look at yet another DWP jobsearch advert, is that a lot of vacancies link to the company's career page. This is fine, in my opinion. We're all about the interwebs these days, even on really old dinosaur computers like mine. But I've begun to notice a trend that I initially regarded as just typical laziness in inputting these adverts online, on the part of the DWP. They link to a career page that doesn't exist. Instead you get to the company's main page and then have to navigate your way through.
However the one I'm looking at now (FHind the Jewellers) doesn't even have a career page. Yet the links on these adverts are all the same: "www.companyname.com/careers". 
I'm beginning to wonder - though perhaps I'm getting even more paranoid these days (wouldn't be difficult let's be honest) - if these adverts are generated for less than honest reasons. It's as if no one checked to see if there was eve…

Fareness

Gideon Osbourne attempts to dodge paying a compulsory £168 first class rail fare.

IDS attempts to sanction people out of £140 a fortnight, or at the very least pay them as little as possible.

That rail fare is about 10% of Osbourne's weekly wage, on top of his expenses and savings (which are millions as he's a trust fund boy).

My bus fare to get around, once a week which is all I can afford, costs 10% of my earnings of £70 dole money.

One of us doesn't have a choice. One of us doesn't get to say 'do you know who I am?' like it mattered.

Tech No

I feel out of the loop these days. I was visiting my friend last night and he has all the gadgets going, as do his partner and kids, even the young ones. They have their smartphones, ipads, laptops and blackberries. Sadly they all spend their time with their noses stuck in facebook which I find a bit antisocial. I do wish people would take the time to properly integrate technology with courtesy, but there you go. 
Apparently even the kids these days need laptops for school. I suppose that's reasonable; can't expect them to keep using abacuses and slates. But of course today's schoolkids have all this stuff brought for them as a matter of course, and why not. I'm not technophobe, but I don't have any of this. I have nothing with an 'i' in front of it and my PC is years out of date. It couldn't even run the latest Windows, i shouldn't think (which of course I have no hope of affording). 
When I was a kid the most advanced piece of kit was a cassette …

Thousands and Millions

The unemployment figure has decreased again - so sayeth the news. However that doesn't begin to address the reality of the picture as there are many factors within. Lots more people are working part time, however part time work doesn't cover the bills and is an attractive proposition mainly to cheapass employers and only those few that can make it work. 
But there are still at least a couple of million out of work, so, even taking this figure on face value, what does this mean? The Tories claim that this is a good thing, but how can it be? There are still way more people out of work than there are vacancies for them. This doesn't include the thousands more likely to bear the brunt of austerity when it begins to hit full force over the next year and beyond. 
What I'm saying is that, if the government wants to claim a victory over unemployment, as new boy Mark Hoban is trying, it needs better figures than this. A few thousand getting employment compared to a few million…

Circumstances

We had a clear out of some old tat today. Nothing special, just junk. In fact there's nothing unusual about this anecdote (such as it is) at all save for the fact that the family member I live with was asked, as I was called to help out (not a problem), whether I had a job. Fortunately my appearance headed off that discussion, not least of all because it's not the place of the removal's person to ask, in my opinion. 
Now you might think it a perfectly reasonable question, and in a more tolerant and less judgemental age I might agree. Why should I be held up to scrutiny by any old tradesman that my parent is paying for? Is it because I, a 'grown man' (not sure what the quotes are for, as I am both adult and male) live with a parent? Unemployed too? Oh dear, this will exercise the church elders.
But really why do we get so invested in how other people live? So what if I live with a parent? Is that, across the rest of human society in the world, so unusual (it may we…

Safe & Insecure

This is annoying I can’t access my blog from the local library because it’s behind an ‘unsuitable content’ wall. So because of a few choice words the overzealous pedants at the library have neutered their service completely even though I can get a book of the shelf that has explicit sex scenes or equally choice language. Work that out?
I have just signed on, successfully thank fuck. I have been fretting about this ever since last time when I stupidly said I’d heard nothing from the Work Programme since April. This time I lied and said I’d left a message. Unfortunately the adviser took a note of this which may have repercussions, the least of which being that the useless god botherers may well get back in touch. I’m more worried that as there’s no trace of me leaving a message I will get into trouble. Oh well, fuck it. The whole system is weighted against us there’s only so long before the friction catches up with me. No one’s interested in the fact the Salvation Army are inept and de…

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

We all know the BBC is lame in the extreme when it comes to discussing welfare. This morning's fevered episode of the feeble 'Sunday Morning Live' discussion was no less so. God knows why I do this to myself but I tuned in to find Charlie Wolf 'contributing' to a discussion about food stamps and whether the state (you know, that entity the government vehemently abhors) should control how people spend their benefit. The trail to the 'discussion' (despite a spirited attempt by Degsy Hatton to oppose) featured lots of shots of terraces, washing lines outside their windows, pubs drinking and fruit machines. Can't think what sort of message their trying to send, but damn I do feel thirsty!
Now Charlie Wolf is another one of these lunatic rentagobs, but even he excelled the form here. He claimed, straight faced, that without such controls the unemployed end up spending their vast fortune on drugs and pornography! What repugnant bullshit. Of course he later s…

Not Even Part Time is Good Enough

So the Policy Exchange are at it again; they think "that the government should withdraw benefits from part time and temporary workers who are not doing all they can to find a higher paid or full time job" and they claim "the public’s attitude towards welfare has toughened over the past few years. A poll for Policy Exchange found that 21% of the public thought that claimants should lose all of their benefits regardless of the hardship it would cause if they failed to comply with their jobseekers agreement."
Lovely. Can't think why people's attitudes (even just 21% of them) might have changed; perhaps because of the spurious bullshit that seeps out of the press, the radio and the TV, endorsed by these odious fuckers, on a daily basis. 
The point they want to make is that they believe people working part time and claiming what will become Universal Credit (IE people claiming tax credits or some form of top up from the state) will be forced to look for m…