Skip to main content

The Eve of the War

Nearly new year. The only celebration of the season worth a damn in my view. I'm not a religious person, but there are definite benefits to marking the end of one year and the beginning of another. I won't be doing that in any kind of social way. I can't afford to travel to somewhere and drink something. Besides the people I know will be with their families and kids. I have neither (not sure if that's a blessing or a curse) and I don't really drink (never really formed a relationship with alcohol; I rarely imbibe except the occasional cold bottled beer).

So where do we stand right now? I could mention IDS (hashtag Tory shitbag) and his rant in the Telegraph today, but instead I'll let Channel 4's factchecker debunk his hysteria instead. 

This has been my first year on the Work Programme - technically 9 months as I started in April, 13 months after signing on, which was itself 2 months after my ESA appeal ended. I never expected to win so I barely contested it. Maybe things would have been different otherwise, though given that ESA is time limited if you're in the WRAG (as I may soon be) I would have ended up on JSA anyway. Besides, regardless, I'd be on the Work Programme either way. ESA = Employment Support Allowance, expect it is nothing of the kind. It's a benefit for the sick denied to the sick. The government claims it wants to help people back into work, but then manages to sabotage it's own efforts while then branding claimants, who naturally fail the ATOS test, as scroungers. We can't win. It's spectacularly Orwellian. 

Perhaps 2013 will be the year this changes. 

I certainly think there will be changes next year, and not for the better. This will be the watershed for those of us resisting this government. Unfortunately as it stands the unions seem to again have abandoned the cause. I'm sensing a groundswell of real palpable anger now; a sense of total frustration. This will spill over, in my opinion. Perhaps when Universal Credit kicks in (or fails to), or maybe sooner, when the cuts really start to bite, or maybe when some new piece of Tory hate is announced. I won't be surprised if we see more rioting, perhaps even more serious rioting. There has to be an organised civil response to this vile government, but it has got to be effective. 

So what have we learned from the Work Programme? What have my two appointments taught me, in preparation for number three, on the 14th of January? It's clear the whole scheme is misrepresented; the government claims it gives competent caring organisations, with experience, a free hand to help people in whatever way is needed. I have even seen the provider's own adviser job description agree to this. However the truth is that free hand manifests as a rigid doctrine that demands conformity for their benefit: make us money and it's a success. Resist, for whatever reason, and you can expect a 'compliance doubt' to land a sanction in  your lap. 

There is no discussion with these people: they are not interested in listening to your story, they are not interested in your problems or issues despite that being their apparent job description. In fact if you have problems - maybe health related if you come from ESA - you will be treated as idling and making excuses. Do not expect help or support. Expect instead to do what they want, where and when they want. The Programme is not set up for the convenience of the claimant, it is set up for the provider. You will attend in their house at a time of their choosing; that they pay your expenses is not a boon, it's further expense to the taxpayer. The scheme does nothing for rural communities.

Expect your interests, skills and talents, to be traduced; these count for nothing. This is because of the soporific way advisers operate. Want to be a writer (or even to investigate any opportunity that may come from having some interest or even skill therein), forget it. That requires 'experience' and 'training' two things the Work Programme is systemically incapable of providing, except at a ridiculously basic level: 'CV training' or 'employability training'. That magic word: employability. It's a perfect example of the adviser mentality, inventing something out of thin air and then using it as a hoop to make claimants jump through. What does it mean? Is it simply code for 'be polite, don't drop your trousers in front of your boss, don't spit in the office, don't punch customers on the nose'? Common sense surely? 

Ok there are people that lack even basic skills some of us take for granted. That's fair enough, but lumping them in with everyone else will breed resentment from both ends.

So what do providers want? Well in my case, personal data and authority over that information it seems. Do they have a right to that? I hope not! With the introduction late in the year of the awful Universal Jobmatch system it seems more and more of our rights are being curtailed. We have less and less authority over our own decision making processes. Why am I not entitled to even see the people, let alone vet them, that the provider would pass my details to? Isn't that absurd? 

This must be resisted at every level. It cannot be lawful that I have to concede control over personal data in order to maintain a claim on the only source of income I have. In the meantime the issues that the provider accuses me of using as a 'barrier' to work (or at least the opportunity to apply for jobs that don't exist or that aren't suitable) are explicitly and furiously ignored. 

That's where we stand right now. The Work Programme is still going; it's still limping along like a wounded animal, bleeding into the environment. It is, on every level, incompetent unhelpful and dictatorial. The staff are untrained and uncaring and the environment inappropriate and hopeless. That will be our future as well unless we fight for it. 

Goodnight Britain, and happy new year.

Comments

  1. Good luck to you this year, GW. I sincerely hope it'll get better, but I suspect it will get worse - we are being governed by psychopaths. My only thought now is to survive and then to extract some measure of revenge in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. All the best for the New Year GW. I myself sign on on the 3rd of January, and I expect to be "mandated" to sign up for Universal Jobmatch. We are all waiting for what awaits in 2013, and I hope it's better than wat happened in 2012.

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      I will refuse UJM as much as I can, but I fear the WP is going to want to mandate me. They've hinted at this, though maybe ESA will let me avoid that. I won't be surprised if not. The site is still complete crap: jobs i looked at yesterday (for jobs uploaded that day) included Christmas jobs. It's a complete mess. Still.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I Fucking Hate the Work Programme

That did not go well.
My legs were wobbly to begin with as I closed in on the church that passes for the office of the employment wing of the Salvation Army. My appointment was 3 to half past. I really did feel sick. Pretty early on, when he asked for the forms he gave me last time to fill in, I knew that what was arranged on the letter (a short interview with me bringing my CV and jobsearch) was actually going to be much longer. I also knew that, come half three when I had to leave to catch my bus back ten minutes later, I was going to have problems. 
Unfortunately, though more for me I fear, it never got that far; at 20 past he terminated the interview citing my apparent 'putting up barriers' as the reason not to continue. This was because I refused consent for him to keep my CV. I asked why he needed it and offered, three times, to show it to him (that's all), he said it was to apply for jobs on my behalf. The EEC's need this information.
What's an EEC? Employm…

I Hate James Bartholomew

Know the Tory mindset: according to these creatures welfare breeds dependency. Meanwhile they do not want to set a minimum wage, they do not want to create legislation to protect the un - and under - employed from the predations of the system they benefit from. That word is chosen deliberately, because they like benefits for themselves - the ability to sack whom they like, when they like and how they like. In this UKIP are the same. This is the febrile heart of the right wing.
Yesterday on 5 Live's laughable morning phone in - bigots drink for free - another right wing excuse for a human, James Bartholomew, revealed another aspect of their nasty prejudice and staggering ignorance. Not surprisingly this vile creature was once a banker. He writes (if one can call it that) for the Telegraph and though I don't know the content of his ballot paper, I dare say I can guess. He props up every tory myth about the unemployed and welfare with dull witted aplomb.
He believes people have …

Still Going

I started this blog thinking I could do something useful, provide some decent citizen journalism, or at the very least offer something credible for, at the risk of stroking my own ego, posterity. But in truth I have found it very difficult to keep up with my own standards. This is true of all the writing I engage in. It isn't that I don't enjoy it, or that I don't know how (YMMV), but that I just struggle to maintain the concentration. This is part of the problem, mental health-wise, that I have tried to address in recent years; all to no avail. Unfortunately it is simply perceived as an excuse by our society. In response to that, I offer none. I am what I am, and if that means I'm lazy then lazy I must be.

I was due to have a WCA on the 7th; instead I rang and said I couldn't go through with it and that they could pursue whatever consequences they saw fit. Curiously they offered me the opportunity to postpone the interview, which I did, though I'm not sure why…