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Small Victories

Today Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson won their case against the government, but I'm not sure it's the victory we'd been hoping for. However, that said, any chance to stick it to the fascists in charge should be welcomed. I just think the battle is far from over. As we speak, this afternoon, the government are working to introduce 'emergency' legislation to amend the situation. As far as they are concerned it's business as usual and these schemes are necessary. In fact they are emboldened by the apparent fall in unemployment even though there's no such thing, partly because of these schemes.

On Radio 4 this afternoon, Mark Hoban was on hand to give his response to the ruling which seems to indicate that the failing is merely one of administration, rather than due to any intrinsic immorality in the scheme. Workfare is immoral, make no mistake. It's unethical and illogical and even the government agree it has no bearing on improving anyone's chances of finding work. People that criticise the scheme like to argue that the alternative is to pay people to sit on their arses and be given 'free money'. This is a nonsense of course: Cait was working as a volunteer in a museum, but even that doesn't immunise her to this kind of illiterate bigotry. Pro-workfare idiots argue that she was on a 'frivolous' scheme that would lead nowhere, but seem incapable of understanding that the taxpayer subsidises her just the same in Poundland. It's as if these people, reacting to the pressures they themselves feel (only the super rich and the arrogant toffs in charge are immune from the unrest in society right now), need a scapegoat. They need a whipping girl.

Hoban said that the government was 'right' to force people to go into work. How then is that not slavery? He said this while ducking the question about whether the government had administered these schemes correctly. So naturally, the arch denier couldn't admit the government was wrong. This creature could stand inside a burning building and deny it was on fire. He argues that it's right people should lose their benefit if they don't 'prepare for woprk'. We'll set aside how depriving someone of an income is ever justifiable (hint: it's not, it just makes things worse), because the more insidious aspect is how Hoban continually presents the workfare scheme. 

It's the government's position, through the likes of grayling and now Hoban, that workfare isn't punitive, it isn't unpaid forced work in crappy jobs (ever hear of workfare people stationed in Tory HQ?). Instead they talk about how it's helping people prepare for work, how it's uplifting them, how it's improving their lives, and how the alternative is that they are languishing in idleness. Of course that's nonsense: the rules for JSA, at least, have never allowed for that to happen. One must always show they have made good effort to find work. Hoban insists they do help people which is plain bollocks. They just bandy about words like 'experience' as if that proves the point. Nope you are wrong, say the government, and that in itself is evidence of how you are wrong, end of discussion.

The worst part of all of this however has to be summed up by Hoban's response to the question of why Cait was not allowed to continue in her voluntary capacity working in a museum. That is traduced just as if she had been sat on her arse watching Jeremy Kyle doing nothing! Completely outrageous.

What concerns me is that we are heading for a situation where aspiration means nothing, despite the government using it as a tool to enforce their wicked propaganda. What good is aspiration when your dreams come to nothing because the labour market only wants people who are prepared to stack shelves in Poundland? Worse, this will then grow: these grubby homogeneous supermarkets, notorious for their low pay, will proliferate even further. This will affect the education system leaving people who want to learn something other then GCSE Shelf Stacking or A Level EPOS Systems as dangerous radicals. That's where Cait Reilly is right now. As her story is portrayed with a predictable lack of sympathy in the media, the hyperbole used will polarise the issue - and further harden idiot Tories who can't understand that they are paying for the likes of Poundland to 'employ' people who will of course still be claiming on the dole, having replaced real jobs and shut out real applications.


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