I am not normally given to posting at this time on a Sunday night - after all, life is far too short - but I have just listened to the News (ITV tonight, after Downton Abbey).
Apart from Her Madge signing up to Facebook (where I am unable to Poke her, or be her friend) we heard about the plans that the Blessed Coalition have for the "Very Unemployed":
The plan is this, astounded reader: you take one "Very Unemployed" person, tell him to work for nothing and if he refuses, take his meagre benefits away. The work is not in I.T. nor is it selling stocks and shares. No, if you are "Very Unemployed", you will (in all but name) be blackmailed into rolling up and doing the sort sort of work that convicted criminals are called to do when paying their dues to The Big Society for their petty misdeameanours - moving autumn leaves around; gathering litter - that kind of stuff.
So, the message that the Blessed Coalition are offering to the country (in the voice of none other than Big Willy Haig - wit' Yoikshuh accent to make it seem somehow acceptable to tut'Woiking Classes) is this:
- The "Very Unemployed" are lazy and need to be made un-lazy (they are a free labour force too)
- They can be treated the same as the criminals, for that is how society views them, honest!
- We have the buggers over a barrel because they depend on their meagre benefit for their Ciggies and Satellite dishes - and the rest of us have to work for ours - how dare they, how very dare they?
- As they are "Very Unemployed" they are open to be demeaned because they are, of course, some kind of filthy underclass who are working our noble system and milking it.
- Big Society will support us because they are all slightly jealous of the 'lay-in and lunch lifestyle' of the "Very Unemployed" [and we need a few vote catchers 'cos it isn't going so well for us, if we are honest]
Shame, shame and double shame!
Thank God for the Archbishop of Canterbury - who jumped on this like a beardy panther on a Bongo, and exposed this for the nonsense that it seems at face-value to be. The fact is, that society and certain governments think that the unemployed have an easy ride. Many unemployed people would love to work (and of course, as with everything, there are notable exceptions) but have become unemployable through de-skilling, are too old to take to the tools or labour, have an addiction that has removed control from them, are possibly ill in some cases, or have been cast aside by a nation who regard them as lower than a snake's belly - among a long list of other reasons. So many seem to think them lazy and selfish - though I urge anyone to try an live on benefits and see if they would truly choose that subsistance life and regard themselves as winners, as a bit canny and clever, as having got one over old Tommy Tax-Payer. Those who I know who are long-term unemployed have lost hope. If the high point of their existence is Jeremy Kyle and hours of boredom and nothing to look forward to except the next Giro, then they deserve our support in so many ways, not our turned-up noses and certainly not an all-but-threat of modern-day slavery.
Where is Mr Wilberforce when you need him?