Friday, 28 May 2010


It is good news that the Tories are going to tackle the problem of the people that, 30 years ago, they put on the scrap heap.

In a concerted effort to drive down the unemployment figures in the 1980s Mrs Thatcher’s Employment Secretary ordered Jobcentres to transfer as many people as they could from the embarrassing figures for those out of work, which were published each month. The favourite (according to people I know who worked in the Benefit Office), was to persuade them to go to the doctor and get “signed off”. They then immediately disappeared from the monthly figures.

Job done.

Well, except that these people were simply left to moulder on the “sick”. It was often in areas where one by one the traditional industries offering “men’s work” were closing down. Steel works, coal mines, ship building, heavy engineering, car manufacture, textiles, ceramics, bricks, glass.

The jobs that came along to replace them in the new, smart, clean Britain were insurance, banking, sales, call centres...... The men and the jobs didn’t go together: didn't match. So, no one from JC pestered them, and there were no jobs suitable for them, so their wives worked, they claimed Sickness Benefit, and as their mental health deteriorated they claimed Invalidity Benefit... and so it went.

Now it’s all to stop.

And that’s good.

People will not be allowed to moulder on the “sick”.

In a speech today Mr Duncan-Smith set out the new Tory strategy. And in keeping with IDS’s reputation for fairness, those who have spe
nt their lives on benefit, thanks to Mrs Thatcher, and who are now approaching retirement age, will be allowed to retire. Anyone else will be re-assessed and helped to get into work. The kind of work that is suitable: part time, very part time.... light duties.

I’ve a few words of caution for IDS. Firstly, with all the jobs that are going to be lost because of the bankers’/government's/FSA's incompetence, and the civil service pay offs, there aren’t going to be many jobs for the millions of people that you intend shifting off the sick list.

If and when employers do take on, they will want to do so from well qualified and job ready people, conversant with today’s way of doing business.... and there are any number of them available at the moment. They will be spoilt for choice.

Secondly Iain, what comes out of your office way up in the dizzy heights of Whitehall may be good and well intentioned. But by the time it has moved down about 18 levels of responsibility to the clerk, or the medical person... it has become a target. The guy sitting in front of them is no longer a person. He is a target to be achieved.

So, just make sure that you keep an eye on what’s going on. Remember that the tests under Labour were so strict that more than half the decisions to refuse benefit were overturned by tribunals. That’s time and money consuming not to mention a terrible thing to do to sick people. A tribunal can take up to a year to be convened.

Tell your staff that not everyone who is on Incapacity Benefit is a skiver, or a liar and fit as a fiddle. Just like not every MP is a liar, a cheat or a thief.

And please Iain. Forget the bloody targets. These are PEOPLE



  1. You seem to want your cake and eat in here Tris.

    You either sort the problem, or pussy foot around it citing "these are people".

    Lets get this dark legacy of Maggieds era sroted once and for all.

  2. Being able to do 'SOMETHING' does not mean having the opportunity to do 'IT' so the Torys/Lib Dems cut their benefits in the hope they quickly starve to death or commit suicide..

    And hey presto lower unemployment expect of course another 2 million will be added once the Con/Dem Cabal get in to the real public cuts(they will enjoy that)

  3. It would be good if this were a genuine effort to help people. But I suspect it is a quick fix that will do more harm than good. It is nothing new anyway as Labour were in the process of doing something almost identical.

  4. Dean I must have read this differently to you. I though the initiative was broadly welcomed but that it was hoped that it would be done well and not quickly. I don’t see how that is having your cake and eating it as well, unless you don’t want to treat people like errr.. people!

  5. Tris

    As always happens with these "initiatives" the people with the "money sticks" who know how to manipulate the system will continue to receive their benefits, while the people who are genuinely sick, and have in all probability hardly been off work sick until later in life, will be the ones who are targeted, and forced to take jobs that they are physically incapable of doing.

    As for IDS treating them as people, forget it he is a tory.

  6. They're not people Dean?

    They're not sick people, most of them?

    As far as the older ones are concerned, long term since Maggie's day, if they weren't sick before, they certainly are now.

    All I'm asking for is that, in their rush to show the traditional Tory support that they are not softy Liberals, they don't go around bashing what the traditional Tory support loves to see bashed. The people they believe to be scroungers

    Nothing wrong with bashing real scroungers, but let’s find out that they ARE scroungers first.

    Any one of us could fall ill tomorrow. Cancer, heart disease can hit people through no fault of their own. Only last year I thought I was invincible and then two collapsed lungs taught me different.

    I want the job done. I really do. I don’t see why I should pay sickness benefit for people who can run marathons or coach football teams, but we need to remember that the odd Daily Mail exclusive doesn’t apply to everyone. I want the job done right. I don't want it done by a tick box system. Sickness doesn't fall into box ticks, unless you have a box for every possible scenario, and they don’t. But if your symptoms don’t fit into the questionnaire, then tough.

    That's why the courts (with medical advisors) overturned most of the DWP's decisions last year.

    As a person who has worked in the business of unemployment for a good few years I know a little bit about what employers are looking for. So Mr Duncan Smith needs to prepare himself for the fact that employers aren't necessarily salivating at the thought of employing people who have had depression for 20 years, or who have suffered 3 heart attacks in the past 5 years.

    Mostly what will happen is that he will transfer these people on to an unemployment benefit, which will create more work for DWP staff, and make the sick person's life even more miserable than before. It may be that he’s putting the cart before the horse. Before you try to get malingerers into work, it might be a good idea to have some jobs into which they can be put.

    I don’t know about having cake and eating it. We’re dealing with people’s lives here, and they are people like you and me.

    I’ve wanted to think that IDS was going to do good stuff, and my original article was just a few words of caution. Your comment suggests that the Tories are just in a “let’s not pussy foot about” mood. Slash and burn.

  7. Yes Dubbieside. In my experience there are people of whom the DWP staffs are frightened. And in some cases rightly so, although now that most of the business is done from call centres in other towns by people without faces, at the end of telephones, that is less prevalent.

    But there are still some. They rarely end up on courses; they are rarely if ever sanctioned.

    And they won’t be now.

    The ones they go for are the reasonable decent people who won’t put up much of a fight, or the timid who put up no fight at all. That way they get their targets and pass upwards through the grades with as little difficulty as possible.

  8. Niko.

    The Tories ruin society; Labour ruin the economy.

    The SNP is the only answer.

  9. Tris

    The torys are always ready to slash and burn anything that is not connected to the "City"

    No one from Eton is working in manufacturing or anything connected with commerce.

    Thats why they are tories, look after number one to hell with the rest. Mind you the last Nulabour lot tried their best to out tory the torys with all their right wing policies, Trident etc.

    Time to leave this septic union.

  10. Our attitude can be summed up in one word 'tired'. We are tired with this residual problem going on and on. Every government; of both colours; have totally failed to solve the problem.

    The reason seems this obsession with not hurting anyone. But the problem is that to resolve this dangerous situation, it will hurt. This shall be painful, and there is no way of getting around it.

    So when I say 'cake and eat it', I hold to it. Tris, forgive me, but your argument seems to read to me; 'I want this solved', but I don't want it to hurt. That is frankly unsustainable.

    It is time to sort this out. People deserve to have a safety net which doesn't become a tangled web that entraps them.

  11. listened to Farming Today radio 4 this morn on about the use of E.U immigrants on farms for seasonal work..

    One owner explained how they difficulty in attracting local employees so look abroad even going to Poland to recruit people..

    So how many Local people did they employ out of their total workforce of 350 last year they were asked
    the answer was 'ONE' yep 'ONE' and she turned out to be the Daughter of the operations manager.

    Now does any one seriously believe they could find one one local person to employ the truth must be they did not want to employ local people.
    the idea of not being able to find any local people to employ is frankly ridiculous.

    And the question is when the Torys drive the British people out of their jobs either in or dependent on the public sector and then slash welfare payments(although many will have paid for untold years towards them and than find they Thanks to the Con/Dems are unable to claim that for which they paid towards).

    They will find themselves being pushed onto the sideline as the even more desperate E.U migrants snap up all the job vacancies.

    Leaving the net effect of unemployment for British peoples being high and remaining high

  12. Getting people into work Dubbie is not in itself enough, it is also about getting people into "real" jobs [quoting Redwood]. Public sector work is as good as being on benefits, it all depends on the profit made by the private sector.

    Yes we need public sector workers, and benefit safety nets too- but only what we can afford. We cannot go on sqeezing the profitable private sector and depend on artifical and unproductive employment in an ever growing public sector machine.

  13. ‘’Every government; of both colours; has totally failed to solve the problem’’

    No Dean. One government caused it: the Tories, and one government failed to sort it: Labour.

    And the reason they failed is that they tried to be harsh and treat the people on Incapacity Benefit like thieves, but the Tribunals System, part of the Ministry of Justice in England, threw something like 60% of the cases out on the basis that they system they used to assess the people was flawed. Of course they took no notice and went on doing it. They wasted all that time on the basis they thought that people wouldn’t fight back, but they did.

    Lazy old Brits actually fought for their rights for once and stuffed the government.

    I started off saying that I wished IDS well, but pointing out that it wasn’t an easy job, because the claimants are not just statistics to be dealt with as they will. They are people. How would you feel if it was someone in your family who was ill and the government was saying “tough: you didn’t tick enough boxes so get out and work”?

    “The reason seems this obsession with not hurting anyone.”

    Actually I don’t see much wrong with not wanting to hurt people. We appear not to want to hurt the bankers which is why their bonuses are back at the same level as before, like absolutely nothing had happened and WE didn’t have to spend the rest of our lives paying the money back.

    I want the job done RIGHT. I don’t want people with heart conditions sent to work; I don’t want people with ME or cancer, sent out to work in jobs they can’t do. I want the people who are playing the system to be back looking for work, but I don’t want the government to hurt people who are already ill.

    If that’s the kind of government the Tories are Dean, then I hope the coalition fails by this time next week, and they are out of power again.

  14. Niko: Time after time employers report that you get better work for less money out of Eastern Europeans.

    They say if they paid more money they would have to charge more for their produce....and Tesco would buy from abroad.

    It seems to me that British management are greedy and liars and that British workers are lazy and greedy.

    I wish I were Finnish.

  15. Dubbieside: Absolutely. I'm really shocked at Dean's/Tories' (if they agree with Dean) attitude to this.

    No one that votes Tory will be affected, because when they are sick they have enough money in the family that they don't need help.... or maybe Tories don't get sick.

    I agree, the only answer is to get away from the UK.

    I'm at the exit door now.....

  16. Dean....

    We couldn't really afford the banks, could we?

  17. ... and they are.... no sorry....WERE, private sector.

  18. Tris I have sympathy for your post and you are right that people who are being assessed for incapacity benefits should be treated as a person and not a Whitehall target.

    A lot of the people who are on the benefit are a legacy of the bad old days of Thatcher but also are a product of various vote winner incentives from Labour.

    Labour had 13 years to sort out the benefits system but chickened out whenever the polls wobbled. IDS as you say has good intentions but I doubt even his radical plans will dent the amount of claimants.

    If the Tories want to get real on shifting attitudes then billions will have to be spent on deprived areas. I do welcome the fact that the Tories will at least try and weed out those who are claiming the benefit but are fit for work, they are the people who are costing us all a fortune.

  19. Tris,

    I am surprised at your aggressive reaction.

    No one is saying sent the ill and dying to work, thats utter jingoism, and I suspect you realise this.

    It is about sorting out the welfare system so that it can a] be affordable, this is taxpayers money after all and they are entitled to expect efficiency in the system, b] its about getting done in five years, we dont have 20 years to reform a crippled system so everyone can be happy and jolly. Reform is always painful for somebody, its why my natural inclination is Burkean incrimentalism. But with the threat of another Liebour government, we need to get this sorted sooner rather than later.

    Dont get morally self righteous with me. I don't expect taxpayers to have to pay for a crippled system just because it may upset some academic liberals or nationalists. I want to have a good, solid saftey net for the vulnerable which CAN command the support of all people in this country.

  20. Dean MacKinnon-Thomson said...
    Getting people into work Dubbie is not in itself enough, it is also about getting people into "real" jobs [quoting Redwood]. Public sector work is as good as being on benefits, it all depends on the profit made by the private sector.

    Yes we need public sector workers, and benefit safety nets too- but only what we can afford. We cannot go on sqeezing the profitable private sector and depend on artifical and unproductive employment in an ever growing public sector machine.

    I know Dean's post appears a bit radical but I do agree with him. We have almost as much people working for the government in Scotland as communist Cuba. Scotland is sleepwalking into an artificial public service economy.

    Thousands of people who are employed in the public sector are working in huge resource wasting departments and are actual costing us more to employ them than the productivity they produce.

    Dont get me wrong, not all jobs should be looked at as making us a buck but there is a lot of waist in the public sector.

    The banks have cost us billions but overall they will recover and over the years they have contributed more to the economy than they have cost us.

  21. Allan:

    I want to make it really clear that I'm not in favour of paying for people who are capable of work, and I accept completely IDS's and indeed the precvious Labour executive's notion that people should be assessed for what theya re capable of, rather than what the are NOT capable of... but the best intentions can fall flat on their faces when they are applied by badly trained, disinterested staff on targets and management in private companies who are paid by results.

    The temptation is ... and clearly has been... to mark people down, and collect the money... in the hopes that they are too ill or too stupid to know how to appeal.

    If we are going to do this, and we shuld, let's ahve it done fairly and decently.

    How much chance is there of this?

    Nil. Fair and decent is what the British government preaches, along with democracy and fiscal prudence, to the rest of the world. It doesn't much bother with it for itself.

  22. Dean; I'm not worrying about upsetting Liberals or Nationalists, nor come to that Tories. I couldn't care less if the entire political eleite are crying their sorry eyes out.

    I don't want the sick to be hurt, and they already have been by the half arsed way that Labour went about it.

    The minute that the DWP say that a claimant is fit for work they stop all payments. Sometimes this is backdated.

    The person then has to apply for some other form of benefit, which can take weeks and even months to appear, people's rents are not paid and they can be made homeless, and then they have to launch an appeal. If they are ill and don't have help... and many don't... they are completely gubbed.

    The fact that THEY are hurt worries me. I hope it worries the Tories too otherwise like I say I hope that the government crashes and burns.

    We can't afford the system, well, perhaps if we stopped wasting moeny on Trident and wars all over the place we could afford to look after our sick.

    God give me a country that cares about its poor and its sick, not that I'm likely to get one.

  23. Allan,

    Once upon a time we had a thriving manufacturing economy in Scotland. There was work that the people could do.

    What Mrs Thatcher forgot when she was changing us from a mnufacturing to a service economy was that she should have changed the people too.

    The silly cow.

  24. Tris if it were left to the Tories alone then I think you are right and they could be or at least leave it to unsympathetic people to assess claimants. However with the Libs on board I think the plans IDS has will be more realistic and unfortunately some people who are genuinely ill will be penalised and this is not good enough.

    Its just an observation but in Leith and in particularly around the Foot of the Walk I see young guys in there 20s walking quite fast but have a walking stick. The walking stick hardly touches the ground when they are walking. Its the same guys I see day after day, week after week yet I have people in my work who are wheelchair bound but are able to carry out work.

    Now I might be wrong and they are indeed working but as I said its just an observation.

  25. Dean

    All these real jobs that people should be doing no longer exist in Scotland.

    They were destroyed, not because they were unprofitable (Ravenscraig) or that we would have no further need for them (Mining industry) They were destroyed for purely dogmatic political reasons by Thatcher and the Torys.

    Stop lecturing us about real jobs in Scotland, as good quality real jobs were destroyed by the toxic Torys, never to return.

    The explosion of people on invalidity benefit was also a toxic Tory cynical attempt to massage the unemployment figures again under Thatcher.

    Torys created the situation, Nu (Tory Light) Labour had 13 years to do something and they did nothing. The steel works at Teeside is similar to Ravenscraig, same right wing ideology different name. Tory/NuLabour, spot the similarities.

    Nice to see all the socialist brothers and sisters lining up to join the Lords, two faced hypocrites every one of them.

  26. Tris

    Anything you write about Thatcher I will fully agree with. The woman was a disaster and to carry out popular policies that benefited the wealthy few she lambasted the masses, well at least in Scotland.

    I just think the current Tory party has changed and learnt lessons but we have the likes of the old Labour party lingering on in Scotland scaremongering the public into voting for Labour.

    Tris I'm a member of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and in one such meeting with them I was astonished to learn that Scotland had lost more manufacturing and heavy industry jobs under labour than under Thatcher.

    Ironically the meeting was in the new Telford Collage campus which is on the site of the former Granton Gas Works.

    Blair Brown and Thatcher all sing from the same hymn book but two of them are better at covering failed polices than one of them.

  27. Dubbieside

    Lol, I think poor Dean was quoting something which the hapless former Welsh secretary said on Question time last night regarding real jobs.

  28. Allan:

    I thought that that was what they were about too. I respect IDS, well, in as much as I respect any politician, I mean, but then Dean gave away what the Tory grass roots are about... pain!

    But it's never pain for the bankers and the big business.

    Frankly Blair-Thatcher-Thatcher-Blair.... I don't really see any difference... it's a bit like pig-human-humn-pig...

    Only not nearly as nice.

    Dubbieside sums it up.

    And yes... all these socialists that wanted rid of the Lords Mr and Mrs Kinnock for example... up to their oxters in ermine.

    At least with the Tories you get what it says on the tin... with Nu Labour, well...look what we got.

  29. The poor old Welsh. They don't get much of a deal out of Westminster do they?

    The last one was a plonker who couldn't run his own Dept Leader campaign, and this one would have difficulty finding her backside with both hands... and she's a tetchy bitch too.

  30. Tris

    I think Dean is a bit of a Thatcherite but fortunately I think the mainstream of the party has shifted attitudes.

    Lol the poor Welsh indeed. I always remember John Redwood standing and ya ya yawing away at the Welsh national anthem years ago. The guy is truly horrific.

    If you get a chance you must watch last night's question time on the Beebs website. The line up was dreadful. Redwood, Alister Campbell, Piers moron Morgan and Susan something for the Libs. It had to be the most fired up question time I have seen. Well worth a watch with some popcorn. Popcorn is harmless to your TV when you chuck it at the TV.

  31. Allan.

    I always though Dean was to the left of the party. I'm surprised at his attitude here.

    Of course there will be mistakes and people will be hurt. But it must mainly be about getting people work, and getting employers good people.

    Aye they had wee Wilie Hague too, when he was only 3, but Redwood like a puppet in "Fireball XL5" has to be seen to be believed.

    If I get some popcorn I'll watch the show later Allan.... but I'm worried about the state of the screen after.....

  32. Tris,

    I am on the left of the Party [and Fireball XL5 was great, leave it alone:)].

    That said, I just want to get things working again. Tris, I agree with you: this problem was created by Maggie- but since then it has got worse! We need to get this sorted, I am sick of having to pussy foot round these problems. I want a public sector which is strong, resiliant, and commands support.

    But if I HAVE to spell this out;

    I do not want people to starve,
    I do not want to force the sick to work till they drop
    I do not want to destroy the public sector

    Anything else I need to say? I cannot believe that I need to say I care for the sick! OF COURSE I DO!

  33. Dean with respect, you are doing a Vince Cable here and flip-flopping again. It reminds me of you argument for keeping the unelected, as follows:

    The Queen is good because she does not interfere;

    Prince Charles is good because he does interfere;

    We never did get to the bottom of that.

    Now you seem to be saying: the majority of people on incapacity benefit and in the public sector are lazy and shiftless malingerers who ought to be made to get “real” jobs (never mind the fact that you omit to tell us what these real jobs are and where they will come from). Then you say that you don’t want to hurt or penalise people who are really sick.

    The obvious dichotomy is how do you do both of these things at the same time without an enormous outlay in terms of properly assessing all the claimants? I think that is what Tris was trying to flag up. Correct me if I am wrong.

  34. I never once said that al public sector workers are "lazy", I said that the public sector has a culture of poor productivity, and inefficiency- if you call that lazy that is fine. One thing it aint is productive and value for money.

    As for the real jobs, real jobs is a term [as Allan said correctly] was deployed by John Redwood. An whether you like or dislike the chappy he is right to say that the "real" jobs are the ones in the private sector which actually pay for themselves. In the public sector they do not, but given the public sector invariably never produces wealth this ought not be too surprising.

    As for flip flopping it is nothing of the sort. The monarchy issue is entirely diffent.

  35. Dean I didn’t even come close to saying that you said “all”. I said, if you look again, that you “seem to say” and “that the majority”.

    A “culture of poor productivity and inefficiency” can reasonably, I would suggest, be shortened to “lazy” without too great a leap of the imagination.

    I am entirely indifferent to John Redwood and so neither like nor dislike him.

    If you are saying that the only valid jobs are ones in the private sector then how do you explain David Cameron’s aspirations to get people to volunteer to help fix broke Britain. In case I am much mistaken the charity sector is not part of private enterprise either and, therefore, according to you and/or John Redwood not “real” jobs. You say that the public sector does not produce anything, so are you seriously contending that a fireman is less productive than a merchant banker? Or are you prepared to accept that there is a social cost that needs to be included when assessing the value of various professions and sectors and their right to be considered as “real” jobs?

  36. Munguin,

    A lack of efficiency in the public sector is fact, and if I meant lazy I'd have said it.

    For example the Guardian reported on August last year a very good story;

    "The widening productivity gap between the public and private sectors has cost the British taxpayer £58.4bn a year - half of the total raised in income tax."

    So I do not believe that I am out of line in calling the public sector unproductive, especially if the Guarduan backs me up; a very good source.

    What I meant by "real jobs" is purely and simply jobs which sustain and pay for themselves. I apologise unreservedly if my lingo seems cold or cruel, but the public sector does not create wealth, and depends upon the growth produced by the private sector. It is therefore not sustainable in its own right, this is why we need a stronger private sector.

    Allan touched on this point himself, this happens to be something Scotland maybe needs. Scotland has [I think] over 50% of employment directly or indirectly dependent on the public sector/state - the long and short of this is it is artificial employment, i.e it cannot survive in its own right without the support mechanisms of the [too small] private sector and rich state subsidy from Scots oil among other sources.

  37. Dean: did you not recently advocate a set of, I think you called them, supra-national organs to manage the European super state? Which I understand is something that you are in favour of. Those jobs would I think be in the public sector and by your own definition wasteful and unproductive.

  38. Dean:

    I know that you understand that not everything can be done with "efficiency" and "profit".

    Checking that people are or are not fit for owrk being a case in point. The government handed this out to the private sector and something like 60% of the decisions appealed have been overturned.

    This is a nonsense... and really what the post was about.

    There are sick people in our country for various different reason. One is that healthcare is poor in comparison to much of Europe; that stress levels are much higher than in southern Europe, and conditions are far worse than in northern Europe... and that's not counting the Tahtcher contribution to ill health which as we all agree is enormous.

    The fact that the public sector is inefficient is a given fact, by why should it be? What's wrong with the management (apart from the fact that there is far too much of it)? That's what we should be looking at.....and changing.

  39. PS... Fireball XL5 is really very entertaining ... you're right. Zoonie and Robert are my favourites. Going Home... Going Home.....

  40. lol, Yep- I my dad made sure I was raised on the Gerry Anderson classics!

    Back on point however.

    Munguin, I do support a supranational EU. However I do not see why you would view that view to be in conflict with my desire for more productivity in the public sector? Surely it can be complimentary?


    Yes, it is partly a management failure. Agreed.

    However the problem with the public sector is not whether there needs be reform and change [I think be both agree things need to change, and be done differently]- the questions seems to be how to do this.

    I hold that time runs against us on this, so we need to role up the sleeves and get radically reforming the public sector and in particular the welfare system; and entitlements. At the moment it is wastefull, poorly managed and people are regularly humiliated by Labours means testing culture.

    We need to radically reform it all, and sadly reform always hurts someone. It cannot be avoid, but it can be mitigated against.

    My issue with your article is that you seem to acknowledge the need for reform, but dont want anyone to be hurt- that is an unsustainable position. Every reform hurts someone, or some interested party. Mitigation, not total avoidance ought be our focus surely?

  41. Dean it just seems that you advocate a reduction in the public sector while at the same time advocating an increase in it.

    Also you say that it is wasteful and inefficent and just like being on benefits so how will it suceed in running your supranational EU? Wont that be like putting a whole pile of other people on benefits and worst still they might not even be British.

  42. That last bit is a joke btw

  43. lol Munguin,

    What I am saying is a reduction in the size of the public sector here in Britain, because we can't afford it.

    Yet, if we supranationalise far enough we can have a EU wide system of benefits, subsidy, private sector growth and taxation. This would enable a larger public sector- and still being affordable. But obviously this whole er - asperation - is a long ways off, so for the moment lets reduce the British welfare system and public sector to one we can afford.

    [p.s that joke would actually get heck of a lot of agreement among some of my tory friends, they seem to see France and Germany as enemies and rivals! Gods help us!]

  44. Yeah, I love all that old stuff too Dean...

    Loads of it on Youtube... along with good old Enid Blyton's Famous Five, political incorrectness and all.

    First class stuff. I'd watch more telly if that was on today.

    I'd like to think that if we were going to fix the situation we would do it right.

    It's not any use taking the quick and cheerful route. It must be done right.

    As IDS has said the older people should be allowed to head for their pension, and younger ones reassessed on the basis of what they can do rather than what they cannot do. But we need to find jobs for people that we say can work.

    Blair's New Deal was, to begin with a reasonable attempt to solve some of the problems that he inherited of (in particular) youth, and young people's unemployment. A lot of money was spent to begin with and it was actually not too bad. But as the money dried up (I don't know why it did in the never ending boom), it went downhill, and now it's worth nothing.

    As I've said, Labour's new approach, initiated by a failed Investment Banker, and advised against by the government's special advisor in Social Security, has proved unsuccessful and costly, because, of course, it wasn't thought out properly and, as usual Brown refused to take expert advice because he knew better than everyone else.

    60% of the transfers to JSA which have been appealed have been allowed by a tribunal. That's an horrendous figure. But appeals take time (up to 9 months) and people are left without money.

    I was hoping that the Tories would treat the sick with a little more respect.

    I know it has to be done... but it's always been a quick fix, and now it needs to be a proper fix.

  45. Hi there Crumpled.... welcome to Munguin's Republic.

    Is that the same as

    e = mc²

    or is it something a bit more profound that I'm failing to understand?

  46. What? You need a 3,000 word essay type post?

    You said it yourself, there are no jobs for all the prospective unemployed to go to; there are more immigrants & EU migrants undermining the decades of worker rights fought and died for than ever in the history of the country.
    The Labour party is no longer a vehicle for the interests and prosperity of the section of society who marched for it about a century ago.

    When you can't pay your rent, can't get a job, can't get the stuff you were brought up to expect, and the 'party of the workers' has become a party that panders to middle class voters and every minority interest group under the sun, what do you do? where do you go? how do you get heard? what's the one way you can be sure of upsetting the establishment? Well?

    As for your equation, I suppose you could regard IDS and Conservative squared, and the JSA as the masses of wastrels who have been trained to accept what was originally temporary unemployment insurance as something akin to an obesity, Argos and ASBO subsidy. Then I suppose some chain reaction of energy might arise from such arithmetic. Hardly profound, mein kampf. =p

  47. Thank you for your explanation.

    Is it really the immigrants and EU people who are undermining all the hard fought for rights? Didn't Mrs Thatcher do that? Didn't the people let her? And didn't the Labour Party fold its tent and give in to the south east of England middle classes?

    I suppose you could be right... the disaffected English lower classes could turn to the BNP... After all hating is always a good way of passing the time if you like a good brawl.

    I suppose for them it's even more fun if they are brawling with people who aren't quite like them. They don't understand the politics, they don't understand the economics, but of course they understand what is really easy to see... that that bloke's skin is a different colour.

    On the other hand that would mean getting off their fat lazy backsides....and that lets a great number of them out.

    It won’t happen in Scotland. Here they will go on believing that the Labour man who's just taken his seat in the House of Lords and has a chauffeur driven car to take him on a visit to the Jobcentre will be their salvation. They have been promising it for 50 years and more, so it's early days yet.

    It’s easier to get some more pills and another few bottles of Buckie and forget it all till tomorrow, when you can do it all over again.

  48. "Thatcher's blame" eh. I thought we were doing IDS?

    I agree that the sell-off of council houses yielded a short-term benefit to one generation of working-class and helped exacerbate the housing boom divergent phugoid, but breaking union power and defeating socialism was a crucial move towards liberating people from statism, but we digress...

    There was a time not so long ago where there were low-paid jobs for the young to make a start. Now there are nearly a million NEETS, and more than a million aliens (go for it) working at sub-minimum wage levels; and (you're going to demand I submit a thesis worth of references next) loads (next time maybe) living crammed into houses.

    The massive benefits system makes people disinclined to get off their fat lazy asses, and be fussy; but having wages kept low by importing people who will take it doesn't help.
    It's not the immigrants who are at fault, it's the system of dishing out money to allow the option of not persistently and hungrily looking for work that's the problem. If the benefits are to go, as you rightly say, there need to be jobs to push people into, and at the moment, conditions are such that people are going to be competing with more competent, more hardened, less fussy foreigners; and it's not hard to see why so many would struggle to get taken on with such competition, which is why I raise the point.

    Turning to the BNP has nothing to do with hate (except for hate of the establishment) or skin colour (EU)... a vote for labour gets taken for granted, a vote for the BNP gets attention. It's not the drunken brawling thugs who vote for them; it's people who Labour abandoned to chase the Tory vote. Lots of average insignificant people who aren't brawlers and who as witty, articulate, or intelligent as you.

    Sure it won't happen in Scotland; the colonial victim myth is too strong... just like every other English colony that never developed beyond tribalism, they'll keep blaming the English and dreaming that independence will deliver the socialist paradise.

    As for pills and bottles, looks like you've polished off the lot - save me some next time, ok?! You're a bit too hasty in your assumptions.

  49. Well. That was shaping up for an interesting discussion except for the last line which I'll try not to take too personally. So thank you for your contribution.