The Curmudgeon


Saturday, September 07, 2013

Not Working Enough

Under the directorship of the brilliant Iain Duncan Smith, the Department for Workfare and Punishment has been making work pay; it follows, therefore, that anyone in a job which does not pay enough is a semi-scrounger. As part of the ever more simple Universal Credit programme, the DWP plans to classify a million people as "not working enough" and haul them before the inquisition at their local job centre, where their working habits will be subject to examination and correction. Should the staff - whose IT systems and other little luxuries may or may not be working enough - decide that extra training is necessary, the semi-scroungers will be forced to cancel that extra holiday and put the mansion in mothballs so that a private company can give them a pep talk and some CV-building tips.

Meanwhile, the DWP's rhetoric is certainly a striver not a shirker: amid Blairite babbling about "claimant journeys" where employment is "just the first step" comes the megalomaniac proclamation that "moving to Universal Credit will not only remove systemic barriers to employment, it will also remove the distinction between in and out of work", the distinction between sense and nonsense having long since departed. Raking through the messianic mulch, it appears that the idea is to ensure that "even one hour of work", on minimum wage or less, will be easier than claiming the Duncan Smith panacea, even if the relevant software and statistics are by that time so nearly adequate that Duncan Smith himself cannot understand them.


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