There’s a big furore about the direction of the ConDem All government and their ‘new’ ideal of making the ‘long-term unemployed’ also known as the ‘Jeremy Kyle Generation’ or scroungers to the true right-wingers, work for four weeks a year for free. Has everyone developed amnesia? This particular idea was brought to life by New Labour almost two years ago. It’s called the ‘New Deal.’ Worst of all it wasn’t even their idea it was American, much as is all of our economic and foreign policy.
Professor Lawrence Mead was invited to Downing Street in June 2010 to talk on the matter of the unemployed. There was a good smattering of Right-Wingers from the Civil service and ‘Think Tanks’ ( whatever that term actually means.) All were eager to hear his arguments on how it was the unemployed that are culturally at fault for their unemployment. No one seemed to have a memory span greater than a Goldfish and none seemed too eager to find fault in his reasoning.
In short, his premise is based on the ideal of changing the unemployed’s ‘cultural norms’ . The theory says that: it’s inherent for the unemployed to believe that the world owes them a living. That they deserve unemployment benefit. But our Prof. isn’t solely interested in the scrounging unemployed. He believes that the disabled should be enabled into work. (This particularly nasty form of disability discrimination is already being enacted). At present, any person who is on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is obliged to be reassessed under the most perverse Likert Scale I’ve ever been aware of. I know of individuals who are suffering from terminal illnesses that have failed to reach the golden ’15’ points needed to be seen as ‘deservingly disabled’.
These assessments are not undertaken by a GP or a trained medical professional for that matter. But, from individuals who seem more akin to Double Glazing Salesmen, whose primary concern appears to be to earn as much commission as possible from ‘failing’ as many individuals as they can. ( As an aside: one person I know who ‘failed’ this test two months ago, died of terminal cancer. Obviously sick enough to die. That’s a good saving on tax.)
The Right are on the march, this we have known for the last thirty years. The problem is that there is no Left to repel them. What we know about these policies is that they don’t work. If one isn’t too sure then check the rates of unemployment in the USA, ten percent and and rising. They’ve had their version of New Deal and Disability Assessment since the early 1990’s, which is where New Labour got their policies from.
What worries me most is how easily or readily politicians, The Right almost exclusively, adopt such nonsensical ideas. There is no grounding in fact for Professor Lawrence Mead’s theories; the opposite position seems closer to the truth if we take present and predicted unemployment figures in to consideration. Yet this blame culture seems to sit well with individuals who lack real political policies or genuine humane ideals. As a species we seem to be governed by an increasingly Right and ignorant political class, who are void of empathy or a basic understanding of economics.
We are living in an age that has shown an almost Blitzkrieg conclusion to free-market economics and still they steer the Titanic towards the fast approaching iceberg of human deprivation. Our Prof. has an axe to grind and a book or two to promote, but this doesn’t mean he knows what he’s talking about. As with Milton Friedman and the Gang-of-Five, we have seen the destruction of humanity and social justice in favour of a dream and belief that is far removed from any conceivable reality. We have the greatest world debt to have ever reared its ugly head; the largest proportion of the world’s population starving; the greatest ever displacement of people, (greater than both World wars); the lowest earning capacity relative to the rich in 100 generations; wars threatening on almost every continent, and the threat of Global destruction imminent by almost every scientific prediction given. To compound matters further, we are governed by and have in opposition, individuals, imbeciles, that believe ‘free market economics’ are not at fault and that somehow; for reasons and rationale no one can fathom, those with the least economic power, (the poor, disabled and unemployed) are responsible for, not only their own plight, but for the implosion of the Capitalist system and the American dream.