Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Welfare - three strikes and you're out

Another policy flung out from the Conservatives and defended on the sofa of GMTV by David Cameron. Nothing to do with them being the soft option, they just have better refreshments in their Green Room then the BBC and they probably asked first too. On that note I'm betting David was hoping to be interviewed by Fiona, as I doubt she has any real interest or knowledge in the subject and thus the 'interview' would turn into a discussion about her, her family, her job, and what government position she could expect to be offered if the Conservative party returned to power; unfortunately he got Ben Shephard instead.

Okay he's no Paxman, but at least he was asking the questions that received answers Paxman would have jumped on and torn to tiny shreds rather then allowing David to use the interview as a Party Political Broadcast, so he showing some promise.

So the policy itself is quite simple, for those who have been on welfare for some period of time (I believe two years was mentioned) if they refuse to take a reasonable job offered to them they lose one month of benefit, turn down a second job and lose 3 months, turn down a third and lose three years.

"So what do you mean by reasonable" asked Ben
Much waffling about individual needs, skills, etc. before David admitted that no definition of reasonable had been written down.
"But aren't these jobs offered going to be mostly low-wage?" asked Ben
"I don't think that's correct" responded David
"Aren't most of the jobs available unskilled?"
"I don't think that's true"
followed by waffling on immigrants coming over here and taking jobs "and good for them too" [heretic] so there must be such jobs available.
"But we're still talking mostly unskilled over skilled jobs"
"No I don't think that's true"

To back up all these claims David produced a detailed set of figures produced by the government showing the number of jobs available and those that had been categorised into skilled and unskilled... well no he didn't. Instead he related a story about how he'd toured some industrial estates in his constituency of West Oxfordshire and talked to some working Poles and Romanians who told him how happy they were; so case closed.

Seriously what's wrong with the Conservative party? Okay that could be a long answer, but this is just pathetic - a case of copying something that's been implemented in parts of the USA without bothering to check any of the figures. Oh but it might get a headline in the newspaper and some votes from people who think we should bring back the workhouse, who probably would vote Conservative anyway. Is this what Opposition politics has become to throw out speculative policies into the wild and see which ones stick, before reeling them back in to see if they can be made to work?

Perhaps this policy could also be applied to council housing? If you turn down a reasonable house offered to you for sale then you get kicked out for a month etc. There's plenty of good, cheap housing around for anyone who wants it, well at least there probably is if you're leader of the Conservative party and on a politicians wages.


Invisible said...

…and this is why I can't be bothered with politics.

As far as I can tell, all of them come up with equally stupid ideas, debated by shouting and jeering rather than rational thought.

Ah well…

FlipC said...

I've just heard something this morning that had me laughing, I can't comment at the moment except it was along the lines of 'It would be much better to put [item] at [Y] rather then [X] until [situation] at which point we'll move [item] to [X]' Jaw-dropping!

As for politics IMHO too many of the top-tier of politicians are divorced from the requirements of the majority of the people they're supposed to represent and are turning to the tabloids to find out how 'we' think.

I've a draft that would have followed this entry on Cameron's walkabout on a 'sink' estate.

"Watching David listen and nod I suddenly worked out what this was - it was a royal visitation. The regal visitor nods and listens and pretends to know what a 'plum-er' is and ponders how anyone could live in a home with only two bedrooms and no staff. I'm not attacking David here it's the same if you watch almost any politician; they have no empathic connection to the plebs they're visiting."

The jeering and shouting is traditional and actually has a strict code of conduct that does get enforced.