Ian Duncan-Smith. When I was a kid I used to think people who had two names were posh (mostly) but having joined the police I encounter people with numerous names, mostly just criminals! But I digress… I saw a retweet today from someone called Peter Smith ( @redpeter99 ) that I thought worth sharing about the Poundland ‘slavery’ case here
“I never thought I’d live to see the day when asking for wages as part of a job was considered an outrage. #IDS”
Being a new, unimportant blogger, I find a little therapy in penning my thoughts, and so here is my offering on Cait Reilly.
Cait, 24, won her case against the government for slavery in forcing her to work in Poundland or her benefits would be reduced.
I have swayed back and forth on this one and I will try to offer some ‘normal’ thoughts.
The government, whether you like them or loathe them quite rightly are trying to cut the benefits bill and push employment figures upwards. From what I can see, they have missed their target.
There is an unspoken rule in today’s society ( along with immigration) that you don’t have a go at benefit scroungers. It’s tantamount to racism in an immigration debate. Politicians avoid the subject like the plague because as soon as they do, the media find ‘decent’ claimants to shame them instantly.
The targets I’m talking about are a lot of our regular customers – from families in dwellings provided by us, sometimes 3rd generations who have never worked. Benefits day to them is called ‘payday’. I find that offensive in the extreme. These people make my blood boil. Free house, big TV, free prescriptions, dental care (not that they go) and enough cash to keep the population growing and the cycle wheel rolls on…
I don’t know Cait Reilly but I would hazard a guess that as she is a graduate she intends to get a decent job and work for a living. Same goes for the truck driver also from that case who had to work for free 30 hours a week for 6 months or lose his unemployment benefit. These people are the inadvertent targets hit by this work programme.
I have asked myself why this bothers me. When I left school in the 80’s I worked for a complete bastard of an employer. This is probably the first time you will ever see a swear word on my blog. I can’t give too much away, but this guy was a small businessman who I sweated buckets for in manual labour for many years. He was a Tory, ( but a bastard first) and my employment came about in a time of high unemployment, combined with another controversial Tory policy – if you left a job you would get no dole money. If you got sacked you were entitled to state help.
As a result I could and should have left and found alternative employment but felt unable to financially. There was no inflationary pay rise – we got paid in cash and he would withhold (steal) a few quid every now and then simply to show who was boss. Once a year, I would get a fiver or tenner weekly ‘rise’ but I would have to work some extra hours here and there – I ended up working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. I later secretly went to night school to learn some skills – this boss made your life a misery if he caught you looking for work. We never took sick days – that was money off and a world of grief.
When I eventually left he was so incensed that he not only gave me a bad reference he also wrote to my mortgage company and told them I wasn’t fit to own a house !
Fortunately other people saw through him and I successfully moved on.
I could tell stories all day, but my point is that in those days I was the target.
I have worked hard all my life, and been in continuous employment. I kept at a rotten job through years of intimidation, poor conditions and abuse, as I was too scared or proud to be without a job.
IDS is now saying that some people think they are too good for stacking shelves. Have I just woke up back in the 1980’s ? Norman Tebbit did something extremely similar that went down like a lead balloon.
Why is it so hard to force the scroungers into some work, without collateral damage to the rest of us ?
We are not asking them to be doctors or nurses, or take huge responsibility.
I imagine if you are a proud working person then taking a shelf stacking job is a necessity and when my police days are up I fancy doing that instead (seriously- less stress !)
Cait Reilly already had a voluntary job at a museum – our young people are encouraged to do this to get experience and for their CV- she had to give this up taking a placement under duress that should have gone to one of the scroungers instead. After all, they aren’t likely to set foot in a museum are they?
So IDS, when you launched your benefits missile it appears to have gone off course. It exploded over the lives of decent people and pushed us back in time 25 years. Only today the soundtrack is much much worse.