Unemployment Soars As Thatcher’s Body Burns

WorkFare-not-workingIt’s hard to imagine a more fitting or better timed testimony to the legacy of Margaret Thatcher than unemployment figures soaring on the day of her funeral.

The number of people who are unemployed has rocketed by 71,000 people today’s figures reveal whilst long term unemployment is also back on the rise .  This follows last month’s news, conveniently released on budget day, that youth unemployment had soared by 5%, something almost ignored by the press.

Youth unemployment has risen again according to this month’s figures, conveniently released on the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral and showing the biggest rise in unemployment in almost 18 months.

This is all good news according to Mark Hoban and the DWP, who in an astonishing press release seem to believe today’s figures are something worth celebrating.  The statement almost completely ignores soaring unemployment and instead focuses on a small drop in the claimant count – the number of people currently claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.  The press release cheers the news that 2,800 less young people are claiming benefits without even mentioning that overall youth unemployment has risen by 20,000.

In truth the fall in people claiming benefits is quite likely down to the number of people disallowed Jobseeker’s Allowance under draconian new rules, or those who have abandoned the social security system completely after being hit with a long term benefit sanction.

The only reason the unemployment figures didn’t soar as public services were massacred was largely down to people on workfare, part time workers or those precariously self-employed being included amongst the official ’employed’.  It now seems that even mass workfare won’t help cover up for George Osborne’s bungling of the economy.

But just as importantly, today’s figures come after two years of welfare reforms and the multi-billion pound Work Programme.  Claimants now face an unprecedented sanctions regime with hundreds of thousands of people having benefits stopped for not meeting the endless and ever changing jobseeking activity rules.  Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been shelled out on the Work Programme – the flagship scheme aimed at ending long term unemployment and which seems to be doing the exact opposite.  Tens if not hundreds of thousands have been sent on workfare, this Government’s only answer to unemployment.

Iain Duncan Smith has boasted many times of the tough new welfare regime, whilst ever more punitive rules have been introduced alongside wild claims about how many people they would ‘incentivise’ to find work.

And yet none of these things are working.  Unemployment as it turns out, is not caused by unemployed people.  It is a structural problem of capitalism, much beloved by many bosses for the downward impact it has on wages.

No amount of harassing unemployed people will cause unemployment to fall.  No matter how many hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people are magically declared fit for work it will not make a jot of difference to the employment figures.  Even if the endless workfare schemes were successful in finding people jobs – and they aren’t – they would only be displacing other people out of the labour market.  Every government sponsored job on the Youth Contract scheme just means an older person out of work.

In this context, even the worst tabloid demons – the tiny number of those actively avoiding work – don’t seem so bad.  With hundreds of people desperately chasing every vacancy, those content to live on the poverty of benefits could be said to be taking one for the team.

This was not an uncommon view under the Thatcher government, when unemployment hit 3 million and older workers feared being replaced by younger, cheaper, unemployed people.  Since then a long drawn out smear campaign aimed at claimants has attempted to blame the economic failure of successive governments at the feet of the poorest.  The mood has turned violently against even those who genuinely can’t find work or are not well enough to be employed.  As every politician has lined up to show how tough they are on welfare all that has happened is the poor have got poorer and the welfare-to-work companies that emerged to harass and bully claimants have got very rich.  From Blair’s New Deal to Iain Duncan Smith’s Work Programme, none of it has had any real impact on unemployment.

Perhaps it is time to imagine a new welfare state.  One in which genuine volunteering, parenting, studying and caring are all given the recognition they truly deserve or where people who are sick or disabled can make their own judgement about whether they are ‘fit for work’.  A welfare state where the surplus army of the unemployed, which always exists under capitalism, are not forced to work for free and make unemployment worse, but can use the time to learn, raise children, become involved in the arts, join their local tenants association or volunteer without the compulsion of benefit sanctions.

Thatcher knew the cheapest way to manage unemployment was to chuck people enough money so that they won’t start murdering coppers and then abandon them.  But it does not have to be one extreme or the other.  There are many ways claimants can help both themselves and wider society without being forced to work in Tesco for no pay or becoming a commodity for welfare to work companies – and many claimants already do just that.

Instead of shoveling billions into the pockets of poverty pimps like A4e the money could be spent on genuine education or training or used as seed money for environmental projects, kids activities, worker’s co-operatives, allotments or community festivals.  Things which claimants at all levels of ability and availability could become involved with on their own terms. Places where people could learn new skills, add value to both their own lives and their communities and bring a genuine transformation to areas often blighted by poverty.

And if a few people don’t want to do anything at all then so what.  There’s hardly any of them and they cost a pittance.  The world is as it is, not as Iain Duncan Smith, the Daily Mail or Liam Byrne wishes it was.  Social security policy should reflect reality not silly fantasies of street drinkers and heroin addicts skipping to work at Poundland everyday where they will be warmly welcomed by benevolent shop managers just desperate to give them a job.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

102 responses to “Unemployment Soars As Thatcher’s Body Burns

  1. spot on :-]

  2. It’s ironic to think Thatcher was softer on the unemployed’s benefits than this current Tory government is.
    I reckon her view was probably “Well unemployment is so high it’s no fucking point trying to make them look for work”. She probably would have liked the idea of Workfare but during her reign would have thought there was fuck all point as she knew there were no jobs because she was closing everything down.

    • Without the massive cushion of North Sea Oil, she wouldn’t have been able to be so soft.

    • Let’s not forget: “Margaret Thatcher and her chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe were behind a politically toxic plan in 1982 to dismantle the welfare state, newly released Downing Street documents show.

      The leaked version proposed introducing education vouchers, ending the state funding of higher education, freezing welfare benefits and an insurance-based health service.

      The original version went a lot further, including compulsory charges for schooling alongside a “drastic reduction in resources going to the public sector”, full-cost university tuition fees and breaking the link that then existed between welfare benefits and prices.

      But the earlier version’s most controversial privatisation proposal concerned the health service: “It is therefore worth considering aiming over a period to end the state provision of healthcare for the bulk of the population, so that medical facilities would be privately owned and run, and those seeking healthcare would be required to pay for it.

      The cabinet papers show that far from being some kind of surprise freelance operation, the CPRS report was encouraged and commissioned by Thatcher and Howe.”


      Thatcher didn’t go as far as Cameron and co on dismantling the welfare state because she was any less fanatical, cruel, vicious, sadistic and heartless than the current crop of Tory maniacs currently in power are, it’s just that she couldn’t get away with it in the climate that existed at the time. She was gagging to do it though and she would have, if it were at all possible.

  3. What a wonderful ‘Work Programme’. Today I received a letter from the DWP stating I may be sanctioned for missing a Seetec appointment. This was an appointment I in fact attended and signed the the Seetec register. Jokers.

  4. DarkestAngel32

    I wholeheartedly agree 😀

  5. Everybody from the working class when asked Thatchers legacy is “she let us buy our council houses?” She did bugger all else except destroy union representation and communities with unemployment. We are now seeing the result of council house sales in the homelessness figures, but I don’t think that underoccupying is a reason to force people from their homes, especially when they are used but not on a permanent basis.

    Where has the money gone from the sales of these council houses, certainly not on replacing them, I did object when those in the private sector had to contribute to rent out of benefits, that was why he went away to work as most in our family have had to do some time or other.
    People should stop telling others they should live in one bedroom fleapits or bedsits because they are old.

    People come on here spouting off about what commenters on here should be doing with their time, their homes, their families, how they should think and feel. It’s time people minded their own bloody business, I have done nothing but defend both myself and others rights from selfish, overbearing

    This is one of your best posts jv.

    • Yup, council tenants bought their council housed…then sold them-to the highest bidder, usually private landlords. Hence today’s housing horrors.

  6. typo error
    I did object when those in the private sector like my son who had to
    contribute to rents out of benefits, that was why he went away to work………

  7. Words are either missing or others included after posting making it look like you are making typing errors.

  8. ps you missed out being forced to work for charities – just saying jv.

  9. The new Claimant Commitments for Universal Credit will ensure a lot more sanctions are dished out to help the DWP with its discredited figures.

    Here are some sample Claimant Commitments similar to those claimants will be made to sign.


    Click on “show all files” for DEP2013-0409

  10. oops! wrong ref – should be DEP2013-0285

  11. There’s only so many sardines you can get into a can.

  12. I have been reading your site for a while now, a while being about 5 months.
    In my opinion this is one of your best posts so far. Social, community wealth far exeeds the benefits of corporate wealth. Wealth cannot be measured in money alone.

  13. The thing is he’s really not that clever at all… one of the new requirements clauses of self employed is, I believe, that it will be assumed that you earn 35hours at min wage before any other benefits are calculated… which means its not worth it if you earn less than that, at which point you give it up and go full time unemployed… oops.. unemployed numbers go up…

    The guy is just a clueless twat.

  14. You’re doing some great work Johnny. Keep it coming. Imagine a new type of welfare state; a new Jerusalem; anything you want!


    • Are you saying that a welfare state is an impossibility cos it wasn’t (1945) and isn’t. Are you a neo con, i.e are you saying ‘we’ can’t afford it (when you mean the beneficiaries of the past 30years of theft don’t want to pay for it) or when the scale of theft is detailed, a purveyor of a swift homily re the “politics of envy” pah. The dishonest analogies used to characterise government debt as being like a maxed credit card whilst MORE money is spent in order to perpetrate a nakedly ideological program. Where fair / reform are debased into weasel words. Why is a progressive tax system a crime against humanity according to marketeer zealots. Mr allen, are you merely warning against excess optimism or are you an undercover Tory boy sniping at us here ? Do tell

      • That’s a really interesting way of reading those few comments. I took them literally & did a bit of (metaphorical) punching the air – as in it’s sometimes good to have a flight of fancy & imagine how fantastic things could be. Can a new type of welfare state be able to mean an improvement on what we’ve had before – depending on who’s involved in organising it? Back to earth & the prognosis isn’t looking good this week, it’s beyond desperate already …

        It’s just one opinion/belief that we can make provision (proper provision) for those who need it (not “genuinely need it” – just Who Need It) – there’s nothing to stop it from happening. Without wanting to sound too evangelical, I believe it and it’s a belief not based on having done any sums on backs of envelopes (sorry George). It’s directly from the idea/argument making sense on first hearing about the introduction of the welfare state (having already been a user – not a ‘customer’ by then for a good 17 years already, without really realising much about it … ). It just sounded/seemed so ‘permanent’ – back when. And It’s provided (till fairly recently) me and other people I care about as well as millions of others I’ve never met – with a (now vanishing) sense of ‘security’ over the years between then and now. It’s doesn’t seem all that long ago, relatively, that differences of opinion about about private vs.state schools/hospitals were supposed to have been arguments about a principle – about being able to choose NOT to ‘go private’ – how luxurious and how ironic this seems now. Then again, it suddenly doesn’t so very long ago that Thatcher’s Britain was a daily reality … there’s suddenly been a fair bit of harking back from all sides.

        (?)It’s all about deciding what to prioritise as much as about any economic theories. Whoever holds the purse strings gets to decide how they apportion the total spend – and the rest of us are the recipients of their humanity (or lack thereof) as well as of their budgeting skills – while ‘they’ just ‘get to work’ and play politics with ‘our’ lives.

      • Shirleynott. I note he has neither confirmed or denied anything subsequently. Because he’s done nicely 4 himself he thought he’d bolster his sense of messianic entitlement / superiority by sly swipes at “deluded lefties”. Over to you allen

  15. Burn that is likely but they won’t be using coal. Mind she just finished off the closures Labour started !!!!!

  16. All the majority of unemployed want if they’re anything like me ( and I think they are ) is a job that pays just a little more than being on benefits. The current way the jobcentre works out if you’ll be better off working is certainly draconian.Real comparisons have to include travel costs, meals at work, clothing and footwear no longer provided by many employers and N.I. contributions, currently this is not taken into any kind of consideration, besides 99% of jobs offered now fall way short of the 30 hours needed to make work pay if you are a lone breadwinner. Never mind unemployment rising, be prepared for crime figures rising as more unfortunate people who have led an exemplary life turn to no choice based misdemeanors.

    • By the way, I have a 21 year old neighbour who is and has been on a Work Program for a year, somehow he is exempt from having to apply for a minimum 5 jobs a week as I have to in order to satisfy my jobseekers agreement, I am 58 so would you not think a 21 year old who has no work history whatsoever would realistically be encouraged to apply for as many if not more jobs!

  17. David

    You are right she finished off the closures labour started, so to state that nothing was being done to reduce the subsidies to the coal industry and no doubt other failing public services under labour was yet another lie by the Tories.

    The ensuing strikes were a result of wilson and callaghan trying to get a grip on inflation caused by a public sector that provided the jobs the private sector would not, unless there was lots of profit in it for them.

    There was no need to totally decimate the coal, ship building or steel industries at the time without providing something to replace it, but the tories were loathe to invest in those they considered to be militant, now described as feckless and lazy.

    If any of those involved in politics worked half as a hard and in such a dangerous industry with pittance pay levels(no pun intended) then they can consider themselves workers not the shirkers they really are.

    • Thatcher destroyed the manufacturing base of the UK for purely idelogical reasons. She despised the working classes & everything they stood for, & today’s tories are just continuing what she started, only taking it a step further by dismantling the welfare state & no doubt, in time, the NHS

  18. And unnoticed in the circle jerk churn by most people (me included) but not missed by an alert contributor on another JV thread! I quote verbatim ex G’dian letters page re speculation bubble in Gold
    “traders may have reacted with shock, but with 10 times more gold traded via derivative contracts in 2011 THAN HAS EVER BEEN MINED”…. It’s alchemy – gold has been transmuted into thin air. Now who recalls a recent glib statement about money not growing on trees. Golden dawn seems scarily apposite as a name for current Greek neo-nazi filth. Thank you to Deborah Doane & JV contributor I’m off to find a state of blissful ignorance somewhere – echo all other posters re quality of discourse on this site. Cheers

  19. OT

    “16 Apr 2013
    Exclusive: MP warns of “sinister” police list of Hillsborough debate speakers”


  20. Yosserian Hughes

    Marvellous postin’ again Johnny 🙂

    Off-topic – But have you seen what those sad, insular, pig-ignorant gobshites across the pond have been sayin’ about the protests today??
    (Scroll down for comments)


    Thick as mince – or just plain american? I’ll leave you to decide.

    • That pic of the old trout with the rosettes – priceless!

    • An odius bunch of crypto-fascists it seems to me, (the crypto- bit applying to themselves).

    • When did the argument that unless people were ‘of age’ when events took place they can’t comment on them until they are ‘old enough’ become meaningful/enforceable? I’ve missed this. What is the unwritten, newly agreed-upon minimum age at which people can voice opinions/take part in society, and at what age can do they later become eligible to take a stance on any historically documented events at which they themselves were not present?

      (& for the avoidance of doubt, is this ‘the new normal’?).

      • Yosserian Hughes

        My thoughts exactly, Shirleynott.

        I’m gonna go what may seem off-topic on this off-topic subject – but it’ll all become apparent; so bear with me.

        Hypocrisy/ignoramuses Pt1.

        Those rats makin’ those comments don’t understand why there is so much division concernin’ that deceased senile owld bastard.

        I’ll bet some of them are the ones who’s kids went out whoopin’ U-S-A and the usual ‘patriotic’ shite they do. In fact, I’ll bet some of them encouraged their kids to do so. ALL I seen on Tv was a load of spotty twerps who’d probably only just been weaned off ‘mommy’s’ tit when 9/11 occurred.

        If someone has the means to join that forum, I’d love them to ask if they think those brats were right to do so; as well as ask if those young punks (U-S-A) are old enough to have a say in the same way as our youth would be denied the right to be glad thatcher’s dead.

        Hypocrisy/ignoramuses Pt2.

        A few bombs went off in Boston t’other day. People were killed, includin’ an 8y.o. kid.

        Now, Boston was well known for raisin’ funds for the IRA durin’ the troubles. Those funds went towards buyin’ the semtex that killed & maimed hundreds if not thousands of people in the UK – includin’ 2 children in Warrington……A product of the divison thatcher was a symptom & exacerbator of, rather than any solution to.

        Well yanks – not so nice when it’s happenin’ on yer own doorstep is it? Do you yanks see us ‘limey’s’ raisin’ funds for the likes of that, or kaczynski, koresh, mcveigh, rudolph & the rest of your lunatic fringe’?

        No – you don’t. Keep yer fuckin’ traps shut then.

        Hypocrisy/ignoramuses Pt3.

        You septic tanks robbed British technology blind under the guise of ‘lend-lease’ repayments. From jet propulsion (You didn’t break the sound barrier without robbin’ our know-how) to ‘Chobham’ (armour plate technology – which we handed over & then improved on without you gettin’ yer thievin’ hands on it next time hahahaha :D) as well as the exorbitant interest you charged for obsolete materials durin’ WWII.

        And more infamously, when you couldn’t (Because you aren’t clever enough to innovate) crack supersonic airline technology like we did with concorde, you spat the dummy and recommended every other nation NOT to buy it, citin’ it as: ‘horrendously unsafe – another DeHavilland Comet’. (How’s your dreamliner’s gettin’ on again? :p )

        …..Thereby stiflin’ our manufacturin’ economy further, causin’ more misery & less jobs. More social divide that’s been that owl bastard’s legacy.

        You’re rats. Hypocritical, know-nothin’ RATS! ZIP IT!

        Rant over.

  21. Maybe I am impatient but where is the opposition, at this rate of political inactivity I will be evicted before the summer (JSA sanctions and all) – the younger generation must be hurting but their political silence is deafening.

    • Anomie. Some of engaged youth are scary though. See alarmingly on message / polished tory teen (Georgiou or something) seen on vox pop outside House last night on bbc ? With one bound & a smirk he was allowed to say that a majority consensus had agreed thatcher policies necessary. Which think tank he’s interning in wasn’t on list of questions, nor was “is your dad a north london slum landlord “?
      Latest surreal counterintuitive stuff re overblown spectacle yesterday was that it was Gordon Brown’s fault !?!? Meantime on R4 this AM the scum from “policy exchange” is trotting out the “flexibility in the labour market” trope. Beware !! Neo-liberal economics has an illuminating tendency to use medical analogies. In the time of St Adam Smith operations were conducted sans anaesthetic/patient died etc.
      Ding dong / ain’t gonna live on Maggies farm no more.
      Btw nice touch during ads on telly last night – trailers for new “EVIL DEAD”. Good to know market’s operating freely on our day of mourning for the dear/great Leader.

  22. Have tried to repy regarding trigger happy cowboys and their over the top comments about something they know nothing about. In their country they shoot their opponents from presidents to activists like Martin Luther king Jnr and malcolm x. Their Guantanamo bay is an abomination to moderation, no wonder bomber’s are replying in kind to drones and other activities the Americans are involved in.

  23. Anomie shrugs

    They want the older generation that fought in wars,fought for the vote for women( that was when your vote counted for something), for union representation and the welfare state to do it for them it seems.

  24. Good article, but, er, hate to sort of remind people about actually living as a poor person in their late teens and 20s through Thatcher’s era, but she absolutely didn’t throw money at benefit claimants or leave them alone. And, If you’re talking about Incapacity Benefit, as a lot of people like to claim, it was actually one of the hardest benefits to claim of all!

    My unemployed friends were forced onto YTS and other projects, which were just as bad as today’s workfare; some did find work, but many were sent on useless ‘community’ projects, some on disused estates hanging around all day in the cold and not doing much, or they were worked hard.

    Benefit increases were pitiful. Also, I’ve said here before, but I was married with a toddler and a baby, and within the space of a few years, not only did we have to start paying for water, the poll tax, but she removed housing benefit completely for the very low paid, which meant in today’s money we were down over £200 or more a month.

    As I’ve said before, this led to use barely being able to afford a meal a day, certainly no heating, constantly having the electric cut off, no shoes replaced; said it before, so won’t go through the extensive list, but we were in absolute poverty. It was a desperate time for us as a family.

    Now I’m back there again; except it’s going to be much worse: nice one.

  25. No, no, no … There is no such thing as Community! … festivals.
    Pay attention at the back! – of course it’s not meant in the literal sense, that would be heartless and ill-judged …

    The coffin today was underwritten – literally, the numbers were running on a loop throughout proceedings – by the millions of unemployed and long-term unemployed people who didn’t get a name-check during the day. Part-way through the service, though, there was an unexpected show of solidarity, when someone said “In my father’s house are many mansions” – which must have resonated with anyone facing the real-world problem of: ‘Too many rooms’.

    Thinking that anyone at JCPM* could ever start a conversation including anything at all along the lines of the Welfare State imagined (in paras.13/15) would be a dream come true. It’s true that constantly harassing, as is now happening – normal service will resume shortly at around 8am – doesn’t work for all kinds of reasons:-

    – You can’t put a square peg in a round hole but they continue to try. They are like very small children in this respect (JCPM Advisers).
    – Telling someone (however loudly) to “get their mind right” won’t make it so.
    – Altering the meaning of words to make a new reality leads to extra confusion and resentment. It’s the same as bullying and intrinsically unfair. – People like to perceive fairness – it helps their equilibrium.
    – Is the scattergun approach to finding work now the default model at JCPM? Why might it not work? (Discuss)
    – The law of using Universal Jobmatch vs. Sanctions will mitigate against being able to find a ‘proper’ job but is an important ‘plank’ of the harassment process.
    (Research carried out by DWP August 2013)

    *Job Centre Plus Minus

  26. This has to be the clearest and best description of the malignant idiocy of governments. Thank you.
    and to the commenters too.
    And the worst thing is: allowing people to live with dignity would cost the same… but nah
    ONE LIFE we get, just the one, people…don’t let them define yours!

  27. I hope this isn’t too off-topic, but am I the only one who finds it weird (in the sense of something political going) on that Thatcher was cremated and not buried.

    I would bet that this is unheard of in the UK as a way to round off a state funeral.

    Churchill was buried just outside Westminster Abbey near the Unknown Soldier, for example. And the controversy over where to bury Princess Diana was put to rest, together with her mortal remains, on an island on her family’s estate.

    It seems that while there was cash for a pomp-ridden funeral for Maggie, there was ‘no room at the inn’ when it came to laying her to rest in the Abbey, in the company of (real) statespeople, and national heroes.

    Burying Thatcher – even copping out to do so in a quiet country churchyard at Grantham for ‘sentimental reasons’ – seems to have been an idea that was ‘quietly dropped’ by TPTB (and her family?), under the smokescreen of the overall controversy about this funeral…going the same way as putting up a statue. Probably after the trouble over her close friend Jimmy Savile’s grave, Grantham wouldn’t have her either (and nor would anywhere else).

    Traditional Christians (Thatcher’s ‘official’ religion) still choose burial if at all possible – with cremation only resorted to due to poverty (NOT an issue for Thatcher’s heirs). This dates back to the ancient Christian belief is that a person can’t be resurrected for the Final Judgement once their body is gone (apparently avoiding Hell as well as Heaven). Traditionally, the remains of serious offenders whose deeds were only exposed after their deaths (like Savile – for whom this is still being mooted), were exhumed and reduced to ashes – and that’s why.

    Hence that other old tradition of burning witches at the stake.

    Can it have been revived by those in ‘high places’ and in the know.

    • @anon – Thank you for spotting this. Is it weird or is it along the lines you mention and ‘just’ that she and everyone else involved understood that any burial site (is that what they’re called?) would be a magnet for ‘protest’/desecration? Many, many people visit Marx’s headstone as well as Sylvia Plath’s – & she’s sometimes had problems with this if my understanding is right – not sure about Highgate Cemetery’s issues/if they have them. Whatever – I may not be old enough to be allowed to refer to Mr Marx as he died years before I was born/confirmation not yet published on the new minimum age someone must now be before they can legitimately refer to anyone who’s life didn’t directly impact on theirs ‘In Real Time’. At the time of writing feeling quite uncertain about who I’m officially able to hold/express opinions about (Hitler/Ghandi/Jesus Christ).

      You’ve just scared me with that explanation of why traditional Christianity prefers to bury their dead. I will have to go and give all of that some thought – whilst trying not to think about it before breakfast.

      (Or/and, perhaps It was a personal preference – maybe she was just a bit squeamish/not truly a traditional Christian – however that could be measured – … I don’t really suppose that’s the reason but it has the makings of a great horror story).

    • She had to be cremated for the same reason the funeral had to take place under armed guard.

      They’re not *that* stupid…

  28. Even cremation was too good for the old hag, she should have been dropped into the Atlantic wearing a concrete overcoat, a favourite means that her buddy Pincochet used to dispose of his political oppenents.

  29. I’m more interested in what happened in satanic mills than what is or is not going to happen to satanic monsters.
    As jv said community is important, but as all the charities are run by big business or boot boy/girl property letting councillors there is little chance of any community spirit, especially if being forced to take it on as part of you receiving benefits.

  30. Watched a young lad at a bus stop yesterday being pilloried and verbally abused by those waiting for their buses. Why? He’d been sanctioned for turning up late at a prearranged jobcentre interview and was now pennyless and asking for 50p to pay his busfare home. I was disgusted by his treatment and gave him the fare.

    It says much about the cancer of Thatcherism and the havoc it has caused to the moral fabric of society (a society which the Grocer’s Daughter denied even existed) that people have become so hard-hearted and lacking in compassion to treat someone in need in such a merciless fashion. That is Thatcher’s true legacy to the nation.

    • I saw a group of teenage boys openly jeering at a man who was not in a good state in a very public area – middle of town/near crowds bus stops. He was unaware, but it was fairly disgusting and sad. We are on the edge of more (public) attacks – verbal/physical on vulnerable people. To a boy, they were clearly unsure of a different way to respond to his ‘inappropriate’ behaviour than by each laughing/shouting insults more loudly than the other. Perfect storm.

    • 58 the post have an attitude/opinion transplant then?

      trevor…you have got to the heart of the thatcher legacy…..as in dunkirk…the order came “every man for himself”…..now this is every day life…survival of the fittest…give the other fella hell…RIP BRITAIN…

      • ps…why did unions need their power….both of my grandfathers were dockers….they summed it up like this….to get backbreaking work in the holds of a ship…they had to be selected…using a disc/tally system….

        once the foreman had selected the bulk of his gang ie his favorites, he’d throw the rest of the discs up in the air….and they would fight each other to get a disc…. friend….brother would fight each other….and all had a clear understanding of what this meant…and did not bare each other a grudge…coz it was survival…but they often shared spoils with those that did not work…..they knew why they had fought each other for the discs..they knew what the cause was…but were powerless to act against the bosses….enter the unions…

        this is the dignity that attlee prescribed to.

        we are back there..in those times….after a brief moment of leaving them…

  31. Shirleynott

    Cruelty – sums up Thatcher and the tory party perfectly.

    You’re perfectly right about the mills in this country but not so in other exploited third world countries yet.

  32. Trevor

    When I was arrested for staging a sit in to get my benefits re-instated, after months with no benefit and a 3 mile walk to the job centre, the police put me in a cell all day and then threw me out at night to walk 3 miles home.

    Then when they locked me up in a mental hospital they said it was because I refused to claim benefits and was leaving myself open to eviction, even though it was them that sanctioned my benefits and I had been fighting to have them paid throughout, exponents of the state are all cruel liars – winning by sticking together to condemn those who oppose oppression and suppression is all that matters to them.

  33. Welfare in the form of unconditional subsistence social security has been reformed into a penal system that makes unemployment and worklessness punishable by law.

    Neocons and Socialists are in an unholy alliance sharing the common cause to destroy unconditional social security misconstruing the aphorism “He who does not work shall not eat” for their own ideological ends.

    • anomie….

      skara brea orkney….

      when st paul allegedly made those remarks…probably as reported by the daily rock.aka today, the d/hell.. the pop of the planet was less than 0.4 billion..now 7.0 bln…

      which means “work”…then was walking out side of one’s abode….gathering up what one required and going back to what ever one did to entertain one’s self….which is being, top of the food chain….

      so thatchers, remarks were slightly out of context,,,,,if a man does not “work” he does not eat…..

  34. ” Since then a long drawn out smear campaign aimed at claimants has attempted to blame the economic failure of successive governments at the feet of the poorest. The mood has turned violently against even those who genuinely can’t find work or are not well enough to be employed. ”

    This is why I will never forgive the norms, whatever their class. They are a nation of flunkies and collaberators, and richly deserve the shagging they get from the government.

    I hope they learn their lesson before it’s too late.

  35. Anomie shrugs

    I don’t think, I nor anyone else was refusing to work per say, I was sanctioned for refusing to be forced to work for charities that were being run by big business. It was in both the Blair and Thatchers governance that I was sanctioned for the same reason every time. Once one benefit adviser sees a way to sanction you they copy it.

    When they fail to criminalize you they then try to say you are mentally ill as happened to me, when you deny it they say you have recognition of when you are ill. Not only are they imprisoning you illegally they are insulting your intelligence into the bargain.

    They convict and condemn on lies when it comes to those who are fighting against the state.

    • fawkes….tim feild describes this as the “mental health trap”…BULLIES often use to blame their victim…

      cited also by doc dot rowe “beyond fear” et al….

      you also cite, in your other posts, rightly the reasons for their “in house” self regulatory complaints systems…that i also have been a victim of, and their cosy little “chats”…designed to brow beat one, rather than get to truth…

      put it all in writing…which i compel them to do….even if this makes no immediate difference, it makes them think twice about…pushing one even harder…

  36. That should read : you have ‘no’ recognition.

  37. ps anomie shrugs

    Why would socialists and neo cons form an alliance for the reason you state? What is idealogical about cruelty, and blair was no socialist.

    • @guy fawkes,

      You are teasing the political realism, unholy alliance when political antagonists temporarily join together to fight a common enemy that enemy is unconditional welfare.

      Unconditionality did not save claimants from poverty but it did liberate some from being coerced into the forced labour markets found in both ideologies.

  38. Big society Dave is on tv daily politics now, saying those who are having trouble with low benefits or bedroom tax should be pointed by the job centre to food banks. This is how they justify the theft of benefits.

    That’s BIG of him.

  39. This is exactly the kind of welfare state that some of us have been calling for for ages. Work in the widest sense of the word. Hence setting up the group ‘Nothing4Something’ on Facebook:

    ‘We are sick. Sick of the ‘something for nothing rhetoric’ when we are in fact people who receive nothing for something. That is, we give something and expect nothing or very little in return. This is a group to celebrate the creative diversity and art forms of the long term sick and disabled, and those with long term health problems be they mental, physical or both, visible or invisible, fluctuating or chronic. We create not only for the health and benefit of ourselves but for the wider community. Our expression is through our writing, our art, music, satire, film, photography, video, radio, poetry, crafts, embroidery, quilting, song, novels, blogs, diverse thought….

    If we make any money at all, it is not enough to live on. Successive governments don’t value the arts unless they are economically productive. They only value us as economic units, hence all the talk of ‘something for nothing’. We are all nothing to them unless we are economically self-reliant. The word subsidy has all but disappeared from their vocabulary. They talk about us as idle and that they cannot afford our art. When they refer to hard-working people, when did you last hear this in relation to artists? When did you last hear them mention the 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration that is the driving power of artists? In an aggressive Capitalist society, we are dispensable if we can’t be self-reliant, even though our health problems prevent us from being self-reliant. The arts is precarious, our health is precarious – we are thus doubly affected. They talk about the creative industries and the creative talent of our society but they are withdrawing tax credits for self-employed disabled people – even though self-employment is the only viable option for many disabled people .

    Article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities says that: “States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.”

    This group is also to acknowledge those who give their time and expertise to others freely out of kindness and altruism, those who care for others, family members and animals, who help others get legal or benefits advice, or help others get access to justice. Many of these people offering such expertise are unwell or disabled themselves.

    The Big Society is alive and kicking on the internet. People give and share their creative endeavours for free or for little renumeration. A government that really cared about the creative talent of its people would invest in its artists, and would subsidise those unable to be economically self-sufficient. They would encourage the long term sick and disabled who spend their time creatively and beneficially, instead of seeing them as only economic units to be beaten, bullied, controlled, disempowered and erased.

    We resist.

    We won’t have our arts broken.

    Please feel to share your creative endeavours, but try and be mindful not to over-promote. People with long term health problems and disabilities usually have less time and energy. There are plenty of other campaigning groups, so this group is mainly to celebrate the creative expression of the long term sick, disabled or unemployed or discuss anything that relates to the creative process or recognition of the arts or any schemes where you have received ongoing financial help in order to pursue your creativity.

    If you are a lover of the arts, you are welcome here too!’


    • so what is the, fight, moggy m….the best ART imho. is in ARTiculate as opposed in inARTiculate….

      the fight is to remove to cloth from the ears ….the cateracs from their eyes….and the fork from their tongues….of those who oppress us….

      • Sorry, don’t understand your reply

        • moggy m…art will flourish it’s own, art is the creative life’s blood of human being…and is being choked, stifled.

          once the fundamental human rights of our people have been won, that is where i see the fight to be..

          i drop a brick on my foot, i am told it is not that, that is causing the pain but my mind thinking it does…is art, no!…

  40. On the Daily Politics just now there’s a report about Trussell trust foodbanks. No mention of the fact they’re a tory scam.Showed short clip of CMD exhorting the fact foodbacks are more accessable under the tories than under labour. Foodbanks barely existed during the last labour goverment so what in the name of sanity was he wittering on about?
    The report ended with some tory nonentity deftly avoiding answering directly the question as to why there’s an increase in the need for foodbanks instead this dunce started blathering on about universal credit..& , yes you’ve guessed it “benefit fraud”…blah, blah, blah

  41. Moggy m

    If your health problems prevent you from earning enough to be self reliant and the government/business will not recognize your talents and find profitable markets for your goods, then in actual fact you are reduced to working at your art as a hobby.

    You should not have to be forced to work nor be subjected to benefit reductions if you are sick. They have closed down remploy factories for those that were capable of doing some work while sick so don’t pander to their demands, do what you do as a hobby if you cannot get lucrative recognition for your products.

    • That is what I do do, Guy Fawkes! But the system sucks. I am a writer, I sell some on Amazon. I make a few quid a month. But I enjoy what I do and it helps me mentally, emotionally and my self-esteem as a person. I know I’m not nothing, no matter how much they try and tell me and people like me that we are because we’re not economically self-reliant. But we have our own community and it is so at odds with the one I hear them spouting about. You can’t put a price tag on the benefits to be gained from the arts (scuse the pun). The benefits go far beyond the self to the wider community and society. Because what is a society without the arts?

      • moggy m….we are all born with mountains self esteem….but it taken away…our sense of self-worth is eroded…and revalued as being wrapped up in work…work does not set you free…feeding ones self is not an optional extra…

  42. Nice DWP letter and form arrived in the post today. Asking me to sign up for UJM and give them access and NI number and Gov Gateway ID!!

    Not burnt it yet and have a photo. Will ponder.

    • Scarab, they can insist that you sign up, but not that you give them access. They should already know your NI number, and your Gov Gateway is private and confidential. Should not be asking for that! Sounds a bit dodgy to me.

      • Exactly – second time I’ve had this, last was c. Oct 2012 – which led me to this blog via google. Even my Dad thinks tis a bit off. Ignored that one.

        Touch patronising, implies everyone lies and basically saying we want to monitor your every move. UJM is as everyone knows useless. Plagued here by the fact that there’s a bloody great Firth in the travel miles radius.

  43. Overburden the donkey

    I have gone through 4 government agencies self regulatory complaints systems to ombudsmen level, some of these complaints systems have 3 stages and they deliberately take their time in answering each stage, with replies which just paraphrases what they said in stage 1 and 2 yet they think they are funny by putting you through it , so my complaints are well documented.
    They even tried to turn family against me as if I was a danger to them because of my aggressive behaviour as they called it for arguing with them over the fact I was entitled to housing benefit on a nil income basis when my benefit was stopped, prompting one family member I was estranged from to write such lies and I had to get these retracted with signatures opposing her iies, yet none of this was shown at my tribunals.

    The top and bottom of it is they fit you up and can get away with it because mental health legislation gives those locked into it no rights and bent doctors and council officials sat on the tribunal panels, swallowing the lies written about you – none of whch is recorded verbatim for you to refer to points that you have proved them wrong on. They lock you up knowing you have no access to the evidence that you need. Even though they classified me as mentally ill (which I most certainly was not) they would not let me apply for sickness benefits for the 3 months they had me locked up,even by post. They are theiving criminals.

    • 100% correct…..exactly true…spot on…and they are CRIMINALS….and wrap the victim up in their lies…

      i can only akin this to being smothered in a very thick felt of INSULATION..

      specifically and deliberately designed to isolate the victim…i call this “shut up therapy”…any thing you say will be called a SIGN or symptom….read the latest DSM5 yet? …

      all cheerie stuff..there is a petition against it…but this of course will only be seen as a sign or symptom…of insanity if you sign it…of course i think i would have been insane not to have signed it….loopy 2 places at once system no!

    • Snap – a relief to hear about nil income / hb.The fucks at capita are now trying to grab over £900 from me dating back to 2007. The govts (Bliar onwards) use of these unnacountable incompetent profiteers to keep their criminality at arms length never fails to nauseate. Is there a way to hold g4s atos etc accountable other than protest. Class action law suits / small claims court – ahh we have no legal aid for uppity proles do we.

  44. What is DSM5?

    • diagnostic and statistical model of mental illness….dreamed up by some clown in US..to catergorise and turn “mental health” into rationalized…capitalist business model of mental health…so doctors can mix and match symptoms….and come up with a fit up…..google it…

  45. Thanks for that overburdendonkey, the real bugbear is once they put all of these lies down as factual evidence on your medical report, the data commissioners, another self regulating body that also ignore your correct evidence, will not change anything about it even when proved wrong, so what does that tell you about corrupt systems from top to toe.

  46. Apologies for the off-topic post but this is interesting nonetheless – here’s the truth about wage rises, inflation, benefits uprating and Tory lies…


  47. Shirleynott. I note he has neither confirmed or denied anything subsequently. Because he’s done nicely 4 himself he thought he’d bolster his sense of messianic entitlement / superiority by sly swipes at “deluded lefties”. Over to you allen

  48. Btw. What’s this ‘norms’ thing as posted recently and why is it their fault as well as the correct objects of our justified ire ?

  49. very enlightening scarecrow78 again proving this government liars.

  50. John DV

    I read that ‘norms’ thing and I think it was referring to those who go along with and uphold the status quo as opposed to those who are prepared to stand up and fight against injustice.

  51. Anomie shrugs

    Just read your reply to my question and yes it is about uniting against the common enemy when it comes not so much to unconditional benefits but refusing to work when there is work to go to.

    Some on the left are fighting against benefits being conditional given that in some regions there are more than 20 people chasing every job, there is strong opposition to harassing people to prove what they have done to find for work also, again against a backdrop of high unemployment and low job opportunities.

    There is definitely no reason to harass the sick and disabled into finding work.

    There is also still controversy around whether you should have to take any paid work offered to you, given objections such as faith, qualifications etc.

  52. @guy fawkes,

    Your comment reads as if you do not support unconditional welfare?

    Conditionality is the subtle position that the left take to disguise their contempt for unconditional welfare.

    Arguing for unconditional welfare exposes and weeds the political deceivers out of the welfare debate – there is no such thing as deserving and undeserving poor.

  53. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Here’s something to think about:

    Let’s say a company advertises a full time job paying the basic wage or above, and let’s say 800 people apply for that job, that’s a lot of paper.

    Most companies have recycling now and probably sell their paper waste to a recycling company.

    How much money is the company making from selling this waste paper to a recycling company?

  54. Anomie shrugs

    I am sorry if it sounds like I do not support unconditional welfare, because I emphatically do support it, and of course there should be no such thing as deserving and undeserving poor.

    I am just giving you information gleaned from left wing sites regarding opposition to dwp rules and regulations and the jsa contract regarding seeking work and the type of work a claimant can be forced to undertake both paid and unpaid.

    Most want to get rid of the idea of jsa or any other benefit being a contractual benefit subjected to the whims or largess of governments and tax payers as opposed to receiving benefit as of a right.

  55. @Johnny Void-Terrific piece of writing! The only criticism I have is about the Job Creation schemes we were forced to endure under the Maggot- YOPS, Community Programmes, the bollocks that replaced it, the EAS, and the compulsory Jobclub attendance, which everybody knew was a farce. I was on the dole for 10 years, and while I never wanted to sell my labour to some capitalist exploiter, many people gave up hope of ever finding a job, exactly the hopelessness people have been talking about for the last couple of weeks, the same hopelessness returning now. All the recent, craven, history re-writing is enough to curdle milk, not least the lie that Thatcher said ‘there is no such thing a society’- I read today that she also planned to say, in a speech, until advised not to, ‘There is no such thing as collective conscience, collective kindness, collective gentleness, collective freedom’. If she didn’t crush the unemployed as much as the Tories are trying to now, it’s because she and her cronies feared more outbreaks of open revolt, which is why the Poll Tax Riots (there wasn’t just the one) brought her down. This government seems just as confident that it can push people to the wall without resistance, but they had better look out, because while our class is not easily roused, once it is, there’ll be hell to pay, and all the Tories, red, blue and yellow, may wish they had joined Thatcher in her coffin…

  56. Pingback: Unemployment Soars As Thatcher's Body Burns | W...

  57. So… Unemployment is 71,000 lower than the last year but up 70,000 on the last quarter. So unemployment potentially increases 4x faster than it decreases? This is good news?
    This is a worryingly stupid release.
    So eager to show a 1,000 improvement on job vacancies, they go on to highlight, once again, that there are 5x as many people claiming jobseeker’s allowance as there are vacancies available, (and this is before you add all those ‘fraudsters’ who are clearly fit for work.)
    2,470,000 / 495,000 = 4.99 (JSA claimants / known vacancies)
    If I were in Hoban’s place, I would be ashamed and contrite. I wouldn’t view these minimal adjustments as anything more than standard deviation.
    If I could be bothered doing the sums, I’d probably find this to be the case.

  58. There is a lot of talking on this site and not a lot of doing, so come on people, someone light the fuse wire and cause a chain reaction.

  59. Old Nick

    You sound just the person to light the fuse.

  60. Teesside Solidarity Movement

    Reblogged this on Teesside Solidarity Movement and commented:
    And this is why PMQs was REALLY cancelled

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