Sandra Lambert, manager of 149 Jobcentres and self-styled lifestyle guru, has spent much of the last few days frantically blocking people on twitter who have been taking the piss out of the cringemaking motivational advice she inflicts on the poor bastards who work for her.
She wasn’t fast enough however to hide the tweet in which she awarded a Texas style sherriff’s badge to Jobcentres in the midlands for upholding their DMA decision rate – as spotted by @refuted. A DMA means a referral to a Jobcentre ‘decision maker’ to process a benefit sanction. It is the second time this month a DWP manager has been exposed praising their staff for hitting benefit sanction targets – targets that Iain Duncan Smith’s department have repeatedly claimed do not exist.
It is not just that the DWP are lying which is so contempible, all government departments lie after all. It is the sheer glee that has accompanied this policy of driving people into desperate poverty should they happen to miss a meeting with the Jobcentre or call in sick for workfare.
There is no argument anymore, benefit sanctions kill. They are the cause of desperate suffering as has now been well documented by organisations which work with claimants such as Citizen’s Advice, MIND, Gingerbread, Oxfam, Homeless Link and countless others. Whatever your views on the social security system there should be no doubt, benefit sanctions are intended as punishment, and that punishment is severe.
To hear that Jobcentre staff are being given Easter eggs, or gold stars or Texas fucking badges as prizes for inflicting this regime is repugnant. There is something very wrong at the DWP when the tears and broken lives they cause are met with laughter and merriment and fucking competitions to do it to as many people possible. Do they get a bonus if they sanction someone who goes on to top themself? An extra pat on the head if someone is sick and may not last the Winter if they can’t afford to put the heating on? At the very least you might expect some dignity, sensitivity and awareness of the seriousness of their actions. But instead it’s just a big fucking joke. Has a government department ever sunk any lower?
Perhaps this is the reason for the glassy-eyed nonsense that seems to inflict many of the managers at the DWP. Perhaps it is the only way they can sleep at night. By turning the whole wretched and inhumane system that they oversee into some kind of twisted game where they compete to keep each other’s spirit’s high as their hands become ever more stained with blood. But that is no excuse. The consequences of their actions are all too real and no amount of happy clappy slogans will fill a hungry child’s belly or talk a desperate person out of suicide.
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