Things I thought

Tuesday 27 November 2012

The Work Programme: Why it's worse than you think

Being a strange and lonely soul, I've spent the morning pouring over the DWP's reluctantly released figures revealing the catastrophic failure of its work programme. The headline numbers are that, of the 878,000 people referred to the Work Programme so far, around 31,000 have found gainful employment for at least 3 or (in around two thirds of cases) 6 months. This works out at a success rate of about 3.5%, missing even the government's startlingly low minimum target of 5.5%. Even this eye-bogglingly shit accomplishment isn't all it seems, however, as I'll attempt to demonstrate using the system of arithmetic developed by the Greeks around 300 BC.

The first thing to note is that though 31,000 worked for at least 3 months, only 23,000 of them still had those jobs by July of this year (see page 5). Secondly, just because a person has worked for 3 or 6 months does not mean they've done so continuously - the Work Programme providers (such as notorious shitcunts A4E) get paid even if the work is made up of patchy week long temp jobs and zero-hour contracts. Speaking of those payments, buried in the data is a fact the DWP clearly don't want to make a song and dance about - the work programme has so far cost around £400 million. That's £12,883 per job. Assuming, generously, that those placements lasted six months on average, the government could have just spent the money we used finding 31,000 people jobs in Tescos and Poundland to employ 37,000 nurses.

How have we joylessly spunked such an unberable sum up the wall, you may ask, particularly in times of such bleak austerity? The answer comes largely in the £400-£600 payment the cavalcade of limited liability bastards get for taking on new "clients". These payments, made before the corporate fuckpots have actually done anything, exemplify the something for nothing culture Iain Duncan Smith regularly works himself up into a cross-eyed lather about, and account for about £335m of the money we've so far rammed round the fiscal u-bend. The sliver of cash which doesn't go directly into shareholders' pockets goes on mandatory courses which (according to one friend) teach you that it's better to look in the local paper for a job than ask a psychic, amongst other vital life lessons. This may explain why people seem to do a better job of finding an, er, job, if they aren't on the programme at all.

There are further incentives for these cocktoed wankmuffins, however, and every time an employment "outcome" is achieved (i.e. someone has stayed in a job for a set amount of time) another fat cheque is written. The amount offered differs between different groups, and bizarrely the government have decided to give companies less cash for finding work for young people (amongst whom the unemployment rate is 18.9%) and much less for people trying to find work while receiving incapacity benefit.

I can only assume this latter provision is part of the Tories' well established, multi-pronged strategy to fuck the ill, a strategy which today's data sadly shows to be working. Of the 15,210 people forced off incapacity benefit and referred to the work programme, just 160 of them have found jobs. That's a "success" rate of 1.05%. If you'd like to check this for yourself the numbers are on pages 4 and 13 here - the relevant columns are JSA ex-IB and ESA ex-IB.

The government will try to dress up this colossally expensive, inconceivably mismanaged cocktastrophe with reference to one final (fudged) figure: 56% of those referred to the work programme have come off benefits. Thankfully, this is not the case. While 56% of those referred to the work programme have had a break in benefits (maybe for just one or two weeks), we have thankfully not seen nearly 500,000 people hurled, starving, into the streets quite yet. If we had, we'd have seen a huge spike in violent crime, even bigger surges in suicides and homelessness than we've experienced already, and a huge strain put on charity and health resources. It is illustrative, though, that the government clearly sees making people destitute as a good thing. So when the government bandies about their fake 56% figure today, remember the Dickensian nightmare they're actually aspiring to.

Saturday 24 November 2012

The BNP and UKIP - A Spot The Difference Game

Twitter and assorted, credulous media tosspots have been aghast today at the news that Rotherham council has reservations about letting racists foster immigrant children. While there are obviously a number of problems with this policy - most obviously that we shouldn't be letting racists foster anyone (Rotherham council were apparently quite happy to place British born children with the couple) - the twatosphere has chosen to focus on a completely upside down set of facts, in much the same way you might use a knife and fork to shove your dinner up your arse.

Putting aside the problems people have raised about councils acting like "thought police", the most egregious part of this fuckwitted debate - if you have the temerity to label it that - is the spectacle of people falling over themselves to point out that UKIP is not a racist party. This splurge of fucknippled fabulism culminated in the prime-minister - who, as always, desperately needs to rim the airtight little arseholes of eurosceptics both in and out of his party - retracting one of the few true statements he's ever made - a sentence uttered some six years ago, back when he was pretending to be anything other than a morally bankrupt shill for all that is cancerous, vapid and venal in our society.

The cry has gone up, now, clearly, that UKIP are a mainstream political party. They're no some weird, loony fringe any more. They're the respectable face of the far right, and they should be treated with respect, because the far right is respectable now. They're not like... you know... *them*. The ones with all the racism and the tendency to get sued by Unilever.

Which would be fine, except UKIP are exactly fucking like the BNP, save for the fact their leader is slightly more eloquent and slightly less likely to provoke a vomiting fit using only his smile. Oh, and their acolytes are more likely to watch cricket than football, so it's all good, old fashioned, Jeremy Clarkson on the village green, Nan's been on the sherry, traditional British racism. Not like the BNP, who are scurrilous thugs with nothing British about them.

To illustrate just how indistinguishable the two parties are, I've created a fun "spot the difference" quiz! Yes, that's how boring my Saturday has been. For each round I want you to guess whether the statements written came from UKIP or the BNP - or, in at least one case, both! When you're done, write your answers down on the back of a postcard and wait for me to collect them.

Round 1. 

Each of the following is a statement from either UKIP leader Nigel Farage or Nick Griffin leader of The BNP. But which is which? Try and guess the correct answer to find out, or just cheat! The choice is up to it's your choice, so choice wisely.

1.) “Let’s put British people first. Only [PARTY NAME] is brave enough to say that.”
2.) "We've given them unlimited rights of free movement into this country and now we've given them total freedom to use our benefits system, our health system, our schools."
3.) "Sending aid to rioting ingrates while our own people die is stinking, elite hypocrisy." 
4.) "“We are going to get Britain out of Europe and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights,”
5.) "We want our country back. We will not be conned again."

Round 2.

In this round you'll be reading excerpts and policies from the UKIP and BNP manifestos. Using only your brain, try to sort out which is the racist party and which is the really, really racist party!

6.) "The first responsibility of the British government is to its own citizens, not those who would like to settle here."
7.) Which party wanted to apply "Britishness tests" to assess immigrants' suitability? 
8.) Which party would institute an immediate, 5 year freeze on all immigration? 
9.) Which party "loves Europe but hates the EU"? 
10.) Which party would require health checks for all those wishing to live in Britain to check them for "communicable diseases"?
11.) Which party advocates immediate withdrawal from the EU? 
12.) Which party seeks to "end the active promotion of the doctrine of multiculturalism" by local and national government?
13.) Which party would seek to deport immigrants, including those given permanent leave to remain, if they are found guilty of a crime?

Round 3.

The final round. Congratulations on making it this far without dying! BUT YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE IS YET TO COME! The following all come from campaign literature. So pin the bigotry on the party and win yourself a smug feeling of self-satisfaction!

14.) "The British Fishing and farming industries have been destroyed to allow Spanish fishing vessels and French farmers to benefit instead." 
15.) "We, the undersigned, demand a referendum on British membership of the European Union."
16.) (Next to a photograph of a sad looking Native American wearing a headdress) "He used to ignore immigration. Now he lives on a reservation." 
17.) "Only [Party Name] is against unlimited immigration."
18.) "Surely, no believer can vote Labour and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ." 

Now you've got your answers, let's see if they're the right answers or the wrong answers, then tell us how many of the answers you answered corresponded with the real answers in the comments section. Here are the answers:

11.) Both UKIP and The BNP. Give yourself one point for each!
13.) Both UKIP and The BNP
18.) BNP


I'd like to point out, for the record, and in response to a couple of tweets that I've gotten about this, that obviously Cameron, Miliband, Brown, Blair etc etc etc are all terrible, racist wanksprockets too. I didn't mean to offend anyone by excluding them.