Sunday, November 07, 2010

CRIMINALISING THE UNEMPLOYED

As the re-structuring (or should that be the deconstruction) of the British State welfare system is in the offing, under the watchful eye of the Conservative Government Minister, Ian Duncan-Smith, who has made it his cause, I wonder why he appears to be unable to make unpalatable public announcements relating to proposed changes. Many difficult
announcements seem to fall to the smaller group of partners in this coalition government.

The announcement that the future unemployed will be expected to do community work, like, as stated, picking up litter, if they remain unemployed for a designated time and do not appear to make efforts to obtain work, is a disturbing scenario. 

Litter picking and similar clean-up work, is work given to offenders. These are people who have been found guilty of offences and sentenced by the criminal courts to community-based sentences. The justice system accepts menial tasks- amongst others - as a method of making reparation to the community for crimes committed.  It is a form of restorative justice.

There will be lots of unemployed people, a mass redundancy period is nigh.  Where will all the jobs come from for the huge numbers of people without work? Our highest unemployment rate in recent history is imminent. Are we about to criminalise masses of unemployed people?

There is no sign yet, that government policy is geared in any way whatsoever to supporting solid job creation in any shape or form. The policies announced sound harsh and the rhetoric that accompanies them, is regressive, as are the policies. 

The views of The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in this matter,  are incisive, sensitive and relevant.   He believes the proposals, which the politicians state will motivate people to work, will send people into decline. The whole concept will be humiliating and punishing.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

No. Lots of people claiming unemployment benefit work on the side. Even those are not going to be criminalised. This is for rehabilitation and designed to show willingness to work, and community spirit, to get rid of the old "Labour" ethic of handing out taxpayers' money to everyone without question.

ZACL said...

Thank you for visiting.

I expected a comment like the one you have given.

flightplot said...

A typical half-baked idea which having made the headlines will probably will not come to anything! Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F,

I believe your thoughts are a general hope. We shall have to wait and see how this whole polemic is handled.

MKL said...

The first comment is like straight from a party headquarters :P But a good one, I have to add.

ZACL said...

Hi MKL,

I think you are stirring :).

There is a history to the first comment which does not, as you would expect, give anything near the complete picture or facts.

I, too, believe there should be changes to the structure of the U.K.welfare system. I don't hold with the diabolical rhetoric that is spewing forth at the moment, band-wagonning on an administrative need, playing into extreme political dogmatic stances. This, is why, I believe, the minister who is fronting the change in the welfare system, especially for the jobless - who will be vastly increasing in number - (and those who have assistance with housing benefits, many of whom also work at several jobs trying to make a living), is staying in the background. The minister has discovered that there is no mileage for him, in being a General and a mouthpiece at the front of his troops.

There is a blatant other agenda as well, which will become very visible.