If two people were to have a running race along the beach and one person had to be waist deep in water while the other ran along the sand, who do you think would win?

Of course the person on the beach would win every time. Does that reflect the skills of the individual or their circumstances? I’d like to hear Iain Duncan Smith answer that one.


Although people applying for jobs cannot ever determine the outcome of any of their applications, all the onus on getting into work is put on the applicant, not employers. With far too few jobs to go round, the chances of someone on benefits being picked for a job is pretty slim, especially without rules for fair selection or incentives.

The other alternative would be to highlight the benefits of employing people who have been out of work. Everyone I know who is unemployed is desperate seeking work and one friend calls a job a “working holiday” from the oppression and stress imposed on them by the welfare state.

I read an academic paper which set out all the reasons why employers shouldn’t have to hire people off benefits. The reasons given are blatant discrimination and I will not give that link the air of publicity by sharing it.


The New Economics Foundation is a fantastic source of research-based information, which includes an essential understanding of how people work psychologically, For some obscure reason the government doesn’t seem to think it the slightest bit relevant to understand the nature of human beings when making decisions that determine their very lives.

Here, the New Economics Foundation illustrates how the welfare state cannot possibly meet the aims it sets out to achieve and why.

Then and now. Tim Lott's article from 2010.

Then and now. Tim Lott’s article from 2010.

Last weekend, while bored I skimmed through the Daily Star and found a tiny, left hand page news item of about 10 lines. It reported how a benefits assessor had created and approved 6 fictional housing benefit claimants to steal £32,000.


Apparently, if you are earning a full-time salary and take thousands from the public purse for your own enjoyment, you are not “scrounging” because you don’t need the money. When did “scrounging” to keep food on the table and a roof over your head become worse than “stealing”?

Meanwhile, Channel 4 seemed to think that the discrimination, economic barriers, the maze of the welfare state and the stigma attached to being on benefits is not severe enough, so they made Benefits Street to further entrench the misconceptions pedaled by fact-ignorant politicians into the public’s mind.

Here is the Daily Mirror on further challenges faced by people on benefits at the hands of the politician propaganda pedalled public.


The Guardian even reveals how a “climate of fear” about the stigma of claiming benefits puts 1.8million people off money they are entitled to. Unclaimed benefits get mentioned, see this BBC report, but it certainly worries Iain Duncan Smith less than the smaller amount lost to benefit fraud.

Before I say Rant Over, my search for people who were unemployed before they were famous has not been very fruitful. The same list: Larry David, JK Rowling, Susan Boyle, Quentin Tarrantino keeps coming.

Although Tim Lott reflects on both sides of the equation, including shared attitudes that no one would dare express today, in his Guardian column from 2010, he does mention the creative response to being on benefits during the 1980s recession.

“…many musical acts that emerged from of the 80s, were recruited from, and were a response to, the lengthening dole queues.”

As I’ve said before, who is going to be wheeled out for the closing ceremony next time the Olympics comes to the UK? One Direction?

Rant over.


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