With the general election coming up, it would be a good idea to take a more holistic look at what the government’s corrosion of the social support system means for everyone, not just those directly affected.
MPs in a position to create policies that dictate the welfare state; Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey, David Cameron, George Osbourne etc, are painfully ignorant about how their decisions impact people. These and some other MPs are indifferent to the constant reports in the press about what is happening. They seem smug in their knowledge that enough people will buy into their propaganda and join in their vitriolic disdain against those at the sharp end.
There is zilch understanding of how people work as human beings. If there was any understanding, things would be vastly different. You play a part in letting these things happen by believing the propaganda, false facts and denials of the government and you can make a difference, as more and more people are doing by writing about what is really going on. You might think it doesn’t affect you, but I want to show how it does.
Of course, some MPs are challenging decisions made on welfare cuts. See this debate on Welfare Reform.
In his blog, another MP predicts ill tidings to come if David Cameron returns to Number 10. What is worrying, as Michael Meacher MP points out, is how arrogant the Conservatives must be to talk about £12bn in welfare cuts just five weeks before the General Election.
This arrogance and refusal to look at facts can be toppled by the public. If people who are safely employed and better off are ignoring what is happening, they are being blinkered and leaving themselves unprepared for when the shit hits the fan.
What if you lose your job now, unexpectedly, through no fault of your own? You will then come face-to-face with the big hole in the welfare state safety net left by the current government. You may have your own safety net, but, like a person stocked up in a remote house during an apocalypse, that will only last so long as more and more people around you are responding to what is going on.
Just look at America. They have a very tight welfare state and no free healthcare. Their life expectancy is shorter than in the UK. For a long time now, Americans have had to work much harder for their basic living than in the UK. I went to Los Angeles in 1990 and my brother’s friend Todd who I stayed with, who was once a blond, happy surfing student, was working night shift in the shop he managed to sustain a living.
The more people are forced to take any work they can get, the more employers exploit their workforces, make employment conditions weighted heavily in their favour, ignore recommendations by trade unions or institutes to recruit without discriminating against people unfairly in both the selection process and in the workplace.
Governments set up incentives to favour certain sections of society because it makes them look good. They create policies, which mean that employers can recruit according to funding they will receive and, because of discrimination laws, they cannot advertise their intentions to manage applicants expectations, therefore wasting people’s time.
The knock on effect continues. When people have faced a lot of rejection and not been given honest feedback as to why, they become disheartened and to minimise more rejection, they make fewer and less hopeful, more desperate, less attractive applications for lower status jobs that they think they stand a better chance of getting.
Fewer people are applying for the better paid, more senior jobs and therefore employers of the worst jobs become even more arrogant.
This isn’t good for businesses either. When times are hard, people go into survival mode. Someone intent on clinging to a job isn’t necessarily going to become more productive to make themselves indispensable. That is far too risky.
Putting your head above the parapet and getting noticed can be dangerous in any organisation, when employees can see nothing below to catch them if they fall but a bottomless chasm of hardship. They might put all their focus on not being sacked by playing ultra-safe, satisfying their minimum requirements, keeping their head low and ticking all the right boxes.
The ripple continues. Business owners could be finding it harder to keep ahead of the competition, they might take less risks and stick to the same suppliers even if these are unsatisfactory. They may make scapegoats of those who stick their neck out by scrutinizing them for any mistakes, even if these daring people are getting better results.
This all halts social mobility dead in its tracks. People cling onto their jobs for dear life. They look around the marketplace less and forget transferable skills. These are only even considered if there is enough movement in the job market. Why would you employ a PA who has worked in finance all their life to do exactly the same job in your entertainments company?
The good reasons to take transferable skills into account could be:
- To freshen things up.
- To bring in new skills, approaches, perspectives and ideas from other industry sectors.
- Because they are a PA, whatever industry they have worked in.
- To broaden your understanding of other industry sectors and how they do things.
However, when you, a human being, find yourself in a power position to choose amongst a whole range of people applying for your one vacancy, you will take your pick, even though most human beings can learn and pick up most work as quickly as the next person.
I met a recruitment officer for a big brokerage once, who said that he knew all the people who applied could do the job and, even though he never got a degree, he would whittle down the hundreds of applications to just Oxbridge to save loads of time looking through a huge pile of equally able people.
We all need a safety net as we are all walking the high wire, when it comes to job security today.
The government want you to believe that people on benefits deserve the treatment they receive. That may be why it is so hard to find these stories hidden amongst countless links to information all about claimant misdoings (not DWP employee misdoings) and the DWP Helpline to report “benefit fraud” (which accounts for less than unclaimed benefits).
- Daily Mail article on ring of people stealing £1.7million.
- 10 Workers at back to work firm A4E caught stealing £300,000.
- Benefits Assessor caught stealing £32,000.
Now if you don’t think any of these people are “scroungers” just because they are employed and don’t need the money to survive, you are brainwashed.
Reports showed that 30,000 Brits have left the UK to claim benefits abroad. As I’ve pointed out before, a more generous welfare state does benefit all in productiveness, social mobility, employment prospects, creativity, you name it.
Here is the Independent on just this subject.