You know when you accidentally get absolute validation…

‘Sticking up for bastard bailiffs is the preserve of the most inconsequential commentators.”

Signed,

Theatre loving, activist, lefty, history lover, tweeting furiously about the government.

(Am allowed to snigger a bit right?)

Response: Do a Google Search for jobs outside London. Take a look at what happens to people who don’t work, in a credit based economy with our welfare system. (I’ll allow for the possibility you confuse ‘volunteering’ for Workfare with scabbing). Tip: they would be the people whose hardship you exploit to indulge your little dreams of being a ‘radical’ before you move on with an adult life. You may recall the endless discussions which attempt to reduce the working class to a soundbite your friends can cope with, with values you can cope with. (By god I sat through enough of those last year…) While you fulfil a very useful function as a tool with which dissent can be dismissed, that function’s usefulness has expired. The key word in those discussions is work. The necessity of it or an ability to feed your children without it. The rest of it is none of your fucking business, no-one voted for you and your nasty little friends. You manage to discredit every cause you try to stick a badge on. The left are an exogenous body, that’s why you need the word ‘left’. This is why Occupy was necessary and why it will develop and move on.

PPS Am not a commentator. That is the preserve of those who saw the cuts as an opportunity to carve a ‘niche’ and a career, but you’d have to be able to see something beyond the bidding of the right wing press to know that. You might want to read about the death of the liberal class, and why the ability to hiss the word ‘liberal’ and ‘scab’ does not bring immunity. Your ideology and dogma useful only for bonding with your friends, the rest of us need something slightly more substantial.

Additional post script. ‘Without the working class, the left are a book group’. A choosy one by all accounts!haha

Hating bailiffs…

In this area in the last few months the ONLY jobs that have come up are debt collection, credit control, bailiffs, house reposessions. If you factor in the home care work that is a result of social care reforms and comes with no protection, and the pretend jobs, with the workfare…that ain’t much.

The left as a mechanism for sorting out which of the working class are suitable for their new utopia is not going to work. It’s where the left have always fallen down. The fetishisation of white bloke working and earning enough in skilled desirable job, to feed his family with the need for class solidarity to protect that and only that, led to an entire class being abandoned when skilled work disappeared. While the institutions of the left preserved themselves and passed their ideology to those who could afford to follow it. The birthplace of the centre-left. Hating someone for the job they do is the privilege of those whose primary responsibility is to their self, and for those who don’t have to work.

And that kind of nonsense is why ‘the left’ are an irrelevant collection of dogmas, upheld by an elite social network on an orbit of capitalist realism and neo liberalism.(Stole term capitalist realism). If your ideology demands I hate someone I don’t know, on the basis of the job they do, or on the basis of decisions they make to feed their family, it’s a fair bet yours is not the ideology for me or anyone else. Sorry. No use to anyone, unless it is making post adolescents who are bound by nothing but ideology, feel better about being a circle of pricks. That’s why things like Occupy had to come about.

Not only that, but if your ideology demands I hate someone, for doing a job, in an economy with no fucking jobs- you are not part of the solution. You are a risk in a political vacuum and a very large part of the problem.

PS Smashing the state on the backs of public sector workers is also logically problematic.

Wikileaks took a dump on the net again…

More worms. Any in amongst the five million emails, which I have obviously pored over in minute detail in the hours since posted are likely to throw up some problems.

First one I clicked had this line in it-

”One sense I’m getting here is that the American elite, along
with Europe’s, China’s and just about everyone but Russia’s his
suffering from three problems: First, none are really aware of
the political pressures on other elites. Second, they
completely misunderstand the alienation of the publics, three,
except for Volcker, they think this can be handled by the elites
among themselves. We have a crisis of the elites, in my view. ”

I concur with the author on this issue….lets see what this throws up. Landscape changing v quickly at mo.

Militant Testicularisation of society and persecution of faith..

We appear to be having a bit of a problem. A pattern keeps reemerging and noone appears to want to stop it. Recently the Secular Society kicked up a whole fuss about prayers being said at council meetings in a place called Bideford. I had never heard of Bideford. Have seen prayers at meetings, mostly in a local authority who also offered prayer rooms for other faiths. The idea of people being forced at gunpoint to personally reflect on their relationship with god, slightly less likely than a council room with a high percentage of non believers nodding their head out of politeness, the chaplain finally having something to do, and a few people taking comfort in the fact that this rite and ritual still exists.

The minute the Secular Society rock up, a pre-prepared politicised christian right send Carey, Warsi and Pickles out on a pre-prepared response which manages to shift us to believing this is a debate about christianity encroaching on everything, or christians being persecuted.

The pre-occupation with politicised faith is one that largely exists in the heads of politicos. A politicised organised christian right, a tool to maintain the illusion and keep momentum up. Using the same astroturf techniques that have lost traction for the Labour Party. In my community church attendance is low, but church involvement in the community remains high. Mosque attendance is more consistent, and you can buy tinsel in the shop owned by the local Imam all year round.

It seems like a dance which serves only to perpetuate the idea that the socially conservative agenda which is at the heart of our social policy, has validity. And while the left and right shout about Bideford, they generally fail to notice what that veneer of social conservatism masks deliberate economic manipulation and who is actually bearing the brunt.

No-one is asking anyone to believe in God, and noone is persecuting the faith still at the heart of our establishment, even if not our population. It would be more convincing if the Secular Society were objecting to the employment of political theologians to manufacture the shifts austerity requires, and the reflection of those manufactured values in our political press. Left or right seems to be no guide to whether you accept a party basing their social policy on these values, especially if it’s only the working class on the receiving end. My 5 year old ‘came out’ as a christian today, she thinks it means being nice to people and being the same as the kids at her school. She’ll grow up smart enough to choose what she believes by herself and she honestly believes in Jesus. She will be surrounded by those who accept it, while our media whip up religious and racial tensions and pretend they came from us.

I would like to be a fly on the wall if Richard Dawkins rocks up in heaven, but demanding other people believe what I do on the one issue noone has any evidence to support, not my sort of thing. And it appears only ever to serve the interests of a political right who have turned trolling into an art form.

Finally done….Workfare is a whoopass can of worms….about time it opened….

In the last year the country has undergone profound economic, social and political changes. By the time of the election, Labour had created a welfare dependent working population. The managed decline with shopping centres we called urban regeneration won’t have shopping centres this time. Half of all British working families are bound by receipt of tax credits and other benefits to subsidise ever lower wages.

With nowhere near the effort Margaret Thatcher had to go to, welfare gave whichever government won the election a direct tool with which to deleverage onto the working class. The working population and the people around them, with or without a wage, who are likely to need state support.  A tool used to open up markets, make changes in the labour market and cause population shifts. You don’t need to address the minimum wage when you can tinker directly with welfare. The Tories may be hoping that the left’s overdue awareness of an aspect of the welfare issue can be used to discredit the uproar they are hearing, but the kerfuffle about Workfare was a sign that those days are over. For good.

To expand the housing market and the credit market that underpinned it in the only way available, we deliberately aggravated the housing crisis using housing benefit changes. Sure enough homelessness shot up, the predicted effects occurred, and our buy to let mortgage market thanked the lord for this ‘unexpected’ boon. Both political parties agreed that welfare recipients could be demonised and displaced to make this happen. Crisis cite job losses, housing benefit cuts, and strained relationships as a source of homelessness. Our political parties consider these tried and tested tools to encourage a ‘flexible, mobile workforce’.  Why else would social policy pit parents against each other, blaming each other for expected poverty? The 1 in 5 mothers missing their meals are doing precisely as they were intended to do. Welcome to enter political debate should they ever want to defend themselves….

A political consensus maintained by the same ill  informed indifferent politicos now shouting about how mean workfare is(or not), made keeping the issue out of the view of our mainstream media easy  as the relationship between welfare and credit was exploited to provide the only possible expansion to our personal credit market. The payday loans market. A lack of regulation, and an ability to outsource debt in every way,  mean a shared knowledge of which debt collection companies are cunts, binds the working class more effectively than the pantomime language of solidarity used by our elite left. Or the one class one value sound-bites dreamed up by politicians.

The pool of welfare subsidised cheap labour the gender pay gap indicates motherhood is an entry to, was manipulated to ensure skilled work was an option few mothers could afford. Skilled work sacrificed helps employment figures, and mothers disappear quite easily. Both parties toyed with ways of reframing gender equality now that meaningful equality prevents using women as an economic tool. Not content with welfare providing a low paid pool of welfare subsidised exploitable cheap labour, the exploitation of free labour that sits underneath it was to be expanded.

Workfare was a final tweak, which provided the expected denouement to 30 years of neo liberal social policy. Most DWP staff I know are expecting to be transferred over to the welfare to work ‘industry’ within the next couple of years. A4E was no shock to anyone but a left who thought the welfare issue had gone away and have been running to catch up with the fact it won’t.  And with A4E we have a heck of a can of worms. A can of worms those lefties revelling in their newfound ability to use welfare to rile an equally indifferent  right, may be very sorry they cheered for when opened.

While Polly Toynbee was cheering on workfare as a way to deal with the newly discovered idle deceitful poor, the ground was being laid for our ‘welfare to work industry’. Gradually this ‘industry’, which Emma Harrison was a shining figurehead for, was expanded to absorb many of the functions our welfare state used to provide. As maximum benefit was squeezed out of budgets structurally invisble to political debate for other parts of the economy. The welfare to work industy, a triumph showing how governments can sell anything by sticking up a professionally printed poster and a shiny list of objectives. A4E and companies like them are operating as virtual arms of the state. The post welfare state vision of both our parties is one where financial literacy ensures your credit provider provide the benefit, while the ‘providers’ like A4E keeps you and the rest in line and makes sure you work for any benefit you receive. Or get off the rolls.

The marketisation, managerialism and privatisation  that has crippled local authorities and eroded local democracy has always been  off the table for discussion in politics. The poverty pimps of our back to work industry, the ugliest part of the iceberg surfacing first. Just as the principles of service they eroded were scheduled to disappear for good.

The Conservatives are absolutely right that the twitterstorm whipped up was by the lefties visible to our elite. The SWP were too busy practicing taking over occupations and branding other people’s protests. The activists who campaigned about Workfare did so in spite of the visible left this year, most of whom were rather busy carving their niche and the political capital of assumed docile proles. Chris Grayling didn’t realise those lefties are just covering their track record on the most significant economic changes this country has seen in decades. After a year of marginalising and obfuscating this issue, and trying to squeeze every bit of career juice out of the Labour Party who designed workfare, they were forced to.

The right know they are trolling people, the economic orthodoxy that underpinned the economic stance of all our parties already crumbled.  The only people indulging the trolling were ‘the left’, and anyone else who lives to the tune of the right wing press’. Occupy beginning was a sign that people don’t have a political vehicle to go to, and the questions that are emerging despite the lefts best efforts confirm the ‘centre’ left position just died. The reliable nature of the left as a tool with which to discredit any issue affecting anyone, has been eroded by the year long revelation the left are not speaking for anyone. Our reliance on their gnatlike attention span a problem, the single use of that attention span for anything useful this year not. Traditional political techniques are useless on the internet and the social side of social media, highlighted why the media degrees of working class kids are useless. It’s all about the contacts. The problem isn’t a lack of regional voices on the news, it’s that political consensus that governs the lives of the British working class needs to be maintained.

David Cameron is not the only one of Thatcher’s children. There are millions and millions of us, and the economic and social policy history of neo-liberalism is our history. This stuff jumped the shark for most of us years ago. We know it not because a lefty handbook told us the Daily Mail said so, and that’s why Labour’s soundbites no longer work, and we are no longer talking about preventing cuts. As the middle classes wake up to the fact they are welfare dependent, cannot earn enough to live and their socio economic position didn’t change with their aspirations, and they are due to lose political representation, an age of politics comes to an end and a new one begins.

This is no longer a debate which can be pinned onto a meaningless left right spectrum, or one that can be hidden by agreement of politicians and their press. This Pandoras box is not closing. The stories that emerge should highlight our political vacuum nicely, as the Murdoch influence disappears without help. Workfare will be the issue that brings everything else which has been structurally invisible to our political debate, crashing to everyone’s attention. And as it does so it will dredge up the decimation of each sector the same pattern applies in. Questions too big for the left to obfuscate with kideologies and political allegiance, and one which cannot be squashed by the shouting of the word commie or scrounger.

Tesco as moral arbiters of the government and our only value and power being that held as consumers, an interesting development in the contexting of the increasing irelevance of national Westminster focused debate.

Tesco paying for workfare.

Does not even remove the straw that broke the camel’s back. It does not put discussion about the ‘unpaid labour market’ back in the bottle, and can’t undo that charities had to treat the government as a source of questionable labour. Nope. Doesn’t….cos a times they are a changing…

It will give  our professionally concerned, a chance to tell you a whipped up twitter storm is effective. Which it is. In giving the labour left an opportunity to pretend the principles of a welfare state which has just been systematically dismantled,  exist somewhere in political discourse. When the reality is they have been absence of from policy for a while.

Emma Harisson

A4E is a joke. It always was a joke. I first came across them in about 2003, maybe 4. They managed a contract in Bradford for educational environments for kids who couldn’t, or hadn’t been able to function in a school environment. It would be a breach of confidentiality to disclose my opinion of the ‘service’ they offered at great cost to the taxpayer. The name A4E has become familiar over the years, as the New Deal and Welfare or Work culture set up in David Blunketts tenure at the DWP, turned gradually into the places for the unemployed to be punished, and the ground for workfare could be laid.

If you hang around an A4E centre, it’s a depressing experience. That is the point. The ‘back to work’ only needs to be believed by a few, the public are fairly indifferent usually. The branding and marketing hides the piss poor reality. The Daily Mail have been leading the charge against Emma Harisson, apparently MPs are demanding she resign. No-one goes to A4E expecting to be helped into work, and I can’t see that many of their advisors truly believe they are helping anyone.

I can see why it’s a good idea to chase her. £8milion in bonuses. A nice common girl to hold up as evidence that the system is not corrupt, it’s this Yorkshire woman who made her money out of the financialisation of welfare that has been central to our social policy for 13 years. An unregulated poorly performing provider didn’t make the system. They won the contract. And kept winning them. They won those contracts for many reasons, and ability to get people back into work  way down the list. A wander round some of the education providers offering Pupil Referral Units, drug services, alternative education provision, even secure accomodation for kids and prisons. Actually, there are entire education authorities, ATOS, our ministers politicians financial interests were enmeshed in the break up of the NHS for fucks sake. Privatisation isn’t even on the table as something voters can vote against. Power through service provision being handed on a plate with never-ending conditionless hoses of our cash as our institutions are fractured, starved, paralysed or sold. The skills and professional knowledge we need, lost.

I have done a few on site copywriting jobs in the last year. Working within bid specialist teams, for the type of companies who are benefiting from the yard sale of our public sector is quite an experience. 18 hours a day, contractors paid double, triple, quadruple what they could earn elsewhere. Chaos and a disregard for the principles that shape the political rhetoric that allow their expansion. They seem to share a very small hiring pool and they share it with the government, on what appears to be a revolving basis. The well meaning organisations featuring in the rhetoric of spin doctors couldn’t even cope with the bidding processes, never mind win the right to deliver a service. Emma Harisson delivered what she was expected to deliver, and she did it with a tv friendly persona. Companies like hers don’t need to bother appeasing eroded local government, they have direct lines to Whitehall. And DWP staff know that companies like A4E are their future, I don’t think many were under illusions about that even before the election. Emma Harrison running them or not.

Emma Harrison is a class A poverty pimp, in a long established market where only a class A poverty pimp could survive, and noone cares, unless there is evidence they aren’t being harsh enough.  She’ll make a handy scapegoat to distract us from the fact that this IS our welfare policy, IS the state of our public sector, and this is beginning to prick the public consciousness. Just as she made a handy poster girl for successive governments, while everyone else knew this was the state of the service A4E offered.

Advised by David Blunkett.