Ahh, the Tories. ‘Compassionate Conservatism’. (Is that not an oxymoron?)
Cameron’s speech appears to have gone down well, even among the readers of The Guardian (although I still like to believe there are a fair amount of Tory HQ employees paid to infiltrate the comments sections). I only heard a bit of it, and what I did pissed me off. What a hypocrite, talking about his disabled father whilst ATOS cuts people off from DLA. Just because your father grew up without it is not an excuse for the current population to go without!
What has got my goat the most from this Tory conference is all the shit spoken about benefit claimants and the jobless. As I am sure many of you know, I am currently in receipt of Job Seeker’s Allowance. I have a small Saturday job so I don’t get the full allowance (although working along with JSA makes me £5 a week better off than not working, hold the phone!), but I have recently hit the quarter of a century marker which means I get my wages topped up to £71 a week instead of £56. For two months they weren’t paying me enough but after numerous phone calls and then a VERY arsey letter, a nice chap phoned me back and I got a backdated sum of £86 deposited into my bank a fortnight ago. I haven’t come across too many arseholes at the Jobcentre so I have no problem with them. (My belief is that if you are friendly to them, they will be friendly back. It’s worked so far.)
What I DO have issues with is this mantra repeated in the media, and now by the Tories, that by daring to not have a job, I am in some way workshy. Are you fucking kidding me? I have 9 GCSEs, 3 A Levels, an undergraduate degree, have had 5 jobs since the age of 18 and currently still work, and because I dare to ask to have my wages topped up I am WORKSHY?!
I have applied for a lot of jobs. I would have applied for more, but I do not drive and do not live on a bus route which means I can only look for work along the Stratford-Birmingham train line. I also come across a lot of jobs that are part time. I am 25. I would like to move out by the age of 26. I want a full-time job that will pay me enough to enable me to do this, not 9 hours of work! (I almost applied for a job with Next’s admin department until I saw that it was for 9 hours. Not even over one day.)
I would also have applied for more jobs if more companies were willing to train up their staff and not advertise for an ‘assistant’ with “2+ years’ experience”. (Seriously, didn’t assistant used to mean an entry level job?)
Sometimes I wonder if I’m overqualified; after all, no one wants to employ someone that is smarter than them, and I can be an irritating know it all. I will correct your grammar. (I do it to my current boss. She’s cool with it.) But most of the time I am just inexperienced. When I do have experience, it’s not enough experience.
People who have jobs with enough hours are in a uniquely privileged position and feel that it is their god-given right to sit on their thrones and tell us workshy scroungers that if only we didn’t get any benefits then we would be incentivised to get a job. Is not wanting to move out of your parents’ house incentive enough?! Is not wanting to be able to afford to buy those new boots and that new coat and go out every other weekend and actually do something with your life instead of sitting at home ranting about the government fucking incentive enough?! It is for me! The money is just to help you whilst you get to that point!
I have had one interview so far. ONE. I blogged about it a while back. They have since re-advertised that job. So many of us out of work; they mess me around for 2 months from application date to interview date to never getting back to me date and they’re still not happy.
Getting a job isn’t easy even if you are a graduate with a year in industry. I know; my friend is one of them, and although she has gotten more interviews than me (though she has been looking in a wider area) she is no further along than me.
And then there is George Osborne who thinks that removing employees’ rights makes for a “motivated workforce”. You know what motivates me? A decent job. Decent employers you can talk to and have a laugh with and not cower at the sight of. A living wage. Not being expected to work overtime for free. Knowing that I could be fired at will is not going to “motivate” me.
The worrying thing with this plan is that if it goes ahead, from (I believe) April 2013, employers can choose to hire new employees just on these terms: shares in the company in exchange for your rights as an employee. Say if I got a job interview with one of these firms, and I said no because rights and a stable job are more important to me than a fluctuating amount of money, so they would say no job. I then go back to the Jobcentre and – what’s this? You’ve turned down a job offer? Oh no no! No more benefits for you, young lady!
The Tories seek to turn us back to a time where employees were little more than slaves. They want to emulate the East, but not Japan: China. China, where there was a big riot at one of the Foxconn factories. China, where mothers leave their children behind and travel to a new province for the hope of work. China, where business and money talks and the little man does or dies.
We should be emulating Germany! Sweden! Any other European country that is doing well. The key to productive employees is a good working environment, shorter hours and being treated well.
You may have heard of Britannia Unchained, that ghastly book written by a few new up and coming Tories who claim that we work the shortest hours with the lowest productivity in Europe. That’s not true. If you look here you will see that we work the third longest hours, behind Austria and Greece. You will also see that we are not the countries with the highest productivity!
I don’t know why working is seen as such a sign of perfection. People who are out of work and not claiming any benefits are even frowned upon. Why? Well, I suppose I do know: to the Tories we are nothing more than commodities, little worker bees there to make those at the top fatter and fatter.
Until the average MP (and this goes for all parties) is one who comes from a working-class background, goes to the local comprehensive followed by any university that is not Oxford, Cambridge or any of the red bricks and holds down a ‘regular’ job (i.e. doesn’t walk into a job in the City after their unpaid internship) for a minimum of, say, 15 years, THEN I will start to listen to what those tossers spout about hard work.
Also, good god, the Health Secretary should have worked in that bloody sector. The same goes for the Education Secretary (a journalist? In charge of children’s education? WHY?!) and to be honest, all other sectors.
And the Chancellor? According to Wikipedia, Georgey boy’s “first job was entering the names of people who had died in London into a National Health Service computer. He also briefly worked for Selfridges, re-folding towels. He originally intended to pursue a career in journalism, but instead got a job at Conservative Central Office.”
Shouldn’t he be, you know, an economist?
Rant over. For now.