Workfare – The Bite Back

Responsibility is an ugly word in the UK.

Having been one of many who rose up to question Tesco’s stance on Workfare in the UK after it published an advertisement in Bury St Edmunds for people to work for expenses alone (more on that later in the week), that pressure has caused Tesco to backtrack from the same.  It is early yet, but the reality of what that step down means will be more evident in ensuing weeks.  What can I say, I’m sceptical when the retail giant that apparently takes every sixth pound spent on the High Street tells me anything after several days of denial.  It didn’t become wealthy by not telling the people what they wanted to hear.

However, Christopher Grayling and Ian Duncan Smith, two “men” in place to represent us all in government, have seen fit from this to go out of their way and insult me!  How rude!  Grayling, the orchestrator of this grand plan of multifaceted slavery across the UK, has called me “absurd”.  He has also accused me of “having an agenda” in attacking Workfare.

I will come out and say it now.  I have an agenda in attacking Workfare.  I oppose slavery.  Ian Duncan Smith, because of my opposition to slavery, considers me a “job snob”.

Now, if we were getting personal and telling lies about each other, it could get ugly.  I’m not going to do that – I am more comfortable with the truth.  You see, the problem with living in a parliamentary bubble with other fat-necked, self-aggrandising, kickback-taking MPs is that when you meet opposition from real people you don’t know how to behave.

Here’s an example – the biggest waste of parliamentary time we have is Prime Minister’s Questions.  Every Wednesday, all manner of braying Oxbrigians trade insults with other Oxbrigians to absolutely no value to the public they represent.  I caught David Cameron in a direct lie in Prime Ministers Questions last year and the response was “he won’t correct it because it isn’t the done thing”.  No, really, that’s the rationale.  He can talk about goldfish on Mars and how he can summon angels to Cabinet meetings and we just have to wear it.  It doesn’t have to be true because he’s the Prime Minister and he can say what he likes, no need for responsibility or accountability.  A complete waste of time and resources.

However, because of this 650-member private club attitude, we have a siege mentality where the MPs are totally divorced from reality.  It’s the Norma Desmond mentality of my prior post.

I am happy to expand on and show responsibility for my position.  Here’s my “agenda”, Grayling; In 1945 this country came out of war, a ravaged Europe needed rebuilding, ourselves included, and the immediate future promised to be hard.  Rationing was more extensive after the war than during as the world rebuilt, for example.  The first General Election after the war was fought on two differing platforms.  Churchill considered the British public as a body who would recognise his efforts over the previous six years and campaigned on personality.  Attlee said “here’s the policies that will achieve our recovery”, campaigning on social reform.

The 1945 General Election ended in the celebrated “Attlee Landslide”.  Attlee had promised to rebuild and the country listened.  Labour (as it was then) had its first absolute majority and by some way.  Attlee himself was a quiet figure but nevertheless set about the rebuild.  He nationalised industries and utilities, making them profitable but also safer, better regulated and with improved conditions for workers.  He maintained a programme of almost full employment and kept inflation low.  He also took two ministries – housing and health – and gave them to one man.

Aneurin Bevan was given the agenda of building houses and creating a health service that would be national, free at the point of contact and would preserve the right of care from cradle to grave of every citizen according to need and  irrespective of wealth.

Clement Attlee had an “agenda”.  Nye Bevan had an “agenda”.  To go further, Mohindas Karamchand Gandhi had an “agenda”.  Having an “agenda” is not a bad thing judging by the examples.  I would sooner have the agenda of fair treatment for all than imposing my will on an opposing public like some sort of social rapist.  That’s what you are, Mr Grayling – whether it be in your attempts to drive slaves or to tear up the workplace safeguards that were put in by the Attlee government (yes, the Factories Act of 1948 for starters – again, another).  You will see people enslaved or die to fit your “agenda” and will impose that in the face of no end of people saying “no, no, NO!”.

Well, your agenda is little more than one of several elements of a resurgent Fascism (I never thought I would say that in my lifetime) in this country.  You represent a government cabal of millionaires attacking those in society who need the most support.  Ian Duncan Smith went as far as telling us that work makes you free.  That’s an aspiration my grandfather and his many brothers fought against and won in the late 30s and early 40s.  Yes, my grandfather had “an agenda”.

The “bite back” in the title is, however, that the “agenda” remark means nothing.  It isn’t justified, explained or based on any other grounds than the petty prejudices of the speaker.  If he wants to debate it, fine, but if he’s going to just run to the press and call me names because he has the ear of a tame publicist, then he’s little more than a modern-day Goebbels.  He won’t debate it, though, because it will mean he will have  to stand by his remarks and it is clear that such a move is a level of responsibility that does not sit well with this current government.  The PM can get away with groundless remarks at PMQs – why should it be any different for his underlings?

Clement Attlee’s time to shine came of course after the demise of Goebbels.  We can but hope.

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