Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Deal Or No Deal?

This is a letter that I sent to the Newham Recorder way back in May I think, they didn't publish it as they favor letters groaning on about dog litter and such other petty frivolous trivialities.
If employment is the key to getting people out of poverty (Sir Robin Wales) then why is it that half of the children that live in poverty in Britain today, live in households where someone is working?

A number of factors conspire to create in work poverty; housing costs and council tax deserve some blame, like the recent hike in our council rents. The root of all in-work poverty is obviously low pay despite both the minimum wage and reformed system of tax credits under New Labour.
Ministers are unlikely to achieve the goal of halving child poverty by 2010, because the public finances are suffering from "underlying weakness" and the government is in grave danger of breaking its own fiscal rules, according to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The Darling Budget’ has ploughed £870m into anti-poverty measures, but we will still see 450,000 children growing up in poverty in 2010, £3bn is needed for a reasonable chance of hitting the child poverty target anything else is just whistling in the wind!

I have read a great deal about the reported views and thoughts of Mayor Wales, and have to respectfully say that some of them sound like they were taken from a script penned by the writer Johnny Speight, for that charter Alf Garnet, who was supposed to be a figure of ridicule. The Mayor is of course nothing like Alf Garnet, but his remarks are all the same very worrying and demeaning to the good people of Newham.
At a conference organised by the Commission for Racial Equality in 2006, Sir Robin said "that people in Newham struggled to get out of bed by 11am as they were so used to being unemployed, this was because they were locked into a lifestyle, often going back generations, of doing badly at school and living on benefits". More recently the Mayor has sided with the Housing Minister Caroline Flint, who has suggested that unemployed council and housing tenants should seek work or face losing their homes.

In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher became the personification of government that was uncaring and callous that set about closing down industry after industry, unemployment became the order of the day part of the strategy to reinvigorate British Capitalism and handed over the family silver on a platter of privatisation, gas, electricity and water where amongst the first utilities to go, the devastation of her polices left whole communities buried beneath the rubble of the Berlin Wall, no more so than in East London. The closure of Docklands came to symbolize this, with the end of the road for the many not just employed in the docks but in other industries, some were of course connected with dock work but not all. The picture is a memory and not a dissent one; this is the legacy that has left a generation or more without the start in life that any descent parent would hope for there children in the 21st century, instead our children are forced to compete along with the unemployed and others for the low paid dead-end jobs stacking shelves in the supper market or sweeping the floor at McDonald’s.

If only Sir Robin could even start to understand what difficulty’s our young people strive to overcome in order to step upon the career ladder, the same has to be said for the older unemployed among us, it’s all to easy to stigmatise the unemployed as being lazy and work shy as some do never offering any evidence to back there high pitch hypothesis.
Any help that develops the skills and abilities of individuals to obtain and sustain fulfilling employment must be welcomed as a step in the right direction remembering that we work to live, not live to work. I say this because most of the government sponsored schemes introduced by New Labour that become mandatory after a given period of unemployment, seem to pressurise (speaking from experience) rather more than giving practical support, in other words making the unemployed jump trough hoops in order to meet the set targets made by the private companies so as to be able to maximize there own profits which are shelled out from the public purse, one such company is Instant Mussel a pathways to work contractor that went into administration last month with more than 200 of it’s employees being laid off and joining there clients on the dole.

Sir Robin Wales and the New Labour project have over the course of three administrations demonstrated if nothing else, to be the true baton carriers of Thatcherism, the new party of big business, who’s only goal is faithfully servicing the interests of it’s big backers an oil company or a casino, no mater what it costs in life or dignity.

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