“The fact is there are around half a million vacancies in the economy at the moment,” he said. "It’s not the absence of jobs that’s the problem. It’s the failure to match the unemployed to the jobs there are.” - Iain Duncan Smith MP, 6th March 2011Now, I appreciate that politicians can't tactically think through everything that they say, and that they're much more susceptable to gotchas! than those in lower-profile careers. Really, though, how bloody hard is it to subtract half a million from two and a half, without producing a ridiculous result like "zero"?
"The total number of unemployed people increased by 44,000 over the quarter to reach 2.49 million, according to the Office for National Statistics". - BBC News, 16th February 2011
At a time when there are five people unemployed for every available job* and the UK government is actively cracking down on the workless, why announce that the lack of jobs isn't the problem? I suppose it's quicker and easier than going door to door telling the unemployed to fuck off in person, but it does look a little crass.
Still, you have to admire the great, gleaming brass balls on Duncan Smith. Recall, the Tories have been ostentatiously rejoicing for months over the burgeoning bodycount in their Jihad on public sector employees.
There's probably no need to repeat this, but unemployment is a catastrophe for most working people, and not just in the short term. Even when times are good, it can take years just to claw your way back to a similar position, and that's assuming you can find a job that isn't the type of temp tossoff of a four-month post on a fuck-you-buddy contract that hundreds of thousands get by on.
I could go into one of my tirades about the financial crisis here, but will resist and merely note that David Cameron's great plan for national salvation is to tut-tut the banks and horsewhip regulators and bureaucrats. Sharp-eyed readers may notice that this is identical to the tactic that dropped us into the crapper in the first place, but no doubt it'll perform miraculously this time.
Anyway, in toto - Iain Duncan Smith tells the unemployed that their inability to find a job is unrelated to a massive jobs deficit, in the middle of an intentional public sector bloodbath; Cameron kisses up to bosses and kicks down on employees.
Well, fuck it - say what you like about disability outreach multi-ethnic lesbionics officers, but not a one of them ever exploded a trillion dollars out of existence and bankrupted half a planet. If any of them did, I doubt that many Prime Ministers responded by finding new ways to publicly tongue them.
Tories, really. I do wonder whether the likes of IDS are aware of how vicious and vacuous they sound, and I certainly wonder what else they could do to humililate and grind down the unemployed.
Maybe Duncan Smith could make them wear fetish gear to sign on, or text them photos of his withered genitals. Maybe posting them each a turd in a box would suffice, but you imagine that the Tory backbenches would probably see that as an unforgiveable giveaway to the undeserving.
*Note that when I say "job", I don't mean "well-remunerated and fulfilling career opportunity".