Esther McVey recently announced the latest in a long line of government ideas to deal with the problems of the unemployed. This one is for those who are claiming Jobseekers benefit to undergo psychological assessments to find out if they fit one of several categories of attitude towards work.
Determined, Bewildered or Despondent.
Those who are assessed as being less mentally prepared to find work will be supported and provided with additional advice and motivation. This is to be carried at at the job centres, those places which are also apparently seeing people weekly or daily and who are now taking on all of these extra courses and motivational exercises.
No mention of a recruitment drive by the DWP to bring in more Jobcentre staff so I guess the people working at the Jobcentres must have plenty of spare time to fit all of this in.
Why does this bother me?
Because it stinks of yet more government marketing and PR, they are acting to deal with the problem, trust them, they will cut the numbers of people on benefits. Lies, misdirection, a smoke screen to hide something.
Because I can see this as being a repeat of the broom they took to the Disability benefits
Because I see this as being yet another scam and deception by the coalition government that has demonstrated again and again that it will do whatever it wants regardless of the cost involved to people simply to score a few political points or to get friends and old school chums money making contracts.
Most of all this bothers me because it comes from Esther Mcvey.
This is her, having such a jolly time with her best mate IDS, sneering, joking and laughing during the parliament debate on food banks.
Two of the cruelest people in a government with a well earned reputation for being cruel.
This is the same Mcvey that forced the unemployed to take zero hours contracts or lose their benefits on the grounds that they had refused a job. A more kindly person filled with concern over the well being of the poor and the unemployed you would be hard pressed to find. Wait, NOT.
So what is going on here, behind the honey words and fake smiles. Assessments to determine the mental state of those who are looking for word and find themselves dependent on government handouts to feed themselves and pay their bills.
Determined, Bewildered or Despondent.
What do these mean.
Determined: having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it, possessing or displaying resolve.
I will get a job no matter what it is.
Bewildered: confused and indecisive; puzzled.
Why can I not find a job, is it my fault.
Despondent: In low spirits from loss of hope or courage.
I will never get a job, there are no jobs out there. Why should I bother
These are the dictionary categorisations of the three words used by mz Mcvey to separate the unemployed into three groups. The comment underneath is mine.
So people listed as determined can be safely left alone, they will find themselves a job and get themselves off the unemployment numbers. Probably fairly easy to shove these people into dead end and no hope jobs by telling them it’s just for the short time and any job is better than no job.
Bewildered, well this probably covers a lot of short to midterm unemployed, people who cannot understand why applying for hundreds of jobs gets them no response and no work. People who have good CVs and skills and experience who haven’t yet come to realise that finding a job in today's market is not a matter of those things and have not fallen into loss of hope.
Which brings us to the third group, now call me cynical, many do, but I suspect this is going to be applied to almost everyone who is long term unemployed unless they can really play the system to get a lesser categorisation. Because it is here that I see the harm coming from. Despondent, loss of hope, given up. What’s that, you have given up on finding a job, oh well that’s your benefits gone then since looking for a job is THE condition of Jobseekers, you no longer care about finding work so you are in violation of your contract. That's you sanctioned mate.
The bewildered types will probably be flagged for the training courses, the self confidence and motivation training and the rest. That is if these come to happen given the lack of extra staff and facilities to carry them out. Or perhaps they will be done by more of those private sector companies who will be earning another tidy little profit on the deal.
The despondent group I see as being handled like ATOS treated the disabled. Which is to say they will be savagely sanctioned on psychological grounds, after all they must be physically fit for work to be on jobseekers in the first place so the government cannot use that as an excuse.
So psychological testing it is, so very hard to appeal against. After all if you are in a wheelchair it’s easy to appeal since the judges can see you are in a chair. But mental issues, just how exactly do you prove that you do not have some mental issue that makes you unsuitable for jobseekers?
Where did this brilliant idea come from, well from Australia actually. I didn’t know they hated us that much.
It is the brainchild of one Therese Rein, who happens to be the founder and Managing Director of a company called Ingeus. Igneus is 50% owned by a company called Deloitte
Purely by coincidence Igneus happens to be one of the DWPs preferred service providers for the Provision of Employment Related Support Services, a nice little earner that brings Igneus £150 million a year.
Oh but there are even more coincidences. Ingeus Deloitte has been handed £774 in contracts by the government, full payment conditional on the company meeting targets on cutting jobless figures. That a nice little sum and all they have to do is mimic the ATOS approach to reducing the number of people on benefits.
The coincidences continue, according to the Labour MP for Glasgow West who obtained the information by parliamentary question, Deloitte has contributed £700,000 to the Tories since 2005, donated £28,000 directly to Welfare Minister Chris Grayling, and used to employ Treasury Minister Chloe Smith
The stench of corruption is strong in this one.
A few other quotes, comments and gems from this veritable Paladin of oppression and cruelty:
Ms McVey said she expects the test to be a “de rigeur” part of the process of signing on for benefits.
Or to put it another way, you have to undergo some form of psychological assessment before you can claim jobseekers, a bit like having to prove you are actually disabled enough to claim for a disability.
“ used to select candidates for the work programme, under which claimants have to work in order to receive benefits. It will also be used to recruit to a new scheme obliging the long-term unemployed to spend 35 hours a week at the Jobcentre as they learn to write cover letters and sit interviews”.
Aha, the work program once again along with the spending every day in the jobcentre doing utterly pointless stuff as punishment for being unemployed.
Ms McVey suggested the new assessments would prevent such cases such as that of Cait Reilly, the unemployed geology graduate who took ministers to court claiming that a mandatory work experience programme in Poundland amounted to “slave labour”.
Are we getting to the truth here, is this about avoiding legal challenges to the slavery and cruelty. Is this just moving things around to prevent those pesky little details like the Law and human rights from getting in the way of the Coalitions greed and corruption?
There is a saying, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, those who study history are doomed to watch everyone else repeat it.
Well I remember history, I remember exactly what ATOS has done, what IDS and Mcvey have done, I remember all of that and I see what is going to happen again. They did it before, there is no reason to expect them to behave differently this time. When a government and its Hench Beings have, in the past, practiced utter uncaring cruelty on a national scale in order to achieve minor political agendas they will continue to do so in the future.
So I am doomed to watch history repeat itself again.