You talk a load of drizzle, Jamie Oliver

Excuse me while I take off my pinny. I’ve been making artisan bread and some home-made pesto out of the leftover ice in my freezer.

Posh grub

Not affordable to a Sicilian street cleaner

You see, celebrity chef and once Labour school meals adviser Jamie Oliver has decided that British poverty isn’t as chic and exciting as, say, Sicilian poverty so I’m trying to change the way I approach the lack of food in the cupboard.

I won’t be angry at my job loss. I won’t be irritated by the stagnating economy. I won’t be frustrated at shrinking wages or the rising cost of living. No, I will internalise the problem and blame myself for not realising I can make a week’s food from a slice of stale bread and an egg. I’ll readily accept that all I need is cheaper olive oil to drizzle on an empty plate for a nutritious meal in front of my cinema-size plasma TV.

Jamie said, “You might remember that scene in Ministry Of Food, with the mum and the kid eating chips and cheese out of styrofoam containers, and behind them is a massive TV. It just didn’t weigh up.”

So Jamie immediately assumes people buy huge TVs instead of food rather than

Sit down and have an olive, love

Sit down and have an olive, love

recognising they might have bought it while in work, it might be a gift, it might be secondhand … and it’s impossible not to buy huge tellies anymore!

Jamie goes on: “I meet people who say, ‘You don’t understand what it’s like.’ I just want to hug them and teleport them to the Sicilian street cleaner who has 25 mussels, 10 cherry tomatoes, and a packet of spaghetti for 60 pence, and knocks out the most amazing pasta.”

Ignoring the fact that Jamie Oliver’s own brand spaghetti is £1.75 …

Well, I know what it’s like Jamie. It’s soul-destroying. It’s monotonous. It’s exhausting. And a jar of expensive pesto from your own brand range (£2.59!) isn’t going to change that.

Oh, and if you hug me I’ll punch you.

He goes on (he won’t stop!), “The flavour comes from a cheap cut of meat, or something that’s slow-cooked, or an amazing texture’s been made out of leftover stale bread.”

So us poor no longer need to worry about hormone-injected meat or animal welfare – phew! that trend has passed – and have a constant supply of energy to fuel a slow cooker and a seemingly endless supply of leftover bread. You think we’d eat the bread, at least?!Cheesy Chips

Anyway, I’ve no time to keep ranting. I’m going to imagine French cuisine and see if that doesn’t fill me up before I get some money.

PS I’ve never had cheesy chips … but I really fancy some now.

Get a job!

I’ve started looking at jobs up and down the country. I wonder if moving away is the answer to avoiding long-term unemployment.

The “get a job!” angry brigade will be happy to read this. They could even stop typing furiously on Twitter, stop commenting aggressively (with bad punctuation) on news sites; for a moment at least.

You see, if you’re unemployed whether it be for a week or a year, you should get a job – any job and, importantly, anywhere.map

I genuinely don’t think they understand the complexities of this. Aside from leaving behind friends and family for work – yes, just for a job! – it’s a difficult process for anyone.

Ok. Let’s say you decide to stay near home but travel further afield for work. This is a reasonable request from those poor souls slaving away to pay your taxes (while wilfully assuming you’ve never contributed).

Do you have a car? If so, how much of your new salary will be taken for petrol, insurance, tax and repairs? Are you dependent on public transport? Then how much of your wage will go on bus fares or train fares?

We all know the privatised rail and bus companies care only for getting us to work at reasonable cost and not about making profits, right? So if you take an average-paid job – because you need to get a job, any job and stop sponging! – will you be able to afford what are now be considered life’s luxuries such as food, heating, shelter, clothing ..?

On realising that bus journeys are too expensive from your new measly income, you decide to move to a new location for work. How’s that for commitment?! You will leave behind your home town, your friends, your family and move to a new city with the sole intention of doing so to find work.

Noble. Brave. Expected.

So, how do you get there? Do you have few enough belongings to shove them in the back of a car – which is how I used to move from job to job as a baby hack? Or do you and yours need to hire a van? Do you have the money for that if you’ve been unemployed a while?getajob

Indeed, do you have the money for the deposit on your private rented accommodation? Do you have a few month’s rent in advance? Are you able to pay these expenses and then feed yourself for the next few months until you’re first pay packet? Do you have the bus fare to your new work from your new home to ensure you get into work and don’t lose the new job?

No? Oh, then you’re clearly failing to seek work!

It’s not because the privatised transport services are hiking up prices above our incomes and making profits for their shareholders. No! It’s not because private landlords are making a killing from the lack of alternative housing. No! It’s not because you’ve been out of work so long you’re too skint to afford the van to carry you to your new city never mind the additional costs.

You see, you need to stop thinking about all these practicalities – the sort of thing employed people have to consider on a daily basis – and just get a job! Any job. Anywhere.

You’re different now … being unemployed somehow means you have much more money than everybody else and so can change your entire life on a whim. Enjoy!

unemployedhack is back, sadly

charliegoingforgold 002My first job was in a posh department store. I cleaned tables and tried not to growl at the customers who, I admit, I despised.

One day, while cleaning a coffee spill for a mum sitting with her young son, the boy struck up a conversation with me. Well, he showed me his new toy car.

I smiled at him and said, “It’s good, innit?”

“Innit,” his mother said, sneering as if she’d smelt something offensive. “Innit? Would you please not speak to my child like that!”

“I can’t help it,” I said, walking away. “It’s the way I speaks, innit.”

I was overheard and told by my boss that this sort of behaviour “would not do”.

The next day, maybe a week later, I’m not sure (it wasn’t memorable work) I was clearing a table and over-estimated my strength (not for the last time) and, picking up a tray of cutlery and plates, managed to drop a pot of sugar sachets on the floor.

“Bollocks,” I muttered under my breath. Or so I thought.

“What did you say?” I looked up, from my knees where I was on the floor picking up sugar sachets, to see a man in a pinstriped suit. I tried not to laugh at the cliché and continued picking up the sachets.

“I asked, ‘what did you say?’” he repeated, this time moving his newspaper aside to look down at me.

I’d had enough. Something snapped.

“I said bollocks!” I looked directly in his face, throwing the sachets in the air and walking out.

The decision to walk out of jobs I couldn’t stand never left me. Years later, while working at a press agency, my editor told me to “take a letter”. He wanted to dictate to me a letter for a tabloid columnist who’d annoyed him. I pointed out it wasn’t my job and that I had other things to do.

“You do what I tell you to do,” was his reply.

I stood up, picked my coat up off the back of the chair, told him to do something I won’t repeat here, and walked out.

I’ve lost my job for union agitation, for being disabled and off sick too much, for out-witting insecure bosses, for not being willing to be harassed by customers … now I’ve lost my job just because I was on a casual contract.

It got me thinking again about this country’s contempt for the unemployed.

What am I now?

I’m not signing on yet so I’m not benefit-claiming scum but I am unemployed and that’s low life, right?

And the longer I remain unemployed – despite not losing my job for any reason other than casuals are no longer being employed at this particular workplace – the more scummy I am, right?

And the fact that my employer wishes he could keep me on and praised my work – the fact that I am good at it – is of no consequence and will still be of no consequence when I’m asked to work in a multi-million pound corporation to “earn” my benefits.

Have I got this right, so far? That no matter why, when or how we lose our jobs the second we do so we are worthless, to be looked down on, to be willing to take any other job on offer and to forget anything we’ve achieved and certainly anything we aspire to.

I’ve been away a while, among the working masses, but constantly aware of the contempt in which some people on this insignificant, too often peevish, little island hold those less fortunate.

I’ve a few weeks before the wolf makes it to my door. I’ll let you know how it goes …

WARNING: Stay on benefits. Do not work part-time.

In 2011 Cameron said, “Never again will work be the wrong financial choice … We are finally going to make work pay for some of the poorest people in our society.

What a laugh!

As you know, I found part-time work. I was quite excited by this. I’m now told my Jobseekers’ Allowance has been stopped, I’m entitled to reduced Housing Benefit and I’m not entitled to Council Tax Benefit

I’ve received a number of letters pointing out differing amounts I am or I’m not entitled to and my head is spinning but I’ve tried to calculate what this means.

And I’m £21 per month worse off by working. Add to this the money I have to find for rent and Council Tax and I’m a massive £158 a month worse off before I’ve even paid the rest of my bills.

It’s literally impossible.

I will, of course, also pay high bank charges when I inevitably become overdrawn losing yet more from my paltry income.

If my calculations are accurate, I’m at very real risk of becoming deeper in debt and, ultimately, losing my home.

Over a year since Cameron excitedly said work will pay, the reality is I’m now awake in the early hours panicking about not having any money, fretting that I won’t have fares to even get to work and questioning whether I’ll be penalised for packing in my part-time job and returning to full benefits.

Stay on benefits. You know it makes sense.

I understand I can’t get Working Tax Credits because I work fewer then 16 hours per week.

I’ve not been given any advice on alternative benefit options so don’t think there are any. I have to accept a loss of £158 per month and work.

So – for those who think the unemployed should try to get at least a few hours work – it is an impossible challenge. That is, unless you’re working as part of slave labour for multi-million companies while “earning” your benefits.

Tory attacks round-up … updated regularly

As Tories gleefully claim that we’re out of a recession unemployedhack takes a look at the Tory Attacks Chart to see the hottest releases featuring assaults on the most vulnerable in society.

Children, disabled people, unemployed workers, young people, pensioners … everyone except the rich get a kicking from this Coalition government propped up by lickspittle lackey Lid Dems.

Straight in at #1: Ian Duncan Smith arrogantly concludes in a speech that domestic violence, drug addiction and family breakdown are solely working class experiences and uses benefit reforms and cuts for his warped social experiment. The rich, meanwhile, are not penalised for these issues because they have wealth.

Down one place to #2: Victorian window tax-style policy sees Tories with numerous homes punish those in social housing for having a spare room … and it will hurt disabled tenants

Down a spot: Almost five million British workers are paid less than a living wage

Non-mover. Homeless people lose local government support from November 9 when they’ll face eligibility tests to be told they have to tolerate unsuitable private accommodation

Down a spot to #2: Pensioners work till they drop as those surviving on state pensions are told to work or volunteer or not get paid

Non-mover: Children of low-income families won’t be able to leave home when not entitled to housing benefits

Hot release: Benefits are destructive says top Tory – and the number of children benefit claimants can have could be capped leaving them “freed from” the decision of whether they can afford to

Still vying for that #1 spot: Disabled plunged into poverty as benefits are cut for the most vulnerable leaving many suicidal

An unsurprising entry: Universities face a funding black hole as higher education is privatised and Tories/Lib Dems are seen to have fudged the figures

New entry: Cutting funding for Sure Start and children’s services will damage lives of underprivileged children ruining their chances before they’re even out of nappies

Ironic non-mover: Unemployed forced to work unpaid for benefits – taking jobs from the unemployed

Terrifying long stint in the charts: NHS cuts continue despite Tory pledge to defend the service A&E and wards face closures

Offensive non-mover: More cuts to child support for jobless parents added to those for low-income earners

Sickening entry: Foodbank charity Trussell Trust reveals that three foodbanks are opening every week as Tories claim we’re out of a recession

Moralistic non-mover: The country’s 1.9 million single parents are forced onto Jobseekers’ Allowance – as Sure Start centres close and Workfare takes paid jobs

Surprise entry: Thatcher’s Tory government included a paedophile - and Jimmy Savile spent his Christmases at Chequers

Pop summary: Tories – and their Lib Dem sidekicks – are a cruel, wealthy, self-centred axis of Eton attacking the vulnerable and defending the indefensible.

  • Also, Still think the Tories – and Labour – need to make cuts and are not just looking for excuses to reduce the State?

Is compassion just for the “loony left”?

I’ve been told a few times this week that I’m whining about “compassion” or told – with an equal lack of irony – that it isn’t just for “lefties” but for ardent Tories too.

In 2008 the Tories were being hailed as the compassionate conservatives. Three years on, a Coalition in place, and attacks in the most vulnerable in society impossible to ignore and this now sounds like a bitter joke.

But Cameron tried to reaffirm his compasionate Conservative credentials at the Tory conference where he said: “Conservative methods are not just good for the strong and the successful but the best way to help the poor and the weak and the vulnerable.”

Adding: “Because it’s not enough to know our ideas are right. We’ve got to explain why they are compassionate too.”

I don’t know about you but – as more people need benefits at the same time as Universal Credit ensures they’re denied them -  I can see the Tories changing their approach to “compassion”. I think, in much the same way as rants about “political-correctness”, they’ll soon declare it’s “compassion gone mad!” as they silence anyone defending the vulnerable.

I’m so certain of this I will bet my £71 a week which is, of course, such a huge amount of money I’m now entirely unwilling to work and, instead, happy to live in state-funded luxury with the obligatory enormous television.

Recently though I’ve found that rare species we know exists but hardly ever encounter … a compassionate Job Centre Plus adviser. He is friendly thing, doesn’t speak to me like I’m a thief, stupid or both … and he advises. Perhaps this is an indication that those who consider themselves to be in a powerful position – that is, in work – are recognising their own employment vulnerability. That they too could soon be treated with a lack of compassion and accused of whinging if they demand it.

This also to some extent explains why it’s been some time since I’ve blogged. It’s not, sadly, due to my being employed but to my feeling I have, in a way, little left to say.

Firstly, my experience is a repetitive one – I am again moving from unemployment to under-employment and so fighting the draconian measures of my benefits being suspended before I’ve even seen an employment contract. I am as ever stressed out by this but also oddly used to it. I now know how to “play the system” because you have no choice but to learn because – aside from the Lesser Arrogant Job Centre Plus Advisor I’ve just encountered – no one helps you at all.

I’ve again gone without heating – but I imagine you have too. I’ve again gone without food and have no social life – but I imagine that sounds familiar.

My experience is now a very common one: many of us are now losing our jobs; seeing our homes threatened; being treated as parasitic benefit cheats; being ripped off by utilities companies; being blamed for our poverty; watching as banks benefit from it in charges; recognising our qualifications are not worth the money we paid for them; waiting for the axe to fall or signing on then off then on then off then on then …

Update:

Chaplin is well. He is currently enjoying a catnip cigar and, thankfully, prefers Lidl and Aldi catfood to the big name brands

Luxuries I’ve bought to irritate Tories who think my benefits are too high: an electric blanket; a halogen heater and the aforementioned catnip cigar

Poverty plan: To work two part-time jobs in the hope that this means I can sign off until March 2013. Fingers crossed

Jobcentre Plus new Q&A revealed …

Some intense investigative reporting on my part has resulted in my having something to do other than play string with Chaplin – and in unearthing the latest questionnaire used by Jobcentre Plus advisers.

This Q&A will be used at each and every interview unemployed workers attend in the hope that they will finally collapse, demoralised and exhausted, and choose to sign off rather than face the repetitive, humiliating process over and over again. What happens to them then is of no concern.

A Jobcentre Plus unofficial, completely imaginary, spokesperson said: “When addressing the needs of customers facing deferred success and cashflow challenges, it sometimes makes sense to clarify your process using a flowchart.

“Using a customer service process flow chart can help advisers deal with customers in a way that represents Jobcentre Plus’ overall customer service outlook while, at the same time, avoiding customer intimacy or, heaven forbid, making eye contact with the employment-challenged.

“Going forward we hope that they will finally collapse, demoralised and exhausted, and choose to sign off rather than face this repetitive, humiliating process over and over again.

“What happens to them then is of no concern to us and any discussion about the validity of this flowchart will result in our effective, and government-backed, use of blamestorming.”

  • If you’re due to sign on remember this is how they think – even if the more wily ones don’t follow the Q&A openly …

Blame Bingo … a new game for all the family!

Are you unemployed? Do you spend a lot of time watching the news and listening to excuse after excuse from the Coalition? Then you’ll love Blame Bingo©!

Are you a single mum? Immigrant worker? Trade unionist? Or disabled? Then you’ll love Blame Bingo© – and seeing just how you are to blame for the state of the economy.

Blame Bingo© – it’s the game even Labour Party members can enjoy!*

Blame Bingo© is free so won’t eat into your meagre benefits or ever-dwindling wages. It’s easy, fun and contains many real excuses used by the Coalition. Just tick them off as you hear them until you get a full house – which will happen in no time!

Play Blame Bingo© today – and you won’t earn a thing even if you do it all day long! Just as the Coalition likes it!

*Liberal Democrats are advised not to play Blame Bingo© but instead to walk away from the Coalition so that we can have an election.

Blame Bingo© proof that being bored and stuck on the dole makes you entrepreneurial!

Which unemployed worker stereotype are you?

Are you a slob? Do you deserve nothing but contempt? Are you a so-called chav who should be humiliated at every chance? Well, here’s your chance to find out with this personality quiz asking: which unemployment stereotype are you? The answers are based on a scientific analysis of the Department for Work and Pension’s desired response to your situation no matter what the reality. Good luck.

1. What job did you do?

a: I’ve not worked yet. I’ve just left school/college/university and can’t find a job

b: I was an architect/journalist/middle manager but the company closed down.

c: I had a manual/professional job but struggled to find work at home so moved to the UK.

d: I’ve never worked and I never intend to. Working is for fools like you.

e: I was a qualified, experienced worker who enjoyed working but, sadly, I can’t work now because I’m unwell.

2. If you had to work what would you be willing to do?

a: I’d like to do something I’d enjoy or to use my qualifications because I’ve just graduated and I’m proud of my achievement. I’d do anything to start though.

b: Ideally I’d like to do something I enjoy, closely linked to my qualifications and experience.

c: I’m willing to do anything that’s available but would much prefer not to be here, if I’m honest.

d: I told you, I’m never going to work. My parents didn’t work, my siblings don’t work. No one in my family works, never has and never will.

e: I’d go back to what I like doing. I’d start tomorrow if my health improved.

3. How do you spend a typical day?

a: I look for jobs on in the internet and in papers then I watch David Dickinson or other afternoon television but with a great sense of irony. I’m often bored.

b: I search for jobs online, in newspapers, contact friends then I watch afternoon television with a great sense of dread. I’m often bored.

c: Looking for work: I go to employment agencies, check newspapers, try to make a call home if I’ve enough money. I’m often bored.

d: Hang about with the locals, sleep on the settee for a bit, then I might have something to eat before hanging about again. Take it easy, you know? I get into fights in my neighbourhood sometimes but, seriously, why stress out about stuff.

e: I have a routine around my medication and healthcare which can make doing anything else almost out of the question.

4. What do you spend your benefits on?

a: The essentials. It’s not enough for anything else.

b: The essentials. It’s not enough for anything else.

c: The essentials. It’s not enough for anything else.

d: I want decent food. No store brand rubbish and I can usually get it. If I can’t get it myself I know someone who will.  I also get the drugs I want, the bedding I like. I come and go as I please. I live a charmed life.

e: The essentials. It’s not enough for anything else.

5. How many people do you know who are unemployed?

a: A few people. Some have found bits of jobs others got lucky and have full-time work.

b: Quite a few. These are people who thought they had job security but are now like me.

c: A few, here and at home. We none of us like it.

d: Those I depend on are unemployed. Makes no difference to me. Why would it matter? What is this obsession you have with working? Chilling out is much better.

e: I know more and more people in my situation and many are now being forced to work despite still being really, really ill.

Mostly As: You’re lazy. You’ve just left college/university and not looking hard enough for work. You clearly find living on benefits a suitable alternative lifestyle because it keeps you in luxury accommodation, enjoying fine-dining and enough computer games to keep you awake all night so you can sleep all day. You’re still cheerful and proud of your educational achievements. Stopping your entitlement to benefits will sort you out.

Mostly Bs: You’re lazy. You lack motivation, ambition and the ability to start-up your own business. You’re dependent on the state when you should be out there finding something, anything and lying about your qualifications or experience just so long as you find work. Did you not see The Pursuit of Happyness? That man slept in a toilet while he looked for work and so should you. Workfare will sort you out.

Mostly Cs: You’re lazy. Worse still, you’re foreign. You’ve come over here thinking our benefit system is easy and you can live off the taxpayer. We’ll show you by making sure there’s no work here either. Being scapegoated and blamed for mass unemployment in the UK will sort you out.

Mostly Ds: You’re my cat, Chaplin. You sleep most of the day and think people should run around after you. You’ve no intention of working, can’t begin to understand what it even means. You’re a cat but sometimes your characteristics are forced onto people who are struggling to survive on the least amount of money it is possible to live on.

Mostly Es: You’re lazy. Just because you’re ill doesn’t mean the taxpayer should help you. It’s not our fault you got ill. You should’ve taken better care of yourself or kept on eye on your dodgy genes. If you can walk, you can work, now get up and get earning.

Revealed: Why Tories lack compassion …

It staggers me that I can still be dismissed as lazy, that those facing the brunt of mass unemployment globally can still be dismissed as lazy. With 2.64 million unemployed in the UK alone  – the highest level since 1994, according to official figures – this reaction, and the short-sightedness and cruelty of it, is beyond my understanding.

Perhaps it’s because most Tories – certainly Tory leaders – don’t worry about such trivial things as low-pay, gas meters, the threat of homelessness with repossessions and rent too high for benefits, redundancy, over-priced train fares, losing their Disability Allowance or other benefits …

And perhaps it’s also as a fascinating recent study from UC Berkeley suggests – that individuals in the upper middle and upper classes are “less able to detect and respond to the distress signals of others” while “people in the lower socio-economic classes are more physiologically attuned to suffering, and quicker to express compassion than their more affluent counterparts”.

Social psychologist Jennifer Stellar, lead author of the study, says the upper classes “may just not be as adept at recognizing the cues and signals of suffering because they haven’t had to deal with as many obstacles in their lives”.

According to the latest statistics, as reported by the BBC, the numbers claiming benefits rose by 3,000 to 1.6 million in November last year and the total number of employees fell by 63,000 to 29.11m, mostly due to job losses in the public sector.

I blogged about how I’m going to take up a job offer – despite the fact I’ll have less money, despite the fact it will cost me to work, despite the fact it is not permanent or even full-time – I am going to work. I’m doing so because it might lead to more work, but I recognise it might not. The chances are I will be unemployed again in a few months and I have no control over that.

This somehow met with abuse. It would seem we – the unemployed – can’t do anything to satisfy the rabid Tories. Not even while their party leader admits that unemployment is a problem. Not even when it’s obvious that unemployment is a global problem.

I’m told “get a job, you lazy bum”: The Telegraph (Torygraph) reported that there are at least 23 people chasing every job adding, “over the past year, the number of applications for each job vacancy has jumped by more than 50 per cent for customer service, secretarial and retail roles. An average of 46 candidates apply for each customer service job, 45 for each secretarial job and 42 for each retail job.”

I’ve been secured interviews, indeed I’ve been congratulated at interviews having being picked among almost 100 to make it to the shortlist. Sadly, there was one job available and I didn’t get it.

Still, my inability to get a job – despite applying for many for which I am over-qualified, many for which I’m under-qualified and thinking as laterally as Dali on LSD – is, to Tories, my fault.

I’m told “start up a business”: I don’t have enough money to start up my central heating so where I’m going to get funds to launch a business is beyond me. One would have to lead an odd life to think anyone, anywhere can start up a business. The romantic notion of having a market stall that turns into a chain of supermarkets is celebrated because it is remarkable.

Still, my inability to do so – despite volunteering to join the government-funded New Enterprise Scheme and having a business plan for a social enterprise – is, to Tories, my fault.

I’m told “a stint in Tesco’s/M&S/McDonalds would show you some humility”: I’m not able to get a job at McDonald’s or the other places. I fail to understand why people think just anyone can get these jobs. It’s not snobbery on my part but recognition from employers that I have zero experience in retail: it would be extraordinarily arrogant of me to assume I can just walk in and do these jobs. Employers also know I won’t stay working there for a moment longer than I have to because I want to earn more and do the work for which I qualified.

Still, despite working hard to gain qualifications which I was assured would secure me work for life, my current failure to don either a McDonald’s uniform or a Ronald McDonald suit is, to Tories, my fault.

I don’t mention my qualifications to appear superior but because I have them, I worked hard for them, and I still can’t find work. The change in education and our understanding of it as workers is discussed in an excellent video which states: “We were kept at school with a story that if you worked hard and did well and got a college degree you would have a job. Our kids don’t believe that and they’re right not to.” All workers are in this mess of mass unemployment together – whatever qualifications we do or don’t have.

I agree wholeheartedly with Owen Jones who says, “Mass unemployment is not an individual fault; it is not the product of millions of people ‘choosing’ to go on benefits out of a ‘lifestyle choice’; it is not the consequence of people failing to look hard enough for work. It exists because – to repeat myself – there is simply not enough work to go around.”

I saw – and still see – many jobs cuts in journalism and I became freelance. I worked in schools, wrote articles and taught at university where I was lucky enough to have my department pay for me to qualify as a lecturer. Then the axe fell in higher education and I struggled for a while – a good friend even paying my rent one month – until I had no choice but to sign on. I still haven’t been able to pay my friend the money I owe.

I rest assured that I’ve done all I can to find work, that I’m still doing all I can and will continue to do all I can. I now hope the coalition government will do something, anything to create jobs. No one chooses to live on £67.50 per week if there is an alternative.

Still the Tories – with a sociopathic lack of compassion – want us to blame ourselves for the state of the economy. They think we can’t recognise that we’re not responsible for a global economic crisis.

Instead they want to reform welfare cutting benefits and forcing people off the dole in search of jobs which don’t exist. Instead they stop Disability Allowance and force even more people – those unfit to work – to search for jobs which don’t exist. You can read more about this here. Instead they plan to stop Legal Aid for those challenging benefit decisions: intending to change the rules so it can’t be used to help people challenge mistakes despite the fact that inaccurate decisions push people into poverty. You can sign a petition to stop this here.

I can’t see how forcing people off benefits by arguing they can find work can make any sense to anyone during a global economic crisis, a national recession, when unemployment is at its highest in 17 years and when dozens of people are chasing each and every limited vacancy.

The Tories know that what they are spouting is economically and politically untrue. The Tories want to create a nasty narrative of hatred towards the unemployed, to blame individuals for their situation, despite global economic problems, and to divide and rule workers. This is easier than creating jobs and helps justify the vile decisions they’re taking which plunge individuals and families into abject poverty.

Wanting to leave people with no state help at all in such economic circumstance is, again, a lack of compassion beyond my understanding: I simply don’t hate and dismiss my fellow human beings in this way. To me, calling anyone a lazy bum for being unemployed in the current circumstances shows a lack of understanding of economics, political history – and a severe lack of empathy.

While we’re talking about the psychology of Tories, I also think their constant suggestion that we’re lazy bums, snobby and avoiding work is a massive psychological projection on their part.