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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Workfare, demolition of the welfare state, and whether perpetrators or their charges should have more sleepless nights

Workfare, demolition of the welfare state, and whether perpetrators or their charges should have more sleepless nights 

By Swheatie
Knock! Knock! Q: "Who's there?"

A: "Insomniacs"

Q: "Insomniacs who?"
— From Spike Milligan, in 'An Adult Entertainment' live concert with Jeremy Taylor

Do Ingeus run insomniac zoos?
The flyer pictured above is for a 'Good Sleep Guide workshop' run by workfare profiteer Ingeus that was founded by the enterprising wife of former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It reads:

Good Sleep Guide workshop

  • Do you want to improve your sleep?
  • Do you want to find out about common sleep problems and what to do about them?
  • Do you want to learn techniques to get a better night's rest?
If the answer is YES to any of the above & you receive ESA then the Good Sleep Guide is for you

Monday 31/3/14
Speak to your case manager who can book you onto the workshop
It almost sounds like Ingeus are being responsive and responsible to the people allegedly in their care but — hang on a minute! — should they and their staff be getting millions of pounds of profit from a system that a European Committee of Social Rights report has adjudged 'woefully inadequate'?

I am reminded of a tale that  in the 1980's and 1990's when a rampant Peter Lilley was putting his 'little list' into action, social security managers in the UK who had a conscience were turning to alcohol to help them sleep more easily, and the statement from Jean-Paul Sartre's adaptation of Euripides' tragedy 'The Trojan Women': "Those who give the order seldom see the mess it makes."

We have an increasingly right wing media conducting censorship by omission and witch-hunts of those who dare to speak out these days. An increasingly mercenary educational, children and families outlook with Michael Gove at its head implies that poverty is the fault of the people who are poor and that social workers and social work students who dare to think otherwise are full of left-wing dogma that is too much for their tiny little minds. Something that has helped prevent me from suicide even in the days when I was constantly in debt as a jobseeker is the realisation that education should really be about how to be more win-win powerful in and of oneself, rather than someone who can read sufficiently to 'make the grade' and 'follow orders'.

While I do sometime experience insomnia, I am sure that I have fewer sleepless nights as a white and literate — however slow — person than I would have if I was targeted for extra bullying at the hands of 'Mandatory Work Activity' purveyors with their love of applying sanctions especially to people they see as isolated and ill-informed of their rights.

Being a part of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and well-networked helps me sleep at night. Meanwhile, we are determined to help people know their rights whatever the purveyors of witch-hunts want to do with us. And maybe the perpetrators of 'welfare reform' would improve their performance as humans if they did have more sleepless nights? In Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol', Ebeneezer Scrooge became a transformed character.

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