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July 22, 2008

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Bendy Girl

This is the first comment I've left here-I fully agree, this is about stigmatizing those in receipt of benefits, the aim being to convince the public such people are a fraudulent drain on resources. What's really sickening is the all out attack on disabled people, already some of the poorest in society.
Once all these groups have been successfully stigmatized there will of course be little support for those campaigning against such 'reforms' and it will be easy for the govt and media to ignore the fact that fraud rates are relatively low (0.5% of overall claims for DLA) and that programmes such as pathways and New Deal are an expensive waste of time for the vast majority.
Bendy Girl

Charlie Whitaker

"Nothing much has changed in the last 350 years"

Well I'd put it like this: things changed, but they've been unchanging again recently.

I think your minimum wage point hits the mark, though, and I'd have thought that receipt of minimum wage (at least) would be an essential step towards building self-esteem. Or are we planning on building workhouses here?

Though there are issues with the fair allocation of housing benefit, aren't there?

Incidentally, my experience of jobcentreplus was that the staff were miserable, although they often did their best to be decent. Most of them were on contract, they told me. And many of the claimants were clearly in bad shape. It's going to take more than forced labour to 'fix' them: there are basic health and literacy issues to contend with.

Bruce

Good post. But to pick up on one element, I think it's a shame that certain jobs - like litter collecting and cleaning graffiti etc - have been stigmatised as "community service" jobs. I look around me and I see so many useful such tasks that could be undertaken but nobody wants to do them and I think that got more to do with the status of the job than the reality of the work. There is nothing wrong with the work itself (indeed some people volunteer their own time for similar activities) but they have become stigmatised by the "community service" tag. That's probably more off-putting than the work itself (which on a nice day like today, would be more enjoyable than stuck here at my desk).


Luis Enrique

Yes, good post. You could even modify your "he could have spoken thus" suggestion, so that after 2 years on the dole, you will be supplied with a job by the state, and out of work benefits will be withdrawn (i.e. keeping an element of compulsion) and it would be a significant improvement on what they actually seem to be proposing.

I just don't understand what they're playing at - this could just be tackling long-term unemployment via state job creation - it could pay the minimum wage, include some training and job seeking assistance, and it could be compulsory. Why haven't they done that?

Comunity links

I agree, stigmatising the poor as lazy cheats is extremely damaging, but I think this is the medias rsponsibility. The Green paper aims at giving people back control of their lives and ending the culture of dependancy. The media have taken it out of context and it is now appearing like a criminal sentence. If this understanding is adopted by society, this can be very dangerous as then the government will have to live up to this perception. What should be the focus is the lack of government acknowledgement and appreciation for people working cash in hand, on the side as a survival mechanism. Many of which are capable of working their way out of poverty but with theis new proposal they will just have to give up all they have achieved and go back to basics. That or give up benefits altogether and work on the black maqrket.Either way at some point down the line the government wil realise they need to harness the skills of informal workers and help them into the formal economy. If you want to know more on this please check out http://comlinks.beepweb.co.uk/linksuk/ and have your say

gordon

In Australia, where a work-for-the-dole scheme has been in operation for several years, most of the work of the old Commonwealth Employment Service has been outsourced to the private sector. I suspect that the possibility of outsourcing is a large component of the British Govt's. thinking on this. "Stigmatising the poor" is a good talking point, but I would suggest you follow the money.

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