no malingering in back-to-work Britain
In yet another demonstration of the sort of lateral thinking that has made Gordon Brown not only saviour of the banks but saviour of the world, Work and Pensions Minister James Purnell announced a government pledge to force long term sickness benefits claimants and some single mothers back to work. The Welfare Reform White Paper has also been welcomed by the Conservative Opposition, largely because it steals their thunder by arguing that unearned benefits undermine society and destroy the work ethic.
a spot of hard work never hurt anybody
The sand in the vaseline of this get-in-your-invalid-car-and-find-work initiative is that the UK has just registered the highest unemployment figures for 11 years. For example, Plaid Cymru (Wales) MP Hywel Davies observed that there were 320,000 unemployed people in his constituency but only 20,000 jobs advertised. Scottish MPs are also skeptical, as well they might be. Nobody (dares) to gainsay ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ in our Through the Looking Glass mother of Parliaments, but it would help if the UK had any Arbeit on offer to its able-bodied citizens, never mind the vulnerable, disadvantaged or unskilled. Genuine skivers will always find a way to avoid job opportunities and cheat benefits, but they are a tiny minority.
But enough of this cup-half-empty rhetoric. Despite the fact that my White Paper to reskill unemployed lap dancers as school zebra crossing attendants and bankers as traffic calming bumps in the road met with studied silence from the government (Thus passim), our policy wonkers have been hard at work solving this latest conundrum. It’s so simple it hurts:
Latest UK Government health advisor
Send the sick and the lame on a ‘Crusade to Health’ to Lourdes. Allow those that are cured back into the country and put them to work immediately building a Brit Art installation out of their crutches, eye patches and walking sticks. Those that stubbornly refuse to be cured should be branded a threat to national security or similar by no-nonsense Northerner, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas who can knock together a failsafe points-based entry system at least as good as the one which kept out the million or so illegal immigrants we apparently boast. And there’s more. Since RyanAir are the main carriers to Lourdes, there is a fair chance that they won’t be they won’t be able to run fast enough to catch the plane back in any case so they’ll have to live in a French concentration camp – Calais has a good one, I hear.
Behold the miracle: the lame leap from their Beemers and into the pub each match day
In the event that nobody will lend the UK Government enough cash to buy the RyanAir tickets, even during one of their miraculous ‘million seats for £1.00′ bonanzas, there is another solution. I have noticed that whenever my local team, Arsenal, play at home, miraculous numbers of people with disabled badges leap from their cars and rush to the ground, more agile and fleet of foot, in many cases, than the footballers themselves. If the government wants revenge and tabloid headlines, my advice is to start by investigating those displaying disabled badges in 4×4 jeeps, Beemers and pimpmobiles on Match Day restricted parking zones. There is more than a fair chance that they are also benefit cheats, especially if they can afford the gouging season ticket prices charged by our foreign-owned Mercenary Utd. soccer clubs.
Or we could move towards creating real jobs which people, disabled or otherwise, will enjoy doing. If that fails, make a Novena to St. Jude, patron of Lost Causes.