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From Elsewhere: It’s not ‘slave labour’ and your just a very silly girl

February 13, 2013


Here is Brendan O’Neil’s sharp eyed, and tongued let it be said, take on the Cait Reilly case, in which Ms Reilly and her space-cadet Leftie supporters have referred to Workfare and similar back to work schemes as ‘slave labour’.

“Who else but an ill-read infant, utterly lacking in historical nous and self-awareness, would describe something like Workfare as “slavery”, or being paid a small amount of money by the state to work in Poundland as “forced labour”? Comparing oneself to the beaten and manacled cotton-pickers of yesteryear is the stuff of Kevin the Teenager more than Karl Marx, bringing to mind that spotty overgrown teen’s cry of: “Everyone hates me!”

The infantilism of Cait and Co. can also be seen in the underlying aim of their campaigning – to have the state sustain all young adults who fall on tough times; to have the authorities feed, water, clothe and care for every graduate or school-leaver who doesn’t immediately land a plush job and cheap digs. There is nothing remotely radical, nothing Rosa Luxemburgish about this demand. It is in essence a campaign to extend teenage dependency into adult life, where the state takes over the role of parents in being expected to satiate young folks’ needs and stroke their self-esteem. How hilarious that the Cait cheerleaders talk about “slavery” while metaphorically manacling themselves to the state.”

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Telling it like it is, Mr O’Neill. The ironic thing about the whole case is that because Ms Reilly has been seen by so many as a spoiled brat with an overwhelming sense of self-entitlement, probably the only job she will have is the one offered to her by Morrisons. Would you employ such a self important whinger? I wouldn’t.

  1. Red Admiral permalink

    Funny thing is, my kid wanted to do some slavery as an unpaid intern (with an MP!). The Job Centre said it would cost him his Job Seeker’s Allowance. How does that figure?

  2. Hen Bradshaw permalink

    Whilst I agree that the word, ‘slavery’ is used in the wron context here, I cannot agree that the Workforce agenda, and the way it is implemented is good. Anyone, no matter their age are expected to be taught a skill to help find a permanent job. However, this young woman wasn’t taught anything that would help her find work. Voluntary work would be much more productive.
    Interns, though are taught skills and I believe should be allowed to claim income support. (JSA is only for those who are seeking work).

  3. Fahrenheit211 permalink

    It’s not just the misuse of the word ‘slavery’ it’s the galling sense of entitlement that the young woman has. She did a degree in an area, geology, where to be quite frank there is not much work. She obviously needs to find work outside of her specialism so this sort of work experience is ideal for that situation. I believe she was being taught useful working skills in Poundland, ie not to be a snobby little madam. Nobody should expect to be spoonfed with new skills, she should have got off her arse and aquired those skills herself. I agree that interns should be allowed to claim Inc Supp and also should be allowed to do intern work whilst on JSA provided that the internship was approved.

    • Hen Bradshaw permalink

      She didn’t come across as spoiled to me, perhaps as she speaks the way all young people should, and at least she has a degree that has some merit, if not the sort that has ready made jobs at the end of it because geologists don’t leave their jobs that often. However, we are discussing the Workforce bill.
      The whole scheme is not a good idea. If a company wishes to have shelf fillers and cleaners then employ them, don’t sign up for a scheme knowing you would have someone for free, and not give them the training you would have to if you employed that person.
      Where was the Health and Safety induction – non-existent. Even when I had my first Saturday job, in 1967, I was given a form of this so it’s not the PC lobby gone nuts.

      • Fahrenheit211 permalink

        I’m afraid I did pick up on the spoiled sense of entitlement. Demanding that she be employed or given experience that she saw as commensurate with her ‘abilities’. It is all very well to say that the companies should pay a wage for shelf fillers etc but in many cases these organisations are making these jobs available but nobody, apart from immigrants, are going for them. Instead we have British people like Ms Reilly who feel that is their right to stay on benefits until a job she wants comes up and I don’t think that we as a society should stand for such an attitude any more.

        Personally I don’t feel the scheme goes far enough. Receipt of benefit should, unless the person is registered disabled or a carer, entail some work in exchange for benefits. It is scandalous that in many parts of the country we have three or four generations of families who have never worked, have never contributed and where the link between doing something useful in exchange for money has been lost.

        The sad fact is this young woman because of her now nationally publicised attitude to doing stuff she doesn’t want to do may have stymied her chances of employment somewhere better than Morrisons in the future.

      • Hen Bradshaw permalink

        I agree with the work for benefit, but the government offices target the genuine disabled not the strikers.
        The scheme in theory is a good one, it’s just that this particular ’employer’ misused it’s entitlement.
        Of course her words about finding a position in line with her qualifications will take a long time, but her employment centre should have sent her to do work experience where her education, (NOT her degree) would have been put to use.
        Reading through past posts on differing subjects, I find naevity not amongst the post. Unfortunately in believing only migrant workers will fill shelves for a living is naive.
        I live in an area with two major supermarkets, one of which employs family members to be cleaners and shelf fillers.

      • Fahrenheit211 permalink

        Sadly, there have been too many cases where hard working migrant workers have been doing jobs that UK people could and should be doing. If they are not capable of doing such jobs then the fault of that lies squarely with the education system. The whole point of Ms Reilly being sent to a supermarket may well have been to give her some experience of doing a job, any job, which may have stood her in better stead in the future.

      • Hen Bradshaw permalink

        We may be distressing but the Poundland stores I have visited are not supermarkets. The point is
        1) Poundland didn’t TEACH, they USED.
        2) Mr Fahrenheit believes Geology is a useless degree.
        3) The Government jobsworths are targeting easy people to reduce the welfare bill.
        4) This young woman had the guts to stand up for her rights and therefore paving the way for the genuinely vulnerable members of society.
        5) Our justice system has proved that the scheme, which works in some areas, didn’t work in this case and was deemed illegal.

      • Fahrenheit211 permalink

        The experience she would have got at poundland could have been extremely useful. It’s always a good thing to learn how to deal with customers no matter at what level.
        Geology is not a useless degree as I’ve conceded to Bunny, it is not as useless as for example sociology or media studies, but it may well have been for Ms Reilly as she refuses to use it to earn her living. Surely she realised that there would be some travel and upheaval involved in a geologial career?
        Re the disability issue, I agree that those who have genuine problems get a raw deal but could that not be because there is too many on benefits based on incapacity or disability who should not be there. If there was less ‘slack’ then there would be more money for the genuinely in need. I refuse to believe that we in the UK have far more ‘disabled’ people than other European nations.
        She may have had guts but she has come out of this very badly.
        As bunny said, this scheme wasn’t illegal but she won this case on a pure technicallity.

      • Hen Bradshaw permalink

        Farenheit, I agree that Britain has a lot of disabled workers, however, it’s not the them that’s getting targeted to get into work. Perhaps you should look into things and let us all know the appalling statistics of genuinely disabled people being fit for work.

      • Fahrenheit211 permalink

        Hen, We have a of people who have, on paper, disabled status, that doesn’t mean that they are unable to do a job. When people think of the term disabled the image that comes into most people’s minds is that of a person with limited mobility or a similar condition. What seems to make up too many of those on disability/incapacity benefits are drunks, junkies, people playing the mental illness card, those put on incapacity type benefits by corrupt doctors for ‘bad backs’ and similar non provable afflictions. There is also the scandalous problems caused not only by the last Labour govt by by previous ones of classifying some long term workless as disabled to freak the jobless figures.

        Helping people doesn’t always mean throwing money, extorted under menaces, from working taxpayers at people in order for those people to do nothing. Apart from being a waste of money it is demeaning and damaging to the recipient. For example, I once knew a man, a scaffolder, who for various reasons had a minor breakdown and found that he lost his bottle on the scaffold. Rather than forgettign about him and paying him to sit in a bedsit getting more and more depressed and more and more drunk surely it would have been cheaper to help him sort his problem out? Neither the health service or the welfare system is fit for purpose. The Health service kills its customers and the welfare system treats spongers better than those who are genuine.

      • Bunny permalink

        Actually it was not found to be illegal, what was in breach of legal requirements was the way that the scheme was explained to the participants. Not the actual scheme itself. The problem she had was that she did not want to work in the field in which she was qualified as it meant uprooting her life.

      • Fahrenheit211 permalink

        There might be some work in the UK for her soon, it looks like shale gas is becoming more likely as a prospect.

  4. Bunny permalink

    Mr Fahrenheit I take exception to your comment that there is not much work for geologists, they cannot get enough geologists and there is a shortage of ones in the oil and gas industry. She in fact turned down an offer of £90k a year in Australia, if she didn’t want to do a global expat job, she should not have taken a global expat degree subject. Besides that detail about geologists, I agree entirely with your sentiments.

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      Hi Bunny, point taken about the need for geologists, I know there is a need for specialist oil and gas geologists but it wasn’t made clear in original reports that this was what she was qualified for. I’m gobsmacked to hear that she turned down a 90k per year job in Australia. I agree that if she didn’t want to do a job that would involved travel then maybe she shouldn’t have read Geology at university.

  5. Paris Claims permalink

    My first reaction was similar to yours, then I read that she was already doing voulantry work elsewhere, and I calmed down a bit. And why should Poundland, or anyone else get free workers?

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      If she was doing voluntary work elsewhere and if it was bona fide, and could have led to employment then maybe this option should at least been looked at, I’m with you that this puts a different spin on things. However, the benefit system is not there to fund people in volunteering positions indefinitely, it’s there to tide people over bad times and if you are able to volunteer to do stuff then surely you should do paid work? Maybe I’m prejudiced on this sort of thing because I’ve worked in the ‘community art’ sector and I’ve seen a lot of work avoiders posing as artists (I’ve also seen a lot of seriously shit taxpayer funded art and fiscal adn compliance shenanigans, which made me question whether a lot of arts funding is either value for money or reflecting the publics desires and tastes).

      I do still think that she was unwise to make a fuss on this issue because of the reasons I gave earlier and also because her case has been exploited by some odd and pretty nasty left wingers, as Brendan O’Neill pointed out.

    • Hen Bradshaw permalink

      I agree multi national and international companies should not get free labour. It takes away a position that would otherwise be able to be used by someone else.

  6. Furor Teutonicus permalink

    If Poundland needs a job doeing, they should bloody pay the going rate.

    If not, these “workfare” things THEMSELVES are putting people out of work!

    • Hen Bradshaw permalink

      Well said Furor.

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      Furor, up to a point I would agree with you but there are a lot of people out there who by dint of having been through the useless (although getting better under Michael Gove) education system have no concept of punctuality, taking orders, serving customers etc or who have never had to function in a work environment. It is these people who are not going to be snapped up by employers and who need to be guided into work placements. I also don’t agree with long term placements that do not pay and which displace salaried workers but in Britain we have lost the link between doing something positive with your life and getting paid for it and it is these who need forcing into the workplace.

  7. Hen Bradshaw permalink

    Bunny, my appologies in the misunderstanding as I genuinely believed that it was found to be illegal and that was why the government were appealing the ruling. Otherwise why waste taxpayers money in doing so, instead of just retraining the officers who got it wrong.

  8. Bunny permalink

    One of the big things is how events like this is reported and the way that the media/politicians manipulate events like this for their own aims. Ms Reilly now works at Morrisons, which quite frankly is a waste of so many years doing a useful degree. People are now arguing whether a work experience scheme is illegal or not and missing the point that much needed reforms are not being implemented or even discussed and that politicians of all persuasions are removed from the societies they supposedly represent.

    • Hen Bradshaw permalink

      Sense at last, well done Bunny.

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      It certainly was a waste of time and money for her to do a Geology degree if she wasn’t going to use it. Reforms are needed, big and wide ranging reforms, but it seems that tinkering round the edges is preferable rather than tackling the major problems such as 1) a welfare state that rewards non optimal behaviour such as single parenthood 2) a benefit system that doesn’t discriminate between those who pay in and those who have not 3) a system that has all but eliminated shame or self responsibility.

      I certainly agree that we no longer have politicians who are representative but instead we have a self serving, and sometimes treasonous ‘nomenklatura’. We cannot change the system to eliminate the above problems or start to solve the growing and frightening problem of imported aggressive fascist ideologies without changing the politicians. If all those who currently do not vote suddenly did vote for independent candidates then it would be a much needed shock to the current system. Maybe Britain needs a campaign to incite people to vote out side the mainstream. The Conservative party has abandoned too much of its core vote to be trusted, the Liberal Democrats are now being seen on the national stage for the Janus faced tossers that they have been in local government, and as for Labour well a vote for them is a vote for a party that truly hates the British working class.

  9. Bunny permalink

    One of the things that annoys me is the ‘profession of faith’ style arguments by the main stream parties and their supporters, and the manipulation. Such as Labour complaining about privatisation within the healthcare system, when these were the people who signed the contracts in the first place. (Cambridgshire irc) According to the likes of Milliband Cameron is a ‘toff’, however the Labour front benches are children of privilege too. I like the idea of voting for independents, that would work. I can see the Conservatives being dead as a political force within ten years and Labour being gone within a generation. It has happened before, I am thinking of the Republican Party in the States taking over from the Conservatives in that country.

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      Spot on there Bunny. There is a vast amount of hypocritical behavior amongst politicos. I agree with you about the state of the big three parties. You might be right about the fate of the Tories, they have managed to weather huge storms in the past such as parliamentary reform in the 19th Century but they may not survive Cameron turning the tories yet another non patriotic left/centre-left party. The Labour party is being increasingly seen not as the party for the average working person but as the party of the would be Islamic conqueror. Look at the way the Labour constantly arse-licks followers of an ideology that is completely incompatible with a Britain that for example treats women as equals.

      All the mainstream politicos are not to be trusted but for different reasons. As for the Lib Dems, I see a lot of lost deposits coming along the road. I’m impressed with the way UKIP has performed despite the propaganda against it put out by the likes of the BBC.

      • Furor Teutonicus permalink

        XX Look at the way the Labour constantly arse-licks followers of an ideology that is completely incompatible with a Britain XX

        Look at the way the “Liberals” do the same, and Commyrons gang of wannabee Marxists do bugger all to repeal the crap.

        HELL; They could not (re)peal a bloody banana these days!

        They are all in it together.

      • Fahrenheit211 permalink

        Agreed, about the only thing that doesn’t distinguish the big three parties from one another is the shared desire to politically fellate the Islamic fascists. It is a phenomenon common to all of the big three parties sadly. Maybe as things get worse we will hopefully see the rise in non-racist parties that stand against the depredations of Islam and for Western values. Groups like the BNP in the UK are not the answer, they are too tainted by neo-nazism to be taken seriously by much of the population.

        As for Cameron, I keep waiting for his promised bonfire of the quangos and the curtailing of the leftist diversity establishment but it never seems to come.

      • Furor Teutonicus permalink

        XX As for Cameron, I keep waiting for his promised bonfire of the quangos and the curtailing of the leftist diversity establishment but it never seems to come.XX

        Hahahahahaha! Don’t hold your breath. The same as his multiple failed offers for a “referendum” on the E.U.

        The bastard is simply a bloody liar.

      • Fahrenheit211 permalink

        Lying bastard is about the best description for him. I think a lot of people are going to plump for UKIP at the next General Election, there is growing anger in the UK about how the EU is run and the fact that the ‘horsemeat’ scandal is highlighting the fact that we cannot check meat imported from other EU countries can only increase anti EU sentiment.

        Personally I think why should someone who is opposed to Eurofederalism vote for the Cameron monkey, when they could vote for the UKIP organgrinder? Mind you if we leave the EU the poor Germans will end up footing the ill for the historical profligacy and downright fraud of the PIIGS. Britain with its possible generous shale gas reserves, an independent currency, financial services industry, trade and transport links plus the English Language could do quite well away from the authoritarians and thieves of the EU. Britain was at its most dynamic when we had a proper free market for ideas and goods. I don’t think that it would be possible to go back to such Victorian values but we should at least be able to reduce the size and intrusiveness of the state. You can’t make money in a dictatorship where the market is rigged. Only free societies can have truly free markets.

  10. Bunny permalink

    If the quangos were culled how many middle class, educated people would suddenly join the job market, of this group of people, how many would have the ability to survive in the private sector? Once they were out there in the job market, knocking on doors like the rest of us have had to do, to survive when we are laid off, we would see them for the shallow spongers that they are. The bonfire of the quangos will never happen while we have an unrepresentative Westminister, they are all in it together and thankfully we are outside and selecting good positions with excellent fields of fire.

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      If you burned the quangos, the Guardian would go under very quickly. Mind you it’s heading that way anyway thankfully.

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