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On your bus, IDS!
WORK AND Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) wants to blame the "feckless" unemployed for mass unemployment in the south Wales valleys. He claims Merthyr is an example of a place where people had become "static" and didn't know that if they got on the bus they'd be in Cardiff an hour later and could look for work there.
Dave Reid, Cardiff
Maybe IDS should look a bit closer to home when calling on Merthyr's unemployed to "get on the bus" to look for work. Why not ask Tory MP Alun Cairns why he never caught the Cardiff bus when, as a member of the Welsh Assembly, he claimed thousands of pounds for a second home in Cardiff while living 30 miles away near Bridgend, about the same distance as Merthyr from Cardiff?
Or how about members of his cabinet who are London MPs but claimed they needed expenses for a second home in Westminster for parliament's late night sittings? Couldn't they have caught a night bus home?
Leaving aside the £25 a week in bus fares to be taken off the minimum wage available in Cardiff, it just isn't possible for people to find jobs in Cardiff.
According to the PCS union there are nine Cardiff unemployed chasing every job in Cardiff. In Merthyr there are 1,670 unemployed people and 39 job vacancies, all temporary and part-time. In Merthyr and neighbouring Blaenau Gwent there are more unemployed than there are job vacancies in all of Wales! And this is before 35,000 public sector jobs are cut in Wales by Duncan Smith's government.
This "on your bus" remark is reminiscent of Norman Tebbit's "on your bike" in the 1980s, but also of the authorities' attitude in the 1930s Depression when the unemployed were blamed for not travelling to look for work.
Stand by for more lectures to the unemployed and public sector workers while MPs pretend the banking crisis and their own expenses scandal never happened.
In The Socialist 27 October 2010:
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news