Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/714/14360
Clegg's text message plans make us LOL!
Unemployment continues to plague austerity Britain. Over 2.6 million people are out of work. And we're disproportionately aged under 25.
As a young actor I feel the pinch in three ways. Swingeing public sector cuts and the syphoning of resources into the Olympic budget have decimated arts jobs.
The retraction of the much-vaunted private sector has battered me down to part-time hours in my day job.
And the ongoing attacks on benefits mean I currently get nothing from the state.
I can't rely on getting the next gig because the competition is so great. Acting work is mostly short and poorly paid in any case.
I can't increase my day job hours because there's not enough work to go round. And I can't resign my day job to simplify my Jobseeker's Allowance claim because I'd lose benefits.
What is Liberal leader Nick Clegg's response? £1 billion to send young jobseekers text messages.
Don't make me LOL.
The coalition's "youth contract" scheme aims to solve youth unemployment by giving "extra support". Instead of fortnightly interviews we will get help once a week. Department for Work and Pensions documents explain this to mean "interviews, SMS texts, emails, phone calls, group sessions".
But candidates outnumber vacancies five to one nationally going up to 20 to one in some areas. No amount of "extra support" will squeeze us all in.
So what have Labour got to say? Shadow work minister Liam Byrne leads the charge!
"We need a Real Jobs Guarantee" - too right! "...paid for by a tax on bankers› bonuses" - keep it coming! "...that would guarantee a proper job for 110,000 young people" - oh, and he was doing so well.
Byrne is right to say we need to create jobs. But the number he gives is spitting in the river.
An ambitious programme of public works would solve unemployment. At the same time it would raise living standards for millions.
Decent benefits for all, including part-time workers, would leave jobseekers the time and energy to contribute to society and find proper work.
Yes, let's fund it with bankers' bonuses. And while we're at it let's take the banks off them too. Nationalised under democratic workers' control, imagine what good work we could do with their wasted billions.
We could end unemployment permanently. We could fund the cultural life of the nation for everyone, not just the wealthy few. And if there's 10p to spare in the plenty, we could even drop a text to Clegg.
"Hi Nick, we hear u r out of a job. Perhaps this txt will help. LOL."
In The Socialist 18 April 2012:
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