So it was yesterday with the tweet ‘There are 450,000 fewer workless households since 2010 – more families with more financial security. Our
#LongTermEconomicPlan is working.’ Just to quickly deconstruct this bollocks,
1. According to the data, there are indeed that many fewer households described as ‘workless’. But to remake the same point yet again, this DWP research is not an audit: it is a self-completion survey, and on such a sensitive issue as being jobless, it will almost certainly understate the real level of the problem.
2. There is a thing called the cohort effect that’s been talked about for years in relation to such studies. An ONS release of August 18th last year refers, pointing out that there are myriad reasons why, at times, the workless home numbers will fall: by no means all of them are economic. It shows, for example. that 65% of these ‘workless’ households have only one parent in them…a reflection of both social and economic issues the Coalition is not addressing at all.
3. The DWP’s statistical output paper itself points out very clearly at 4.7, ‘Monitoring children in workless households may result in a focus on only whether their parents are working or workless, with little attention on other factors such as their earnings levels or the quality of their employment.’ Hold that thought.
4. Now all senior Ministers connected to the main socio-economic departments know perfectly well what is happening to the structure of employment in the UK. That is, security, hours worked, and pay levels are all falling. Osborne insists that real pay is rising but this is because (a) we now use his own bent inflation monitor – which fell off a reality cliff after 2011; and (b) most of the salary rises are at the lower end of the pay scale. If the workforce is feeling flush, than Aldi and Lidl will not see massive gains in market share….and thousands won’t queue for a job paying three-fifths of naff-all at Aldi. That’s common sense, but it’s not on the syllabus at Eton. There’s nothing common about Eton. It’s for special people who don’t like the Common People, you see.
5. This is the killer nail for Cameron’s tweet: ‘more families with more financial security’ is a lie, pure and simple: if put on the spot, the ONS and the DWP would have to admit it: those families have jobs with almost no security and rock-bottom wage levels offering them (as IDS’s own studies show) less hours of weekly work than they would like to have. But nobody in the Labour leadership is putting the Establishment on the spot. They’re part of it, for crying out loud.
Ed Balls is a Harvard Graduate and this kind of grist is supposed to be right up his boulevard. He did not counter this tweet at any point or on any level yesterday. This was Ed’s last tweet two days ago:
I sometimes have this vision of the Eds sitting on the sofa of a Saturday night, watching wannabe celebrity crap and then shooting the breeze about whether Mylene Klass is better than Cheryl Cole. They are of course patronisingly cuddling up to what they perceive to be their target audience by tweeting about such drivel, but it’s the very fact of them being rendered braindead by ratings-driven media content that has depoliticised the natural Labour audience: that convinces them, in fact, that fame and money are all that matters.
The Resistance in Britain needs leaders they can look up to, not plonkers who look down on them. The Resistance in Britain – for me at least – is anyone who questions the madness of neoliberalism, defends the rule of law and equality before it, wants to mutualise key services, opposes Globalism, and above all wants to see the bullies lose and the vulnerable protected.
Today in the Telegraph, lifetime Labour supporter Dan Hodges is making the same sort of point. There is a key paragraph in the piece:
‘When John Mann and his colleagues ask Miliband to solve his “presentational” problem they are asking him to do the impossible. People have made up their minds about Ed Miliband; they will not be revising their opinion in the 13 or so months before polling day.’
I agree entirely, I’m afraid. It is the very decency of many in the Labour movement that has ensured, in over a century of the existence of the PLP, that no leader has ever been fired. I think both the Eds should be fired, but then I think Labour as a Party has the wrong instincts these days: there are still too many of Blair’s empty children in it, and far too many of Brown’s humourless spawn as well. The vulnerable in Britain do not need an odd mélange of media-triained pc management jargon and dat ol’ time religion. They need a Party looking for a future in which the bastards haven’t won.