Monday, November 8, 2010

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Voluntary Work is Compulsory.

I'm really pleased to see Caron Lindsay state so forcefully that in her view Liberal Democrat MPs should vote down 'compulsory community service for the unemployed' - which, incidentally, I also think is a very fair characterisation of what is apparently being proposed. I suppose some might quibble that, in contrast to community service, the unemployed will have the option of not doing the work and simply losing their benefit - but if that benefit is all that's keeping them fed, it's a rather meaningless distinction. Nevertheless, Political Betting's Mike Smithson had his own name for the proposals last night (and, no, I don't think there was any irony intended) -

"compulsory voluntary work for job-seekers"

Orwell would have had a field day. It's a timely illustration of how pernicious these ideologically-loaded terms are that someone could ever unthinkingly put together such a phrase.

1 comment:

  1. The last time this was tried (in two areas, in 1997, by the Tories), the public service unions refused to allow councils to use free labour to do jobs that their members could do, and most of the charities demanded criminal records checks and thus excluded a large percentage of the "participants".

    One of the things I find particularly distasteful is that the likelihood is that many unemployed people will find themselves doing the same sort of tasks as people who have been sentenced to community service by courts.

    The message this sends out is "unemployed" = "criminal".

    This is not a good way to run The Big Society.

    I agree George Orwell would be wondering how he missed that one. As the song goes: Big Brother est déjà parmi nous.