Well what goes around comes around. It doesn’t seem all that long since Norman Tebbitt famously told the unemployed to ‘Get on your bike’ and look for work. And as the entire workforce of Woolworths – and many others – face the dole queue two weeks before Christmas, the government chooses to take a major initiative about getting the long-term unemployed back to work.
I suppose it’s an easy political target in tough times and a view that many of us would share. I’ve visited many a household in my time where a smart shove on the back of the bike wouldn’t come amiss. But several generations of unemployment … multiple deprivation .. poor diet, health and lifestyle … dependency culture. It will take a lot more than the kind of government initiative which is being planned to shift all that.
And, to be honest, as I worked my way round the more depressed areas of housing in my parish, I gradually came to the conclusion that government had decided that there was an irreducable minimum of long term unemployment which society could afford to carry with it. But maybe not. We shall see.
The other interesting theme of today is assisted suicide. But that awaits tomorrow’s Thought for the Day.