Oh dear… I was hoping to start 2013 with a slightly less controversial subject than this.
New Year’s resolution 1: be more forgiving and tolerant
New Year’s resolution 2: not let things wind me up when I am forced to be more forgiving and tolerant
So, let’s get back to the Muppet Show aka parliament.
It’s suddenly (re)dawned on me that I really, really dislike politics and politicians, mostly because they are so divorced from what Enterprise Britain needs and wants, what’s going on in the market place and where they could actually help.
Okay, that’s in general terms. Let me give you some specifics. Balls by name and Balls by nature… Labour’s plan to give everyone who has been unemployed initially for two years a guaranteed 6 months in work and if they refuse; horror of horrors, they get their benefits cut.
Now, don’t get me wrong: as a principle I don’t mind that at all. What I really object to is the idiot politician floating the idea not really believing in the policy but using it to score political points because he knows that a) it’s going to be at least two and a half years before he’ll be in power and b) it’s a throw away statement designed to grab a few headlines.
It annoys me on another level, too. The eejit is looking at the problem from the wrong angle. There is absolutely no point guaranteeing someone a job for six months if it’s a makey up job. In other words, the job is only there to give an unemployed person something to do.
The job has to be real and with the real prospect of turning into something more permanent at the end of the initial period.
I can tell you what will happen if there are a bunch of made up jobs: the government will outsource the administration of the scheme to a huge business who will cream off shed loads of money to employ the long term unemployed (at minimum wage) to clean graffiti off walls and then return them to unemployment at the end of the period.
However, I do have one thing to thank this particular episode for. It’s helped me crystallise what I believe the role of government should be: small.
Control and administer a regulatory framework, commission and manage infrastructure and butt out.
There are so many other issues I have with politicians and Enterprise Britain that I’m just going to have to save them for future blogs… just so I can get the right level of outrage.