Sunday, 17 February 2013

Not a sweeping claim of no substance whatsoever based on his own particular prejudice, or anything like that...

Spotted by Bob E at the BBC:

The work and pensions secretary has criticised people "who think they're too good" to stack supermarket shelves on back-to-work government schemes(1). On the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Iain Duncan Smith suggested that many "smart people" overlooked the importance of effective shelf-stacking.

A geology graduate recently won a legal victory over the back-to-work scheme... Commenting further on the case, Mr Duncan Smith said: "I understand she said she wasn't paid. She was paid jobseeker's allowance, by the taxpayer, to do this. I'm sorry, but there is a group of people out there who think they're too good for this kind of stuff. Let me remind you that [former Tesco chief executive] Terry Leahy started his life stacking shelves."(2)

... Mr Duncan Smith argued that "most young people love" their work experience placements.(3)

1) It is a verifiable fact that neither the number of shelf-stacking jobs available to non-work programme participants nor the wages offered was in any way reduced.

2) Ahem. No disrespect to Terry Leahy, but as his Wiki entry makes clear:

He began working (including a job stacking shelves at Tesco) and went on to study at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) where he gained his BSc (Hons) in Management Sciences and graduated in 1977.

Following his then girlfriend to London, he applied to become a product manager for Turkey Foil but was turned down. He applied for a job at Tesco, but lost out to another candidate. After that candidate was quickly reassigned upwards, Leahy returned to Tesco in 1979 as a marketing executive.

So the relevant BSc is what helped him get on in life; it just happens that one of the fill-in jobs he did before he went to university (or possibly it was a polytechnic back then) was at Tesco.

3) Great. As long as the number of "most young people" is greater than the number of all those additional jobs exclusively created for and offered to work programme participants, what's the problem? Why foist such a job on somebody who doesn't want it rather than offer it to one of the grateful thousands who do?


Bayard said...

"Mr Duncan Smith warned against assuming that geology was more important than supermarket work"

Of course, what nobody actually pointed out to Idiot Duncan Smith was that the geology graduate was stopped from doing one sort of unpaid work (volunteering in a local museum) and forced to do another unpaid job (working for Poundland). I would like to hear IDS explain how unpaid work at Poundland is more important that unpaid work at a local museum.

Of course what this boils down to is the yearning of those who dole out state charity for the recipients to be both miserable (can't be having fun at the public expense) and pathetically grateful, when in reality most are happy ingrates.

Richard said...

Our eminent chancellor himself worked re-folding towels in Selfridges. Perhaps, Selfridges would like to take him back if the towel section is getting untidy.