Every now and then you see something that is so blatantly absurd yet seems to be treated as if it was completely rational.
What was blatantly absurd the other day was a report on claimants for long term sickness benefit. OK, maybe it was not the report itself but the discussion on the implications.
Quote: “It is estimated the changes would send 20% of those off sick back to work.”
If only it were that simple to find jobs!
In the UK, those who are claiming long term disability benefits are overseen by their GPs, their doctors. The reporting on the BBC talked about how the doctors were going to be ‘stripped’ of these powers.
Often the first sign that you are going to be heading for something nonsensical is when rather sensationalist language is being used. Now I doubt there are a lot of doctors out there who would be in shock and horror at seeing these powers being ‘stripped’ away from them. Indeed, they might well welcome the chance to do a bit more doctoring and a bit less social welfare work.
The next bit of nonsense was the claim that by passing this work onto other people a large number of people would lose that long term benefit claim and be put back into work.
I heard no mention of the parallel and just as important piece of information which is that millions of people who claim no disability cannot find work. Making more people available for work does not lead to more jobs, not when there are more people seeking work than jobs available, in large numbers.
I am not disputing that people getting back to work are not going to have a healthier life, what is in dispute is that somehow this is reducing the jobless total. I suppose it will in that it will create a new set of people employed by Government who will carry out this new assessment of the long term sick, but jobs have been cut because budgets have been cut, so it is nonsense from that direction also to create: “a new government backed job-brokering service”
Employment is a complex, collaborative slow to change system, and anyone looking for quick fixes is on the wrong path.
So Mr Advisor to The President, or in this case Prime Minister. Take more care about the reality of any message, keep away from appearance of substance when there is little there of substance, or our dear Emperor, or in this case Mr Cameron, will be seen to have no clothes.