Today's "Bleeding Obvious Report" (BORe) comes from The Prince's Trust as reported in CHRISTIAN TODAY:

Unemployment is leading to an increase in mental health problems such as depression, panic attacks and self loathing among young people. The Prince’s Trust’s new Macquarie Youth Index reveals that just under half of young people not in work (48%) say that unemployment has caused problems like self harm and insomnia. It found they were more likely to self harm or suffer panic attacks 12 months into unemployment. The index reveals that 16% - or one in six young people – have found unemployment as stressful as family breakdown, while 12% say they have suffered from nightmares as a result of their joblessness.

The findings are based on the responses of more than 2,000 unemployed 16 to 25-year-old NEETs (an acronym for those ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’).

COMMENT: Making somebody redundant is more aggressive and damaging than punching them in the face. It is an attack on the person which almost always results in long term psychological and physical damage to the person removed from employment.

It would be unreasonable and unworkable to make the sacking of somebody a criminal offence of the gravity that the harm caused should merit. But, it would not be unreasonable or unworkable for society, especially the government and employers, to take on board the reality of the harm caused by depriving a person of employment and, at the very least, relate to the unemployed as victims of an aggressive act against their person, and to show them the respect and concern that is (should be) shown to victims of violent crime.

For a start, the welfare agencies in the UK, which are controlled by our government, should stop treating their clients like scum. At the jobcentre I attend, even though they may keep you waiting for hours, they will not allow you to use their toilet facilities. Once recently, I had to stop an interview half way through and walk half a mile to the nearest public convenience before returning to the jobcentre to complete the interview. I assume the reason for this obscene attitude is because they believe that ALL unemployed people will crank up in the loos, but that simply ain't the truth in reality. Also, the interviews at jobcentres are inquisitorial with the client having to prove that they have been looking for work, with fines being imposed if the interviewer is suspicious that they haven't. Of course, a very small proportion of jobseekers will be swinging the lead, but that doesn't mean that we should all be treated as potential criminals. It's like arresting everybody who walks into a retail store for shoplifting.

Secondly, employers should be held more accountable for their actions and, if the need for redundancy is down to the actions of management, then management, not the powerless workers, should be punished. Having to make people redundant because of the incompetence of senior staff should be regarded as being of the same type as criminal negligence. Employers should be licensed and if they are proved unable to look after their workforce then they should have that license to employ taken away from them. This would bring the concept of "actions have consequences" home to those cold-hearted sociopaths who see redundancy notices as nothing more than a way of sweeping a problem of their own making under the carpet.

Thirdly, the state should pay unemployed people, at the very least, the minimum wage based on a forty hour week and the unemployed should be given an honoured place in their communities. If it wasn't for the unemployed, high-earners would not be in such well-paid jobs. Every time a fat cat takes out his or her wallet they should think on this and give those responsible for their comfortable life the respect due to them.


YOU THINK? — 19 Comments

  1. So that’s where it all comes from. As a school-leaver during the reign of the Sith Thatcher, it must have been that trauma that makes me the way I am today.

  2. Knowing you, as I do, I have a feeling that there might have been some underlying craziness that was exasperated by the Iron Lady (see Old MadPriest’s predictions for 2011). It’s a nature v. nurture sort of thing.

  3. Having spent three years on the dole during Thatcher’s reign your post does make me wonder if I have grounds to sue.

    Mr MadPriest, perhaps a change of career into politics might be on the cards!

  4. My son lost his job two weeks after his son was born, when the bank he worked for went bust, and he was out of work for 8 months. I don’t think he’s ever got over it, or ever felt secure in his job, although it happened 18 years ago.

    When the people in the job center would not let you use the loo, you should have peed or pooped in the office.

  5. you should have peed or pooped in the office

    Aargh! No way!

    I’ve lost everything but my Englishness.

    You can retitle my latest cartoon, “For Ellie and for Mimi’s Son” if you like.

  6. Thanks. I’d post the cartoon with the new title, but my son reads my blog from time to time to check up on his crazy old mother, and I would not want to reopen the old wound.

  7. I’ve known of three men in my life, my father, my uncle, and a friend’s husband who were all conveniently sacked in their late 50’s just before they would qualify for a pension (pensions being something that our jobs used to provide us but no longer). All three of them took severe blows to their senses of self and it took years for them to recover.

  8. I really appreciate the comments here – AND the original post. I’ve had people suggest to me that I shouldn’t have suffered over losing my diocesan employment. Some have said, “It’s just a job.” Others have even claimed that there was something wrong with my relationship with Christ. (Not because I lost the job but because I experienced pain and anxiety while going through it all.)

    Yesterday, I went to a funeral and (quite unintentionally) ended up in the pew right in front of my former vicar and his wife. They both insisted on hugging me at the peace which I accepted graciously (at least I tried to) but which was very difficult for me and the whole occasion triggered a lot of pain. Said vicar had completely distanced himself from me as soon as he realized that the bishop was going to dump me. I felt truly abandonned because the vicar and I had been friends for many years before that – even before I started helping out with his mission congregation.

  9. Ha! I’m quite sure he hasn’t.

    Well, the distancing might be a sign of a guilty conscience. Sometimes that sort of thing can happen because people don’t want to get contaminated, as it were, through association with the one who has been thrown under the bus. There are only three members of the clergy these days who will have anything to do with me and two of them are permanent deacons. The one priest has been horribly mistreated by the bishop himself.

    It’s all very sad.

    I do pray for this bishop, you know. I make myself.

  10. Rather than being paid MORE money for sacking people, CEO’s and their highly paid underlings should be paid bonuses ONLY on the basis of actually increasing the company’s employment base (along with increasing the company’s profit). How about we see them do THAT for a BONUS! I would applaud.

    Before workers are sacked, instead of sacking them, their salaries should be found by taking the money OUT of the CEO’s payment package. That might motivate the CEO’s in the right direction.

    The CEO’S salaries and BONUSES would pay for an awful lot of lower paid workers.

    Bonus payment for ANY performance criteria that are based on reducing the number of emlpoyees in a company should be against the law. Otherwise there is a direct incentive for CEO’s and senior managment to attack and maul and then spit out their fellow citizens.

    Only REAL, socially approved, achievements should be rewarded with bonuses.

  11. Yes, Boaz; those are wonderful ideas.

    In my humble opinion, the law needs to be changed. In the US, at least, companies have a primary fiduciary obligation to the stock holder – that is, if they DON’T put the bottom line first, they’re actually breaking the law. That’s my understanding, at any rate.

    There’s something really wrong there.

  12. Ellie,

    It is true that the primary responsibility is to the stock holders. The answer to this however is to make the workers stockholders. I did a study in business school on the behavior of companies. Those with substantial employee ownership tend to avoid the over paid CEO problem, have policies that avoid layoffs (redundancies) and provide much better benefit and salary packaged for most of their workers.

    There is a fix there if we want it. But the fat cat executives do not.


  13. I would guess that in most cases if it has got to the point of having to lay people off then the management has already let the stockholders down big time through their own incompetency. The recent banking fiasco is a prime example of this.

  14. Sorry, I’m not down on “young people” – but, don’t you count as a “person” after you stop being young? Or, is it only the “young people” who count as people to the onesdoing the deciding for the public as to who counts?