Friday, 6 July 2007

Grateful Gordon

I suppose Gordon Brown is aware that people might see him as having extensive capability into every branch of government, and being the only person really in charge. So far, then, he has tackled that by two things. One is his manner in the House of Commons, which genuinely does seem to answer people positively from all around the benches rather than just his own side. Also he seems matter of fact. His performance in Prime Minister's Questions, where he said he was only in the job four or five days, reminded me of a school teacher who had prepared a lesson but was not on top of it, so that a clever pupil catches the teacher out. Two possibilities here: bluff or admit. The problem with bluffing is that it is obvious even if it is an authority game. Blair the lawyer would have bluffed, gone into attack and repeated mantras. Blair, though, would first have been on top of his brief, and that is the real necessity. So no, it was not a "score draw" at all, according to spinners, but it was better to admit as he did.

Meanwhile he really does have to tackle the welfare to work system, if they want to call it this. It is not appropriate to go into personal details here, but separation of functions is leading to greater incompetence not efficiency, and staff cutbacks underline this. Because official complaints probably go nowhere, it is important to point out what is going wrong higher up in the representative system. I also suggest (as in an earlier entry here) what could be done to put it right. If the government is serious about tackling unemployment from a client-side point of view, then it must overhaul it into a case worker based system and turn Job Centres into the equivalent of Employment Agencies. They should facilitate looking for work, not try and process statistics.

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