"I was recently reading about some people who are currently unemployed and in receipt of more benefit than many full-time workers earn for a full-time job. I must say, in my book that's far more attractive a proposition for getting below the minimum wage for doing a shitty job!
Now, given the parlous state of the economy and the lack of work which pays above the minimum-wage level, I don't blame anyone who finds themselves unemployed through no fault of their own. However, I do blame the Government past and present for allowing any able-bodied person to receive unemployment benefit without being required to do some community work in return for at least three days labour in every five-day working week.
Fifty years ago, I arrived in Toronto, Canada in the bleak of winter. I was amazed to see how many men there were clearing the snow off the roads and highways during a time of high snow drifts in temperatures of minus 20 degrees. I later learned that over half of the workers were those who were claiming unemployment benefit and who were giving their time in repayment of government benefits; not voluntarily I would add, but nevertheless ungrudgingly! These benefit claimants worked alongside and among the regular government salaried road-maintenance workers and all wore the same indistinguishable uniforms. At the time, the Canadian Government argued that 'Nobody of able-bodied means gets anything in return for doing nothing!' I also recall that the Canadian philosophy of the time believed that maintaining the work ethos of a man enabled one to maintain self-respect.
Just think about all those Government/Local Government jobs that go undone due to lack of finance. Indeed, the entire able-bodied and currently unemployed workforce could be gainfully employed filling in millions of potholes in our roads and renovating hundreds of thousands of abandoned housing stock; all under the supervision of paid council employees of course. And if there were any left, they could also visit the infirm and elderly who no longer receive anything more than a flying visit from their council carers daily lasting twenty minutes maximum.
Of course, many will no doubt think that such an idea is not as preferable to funding more paid workers in our Government Services (from money we are told we do not have), and the trade unions would no doubt have something to say about it and start an up cry of 'slave labour'. I'd certainly try out the Canadian model on all able-bodied unemployed who have no chance of getting a job in the current economic climate.
What a marvellous idea! I reckon that we could do with a dose of that rationale in our country today; don't you? 'Hey mate, don't drop your litter around here. It's not a circus! Get it bagged!'" William Forde: March 23rd, 2018