There has been much talk of jobs recently. You might have noticed a funny little man bobbing up and down across your news bulletins pontificating in medieval English about “the honour bestoweth upon me”, his every sound and deed pure affectation. This is John Bercow and he is the new Speaker. He is possibly the first man in history to get a job because he was universally hated by his electorate. Hated because of a notable absence of any political integrity throughout his career (him and the rest, you might cry) and a disturbing ability to get exactly what he has always wanted. Bercow has plotted, schemed, brown-nosed and flesh-pressed for over a decade to win the right to sit in the big chair. Come the day he could barely conceal his excitement during the traditional dragging to the chair, as he flew across the house, feet barely touching the ground, to his new seat, where they remained airborne.
Doubtless Bercow is a loathsome creature of some ridiculousness, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to damn a man who simply achieved his aim. I have bigger idiot fish to fry (plus the Tories will oust him so quickly his feet won’t even… etc).
It is interesting that having some career focus is seen in such a negative light by other MPs. They have recently been tackling the perennial problem of their second jobs. Labour’s line of attack is their typically outdated and hypocritical inverted class snobbery veiled with mutterings about conflicts of interest, usually directed at William Hague. The Tories’ traditional argument has always been that a house full of career politicians is a recipe for disaster – just look at the Labour front bench – but David Cameron has announced his Shadow Cabinet will have handed in their P45s to external bosses by the end of the year. This is more of the necessary and skilful damage control we have come to expect from the Tory leader. The balance is just right; the (Shadow) Cabinet can concentrate on the business of governance, the rest of the party can gain some experience elsewhere, as well as dealing with constituents.
If you are one of the 2.26 million unemployed, listening to a bunch of expenses claiming incompetent liars moan about losing their second jobs might seem a bit cold. But don’t worry, for Flash Gordon, the clunking fist, the Iron Chancellor is here, with the panacea for all our ills. Under-25s are to get government-backed jobs if they have been unemployed for a year, and will lose their Job Seekers’ Allowance if they refuse. Hooray! No? No. Nonsense for so many reasons: it probably won’t happen because nothing he announces does; if the jobs aren’t really there it makes no economic sense to create false ones; he’s only creating 150,000 which is a pathetic amount of soil in an enormous hole, and finally; even if it was going to work he’s not going to be in Government to see it through. A much better idea, I think, would have been to save some money when he had it, to have been an Iron Chancellor, to have looked more than five minutes into the future and built a real legacy for himself and an economic platform for my generation. Instead he has created an economic nightmare by putting short-term gain first, making this worst year to graduate since 1989, and now he thinks the solution is government-backed training schemes coupled with a benefit crackdown. His socially and fiscally irresponsible behaviour, once laughable, is now dangerous. He of all people should have known that the science of economics works only in retrospect, but the practice of it does not.
On a lighter note, you may have heard about the Mayor of Doncaster. Unusually for these times he got a job when he least expected it. Always one to buck the trend it seems, Peter Davies of the English Democrats has been warmly welcomed by some Doncastrians for his ‘no-nonsense’ approach. All very well, except for the fact that he is an English Democrat, which naturally entails the terrifying combination of having no idea what you’re talking about whilst mostly talking about gays, Muslims and political correctness. I need do no more than direct you here.