A few observations on the increasingly inexplicable and comedic jargon smattering the government’s proposals, including their newest term: “Welfare Dependency”
After an extended hiatus in which I have been, quite frankly, neglecting all responsible aspects of my life pretty fantastically, I have decided to return and attempt to pick up the pieces of my decimated writerly ambitions and get the hell on with it.
Currently residing in Prague (where normality, dignity and sanity go to die, apparently), I have been living a wonderful existence that leaves me fairly well absconded from reality, especially the reality of world-impacting news. The most influential things that happen to me from day to day are whether I have a hangover or not. I wish this was a joke.
My time in Prague may or may not, for various reasons, be coming to an end. And so I thought a timely place to re-start these observations of mine would be in the job crisis that seems to have continued as insistently as ever during my absence, and the emerging ramifications of its ongoing existence.
Woefully, it seems that the gov’t. are finally preparing to crack down on benefit claims. If I’m honest I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this: I have to admit, head hung suitably shamed, that I was rather hoping to get back and make the most of the entitlement while I could.
It appears there are two sides to the media’s argument, and both are determined by their take on some comments made by the Archbishop of Canturbury, apparently.
The BBC’s hesitant take on the subject posits the Archbishop’s comments as somewhat harsh and extreme; while The Guardian takes a more substantiated and opinionated view with their headline suggesting that the decision has already been made, reporting that “the unemployed will be ordered to do periods of compulsory full-time work in the community or be stripped of their benefits under controversial American-style plans to slash the number of people without jobs.”
However, rather than join everyone else in obsessing and analysing all the figures being pumped into the articles, I want to focus on what actually drew my attention. And that is how frustratingly these measures are being both talked about and reported:
A picture speaks a thousand words:
The BBC report shows a picture of Ian Duncan Smith waggling his finger at the camera like telling off a naughty child. And isn’t this how the view of benefits and those who claim them has come to be seen in the media? The new label for the situation emulates this idea: “Welfare Dependency” makes it sound like we are dealing with junkies. All-in-all, it’s certainly not the most flattering of portraits.
I understand the economical ramifications of the situation, but the social ones must surely be taken into account too; I’m so tired of hearing how “our taxes pay their wages”. The whole situation smacks of blustering theatrics on the part of New Labour journalists who have nothing to do but talk about it. Is it any wonder that the working-class of Britain is rapidly losing its identity? What future identity is there for a Britain that is not made up of middle-class media-mogules?
Of course I am aware that I have only spoken about two – fairly similar – reporting platforms, so there is bound to be a trend in the way the issues are dealt with, but my point extends beyond the media, which has become – to my mind – a microcosm of a much larger issue: what the hell is anyone really talking about, anyway?!
As the Daily Mail publishes reports that no one understands all the new terms floating about, I got to thinking: what bullshit it all is. It’s like The National Curriculum for a Nation and we all know it, yet we all follow it. Phrases such as “welfare dependency” are just jargon fluff that leave us all confused enough to simply nod and agree dumbly, conjuring up bewildering images not unlike Armando Ianucci’s creations in The Thick of It:
“Haha! What can we call THIS one Cleggsy?”
“Hmmm it’s a dificult one Cammy old boy: we need to make it catchy but not too frothy or they’ll cotton on to us. Let’s keep it a private joke. Ohmygod! Do you remember that time I said…”
I can’t say I’m much looking forward to coming home.