Reality Bites

Gimme Gimme Gimme

With Birkbeck, my college, sharing a campus with SOAS I came across quite a few left wingers in my time there. I often wondered how they’d react when uni ended and the dead kipper of reality smacked them round the chops.

One of the noisiest lefties on campus is now finding out. Quite frankly, her Facebook page has been bloody hilarious lately. Last Wednesday saw this outburst

“seriously WTF guardian jobs? why are the only ‘graduate jobs’ all based in the City and if I want a job for the fucking public sector there is shit all?”

When asked what sort of job she was looking for she replied

“anything that I could do without selling my soul. All my experience is in the SU, NUS Women’s Committee, etc, so trade union or other public sector stuff is looking most promising atm. I’d love to work part-time too really so I can spend the other half of the week doing stuff for Counterfire’s website..”

Counterfire, I ought to explain in case you are not one of the half a dozen people who is aware of its existence, is a wacky Marxist website run by people who left the SWP after a falling out.

All very revealing. This girl, I’ll call her Rosa, wants a job in the public sector which will give her time to pursue her political interestes. Who can blame her? But we’ve had far too many jobs like that for far too long. The gravy train has hit the buffers. There really is “shit all” out there in terms of stupid, overpaid, underworked, public sector non jobs. And a good thing too.

The real world just won’t cease its cold shower of piss on Rosa’s dreams of being a taxpayer funded revolutionary. Yesterday saw this

“what the hell?! just looking at jobseekers allowance and the most you can get if you’re under 25 is £53.45!!! so if you live in zone 3 which is probably the closest to central you could afford on housing benefit then after £30 a week for a travelcard and £10-15 for food shopping that leaves under £10 to actually have a life with! this government actually makes me sick”

Notice the throaway reference to Housing Benefit, another handout from the taxpayer this poor, oppressed girl has to get by on?

When it was pointed out to Rosa that the point of benefits was to keep you going until you found another job and not to keep you in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed for as long as you like, she exploded

“Eoghain, that’s probably the most sanctimonious thing I’ve ever heard to be fair. Are you seriously saying it’s fair that people looking for jobs that, uh, DON’T EXIST in a recession should be punished by essentially having to be locked in their house because they can’t even afford to go to the fucking cinema or take their kids out for a milkshake on the money they have left over, let alone buy a pint? I haven’t even started applying for it, I’m just shocked that that’s the amount available”

Well, I’d agree with Eoghain, the point of the JSA is not to make sure you can keep paying for cinema tickets, milkshakes and pints and the fact that she is “shocked” by all this and finds it “sanctimonius” suggests that her university education has left her woefully unprepared for the real world.

Rosa wasn’t finished

“Okay, Eoghain I’m not presuming to know everything about your situation. But when I was waiting tables I found it stressful, physically exhausting, and massively time-consuming as on an average salary of £5.65 an hour it was difficult just to pay the rent without working til 2 in the morning sometimes. I wonder how much time that would leave me to search extensively for decent jobs, let alone go to the fucking interviews for them. I’m really sick of the idea that poor people aren’t allowed to have fun – it smacks of the argument over EMA, where people justified its removal by saying ‘shock horror! sometimes kids spend some of the money on booze or fags!’ never mind the fact that their richer clasmates are spending £40 a week on ketamine…I don’t think it’s selfish to say that the state shouldn’t punish people for not having a job that literally doesn’t exist. And I don’t think it’s wrong to want to claim JSA whilst looking for work that is suitable to my level of education funnily enough.”

Its difficult to know where to start here. I got EMA when I was doing my A levels. Except I had to go to a Pizza Hut and work for it and they called it wages. Its hard work but thats life. You have to do something for your money, Rosa, it is clear, doesn’t fancy this and would rather it was handed to her.

As for the idea that “poor people aren’t allowed to have fun” I don’t know anyone who has suggested that. What has been suggested, quite rightly, is that the taxpayer shouldnt foot the bill for it. What does rich kids taking Ketamine have to do with it? Are poor kids that cant afford K being discriminated against?

Finally Rosa says “I don’t think it’s wrong to want to claim JSA whilst looking for work that is suitable to my level of education funnily enough”. Given that one of her exams was on ‘Gender, Sex and Identity in Africa 1800-2000’, she might be in for a long wait.


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