On Radio 4's Today programme this morning, a reporter shadowed Iain Duncan Smith, the Employment Minister, as he visited a Job Centre trying to help the long-term unemployed. He talked to several very highly-skilled and articulate unemployed people.
IDS: 'if you've grown up and become conditioned - say in a workless household - to people not being in work, the whole concept of work becomes alien…'
Right, it's their fault they don't have jobs. Just as a reminder, here are some statistics for the minister:
Job vacancies: 500,000 (as IDS acknowledges)
At the Job Centre he visited, there are 6000 unemployed people and 250 vacancies, so he can't pretend this disparity exists.
But according to Duncan-Smith, unemployment is a state of mind. This is exactly what's wrong with Tory politics: even in the face of solid evidence, they'd rather tell the voters that there's a massive pool of workshy loafers out there, sucking away your taxes. Certainly there are a few, and there's a group of unemployable people out there - but the idea that anyone out of work is simply lazy or 'conditioned' to sit on the dole is laughable - but it fits an ideological agenda.