Sunday, February 17

Iain Duncan Smith - blunderman

The arrogance and blunderisation of politicians continues as Iain Duncan Smith firmly places his foot in his mouth. On a day that is being used by the government to attack the judiciary, Duncan Smiths comments are the second attack of the day.

On the BBC today he places supermarket shelf stacking higher than geology.

Some facts Iain Duncan Smith should be made aware of:

The issue he raises are a red herring. The problem is that successive politicians and business folks have torn apart the industries and job sectors that once provided intelligent and creative people with productive jobs. Graduate engineers, scientists and such like have no choice but to work in retail warehouses and supermarkets. That is the problem. Something that Iain Duncan Smith and the other ideologists fail or care to understand.

He comments that Ms Reilly was paid jobseekers allowance for the unpaid work at Poundland. Maybe, but then that means the government subsidised Poundlands workforce!
Yes, it's easy to demonise one side of the equation (jobseekers), but that ignores the wrongs and problems of the other side. In any case doesn't Poundland exist because people on benefits, jobseekers, those with disabilities can't afford other places? Yes it's all very circular and Duncan Smith is not telling the full story.

He then goes on to compare the importance of keeping supermarket shelves stacked (with horsemeat?) with the work of a geologist (unfortunately many geologists work in the fossil fuel industry, which supermarkets are highly dependent on!). Well again this highlights a complete lack of understanding of the situation, in a week when supermarkets are headline news and the government have serious problems with high streets closing down. Effectively he is saying supermarkets are cool and they are fully endorsed by the government.

Possibly the biggest mistake that he then makes is to use Terry Leahy as a positive example.

Lets look at the comparison...
  1. A person decides to do a degree in geology because that is what she/he would like to do as a career and what their education proves they are capable of doing. So they do the degree and then when finished end up on jobseekers allowance. They then have to work in a supermarket because there isn't anything else to do.
  2. Terry Leahy gets some work in a supermarket. He then applies to do a degree in Management Sciences and successfully completes it. He applies to do a management job at Tescos, but fails to get the job. Later he applies again and gets a job as an EXECUTIVE!
Clearly the two scenarios are completely different. In case 1. the person isn't doing any work related to their degree, where as in case 2. the person is doing what they started out doing before they started their degree! The degree was even related to getting a job in a supermarket.

The comparison also ignores the fact that Leahy and I both had the fortune of living in times when we could get jobs in the career WE chose. If you did a degree in engineering in the 1970s, 9 times out of 10 you got a job in engineering afterwards, unlike today when it is highly probable that you will end up stacking shelves.

Lastly, earlier this month Leahy commented that the demise of small shops was 'part of progress' which I guess isn't surprising for someone that has been married to Tescos all their life. Some of us have more imagination.

Iain Duncan Smith on BBC
Terry Leahy on Channel 4


9 May - Iain Duncan Smith critised by the UK Statistics Authority

No comments: