Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest

Tanya Gold brings the fisk to A4E:

Why does this feel so dodgy? I called Harrison’s PR and asked her what will happen if there are no jobs. What then? “Emma believes there are jobs,” she replied. “There are hidden jobs.” Oh yes, those hidden jobs, buried under trees and lying at the end of rainbows. All the unemployed need is the imagination to see the invisible, and maybe a magic shovel and a friendly elf to hug them on the way to Mordor. So a slab of government policy is being handed to a woman who is in denial about the scale and cause of joblessness. The statistics are nowhere in the Working Families Everywhere material. There are 2.49 million people unemployed today in the UK.

So your assignment for today is to start reading the A4E Blog. I especially like the distinction between a “social enterprise” – a Blairite upsexing of what used to be called a charity and then became an NGO – and a “social purpose” company, which appears to mean a company whose social purpose is to buy its directors a very big house in the country.

The Coalition seems to have veered away from its brief enthusiasm for Big Issue founder John Bird, who briefly looked like he might make a comeback in public life. Birdy, infamously, moved to Los Angeles with his then girlfriend and alleged substance issues in order to pursue more ventures with the Big Issue’s funds (sample: The Bag Issue, a bag with messages about the homeless printed on it) until the funds ran out and the paper’s northern edition, which was a separate legal entity, had to bail out the national movement.

However, this didn’t stop Boris Johnson running through a string of similar types as mayor of London or the national Tories falling in love with A4E, which is arguably a far more pernicious and unpleasant phenomenon, having converted itself into a purely profit-oriented entity. Back in the day it was called Action for Employment, and was a grassroots charity based in Sheffield. A certain amount of scepticism might be in order, seeing as Sheffield is still one of the most unemployment-hit areas of the country after 25 years of the treatment.

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