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Thursday, 24 September 2009

Meanwhile, back in the real world, O Mighty Toad

Fresh from his Bono-Hugs at the Let's Reward Failure Oscars SuperToad claims that "international action"- one of those specious, vague phrases he loves - has saved 7 million jobs world wide.

Even viewed through the distorted lens of official statistics this is the square root of fuck all. In tiny Britain alone 4 million people are out of work - without counting a great many more carefully hidden in Whitehall's rococo statistical mazes.

Two current pieces in The Spectator – by Fraser Nelson and Andrew Gilligan – give us a clearer idea of what is going on in the real world. They encapsulate the loony toons policies that are destroying millions of people's lives - and this country's ability to compete

  • If you’re a girl leaving school you have two options: employment or pregnancy. With one child and no job, £207 a week benefit income is more than the average wage for a hairdresser or teaching assistant.
  • With two children, it is £260 a week — more than a receptionist or library assistant earns. With three, it is £324 a week, more than a lab technician, typist or bookkeeper.
  • The Department of Work and Pensions has 14 manuals totalling 8,690 pages explaining its benefits – without including Gordon's almost completely incomprehensible tax credit system.

Nobody at the Department of Work and Pensions fully understands how all these various benefits and credits work. Many of those who receive them cannot read that well, but I bet they understand this powerful argument for vigorous and repeated copulation.
  • The London underground with its steps and escalators is almost impossible to use if you're in a wheelchair. So Transport for London plans to spend nearly £400 million to deliver what it calls ‘step-free access’ for the disabled to some of its Edwardian stations.
  • Boarding almost any train will still involve a step insurmountable to wheelchairs. So this expenditure is pretty pointless.

A powerful argument for a little common sense: but does Mayor Boris Johnson - once an editor of The Spectator - retain any? Or have power and access to other people's money deprived him of it?

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