It’s the poor wot gets the blame…

Today I have the dubious pleasure of revealing to some of our staff how we intend to deprive a good number of them of their jobs. It’s by way of a dummy run, for these job losses have nothing to do with the cuts – they are about the completion of a programme of work that was always going to come to an end. There is of course a connection though; in other times these well-experienced and in many cases long-serving staff would have had little difficulty in finding their next assignments. Now, of course, they are being “released” into a much harsher and more hostile environment, and one which is poised to become harsher and more hostile still once the Comprehensive Spending Review’s full horrors are known next month. And then I fear the experience I’ll gain today will be put to further and repeated use until, quite possibly, my unpleasant work being done, I join these ex-comrades once again in another bout of unemployment for myself. Changing the name of my blog back to its depressing original title will be only the least of the doleful consequences.

But I’m jumping ahead and I shouldn’t allow myself to think these maudlin thoughts; nor do I want to be in any way indulging in a self-fulfilling prophesy. Things may not turn out this bad. It’s not insignificant however that I am thinking thoughts as unhappy as these. Throughout the public sector there are many other senior managers such as me who are being frog-marched into acting as agents of the Coalition’s dissembling over the deficit. And it’s having more profound effects than it might appear. Throughout the sector there is a growing sense of foreboding, a chronic anxiety about the future, a disabling resignation. There is a serious danger that not only will public services be decimated by the loss of the skills and experience of those staff who will be the direct victims of cuts, but also that those who remain will be so de-motivated, so over-stretched, and so battle-scarred that the rump of services will be even less effective than they might have been. A double-whammy if ever there was one.

Rich irony then that today is also the day that Mr Bob Diamond, £100 million beneficiary of the banking débâcle that precipitated all this grief, is confirmed as the new Chief Executive of Barclays Bank, which in making this appointment is effectively blowing a loud raspberry at the majority of the citizenry of this country who are now paying the bill for the banks’ collective folly. It is of course more complex than that, and far too many of that same citizenry were colluders in that folly when they swallowed the patently false prospectus that money could somehow be magicked from thin air. Despite that, it remains the case that the real-world consequence of this complex web of financial inter-relationships is that some very few individuals are able to hang on to their magicked money whilst very many more are to be deprived not only of any magicked money they might have been unwise enough to accept, but also the very real money that comes from having a job.

It may be argued that we have no poor in this country, and relative to the total global economy that is largely true. It is not true that no-one is poor even by that definition since we have plenty of people with no food and no shelter save that which is provided through charity. Certainly the people whose jobs I’m about to whisk away could not be called poor on a global scale, even after they’ve lost their jobs. But we all know that poverty is relative and not absolute. Compared with Mr Diamond we’re almost all paupers. So I have no hesitation in confirming that, yet again, “It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure, It’s the poor wot gets the blame”.


7 thoughts on “It’s the poor wot gets the blame…

  1. Pingback: World Wide News Flash

  2. So sad. Always, always it has been the poor who suffer, while the rich get richer. Such inequities are heartbreaking, yet they continue, because the rich have the power. I have no answers, just empathy.

  3. I’m sorry to hear you’re having to go through this but you have a much better attitude about it than I do so I appreciate your thoughts. Our company is struggling as well and we just had another we-may-not-make-it talk last Monday. The false optimism can grate so it’s actually good to hear some realism when you know damn well we’ve been running a loss for at least 2 years.

    Enjoyed your blog as always but it was a particularly good reminder this morning as we come off our Labor Day Weekend back into the grind that “the grind” isn’t such a bad place to be. The fact that we’re facing either lay-offs or shutting down needs to be placed on the back-burner so we can continue the work we have in front of us…if *that* doesn’t get done and done well then the bad news will come that much more quickly.


  4. I work in the NHS. My small department is a community one, so a lot of us are lone workers. To be a lone worker, you have to be experienced, as there is no supervision or management around when you are on your lonesome in someone’s house or nursing home. There is a vacancy freeze, so no one experienced is being replaced. The acute sector’s turn is in November. It is demoralizing. Most of the managers are immune from the chop, and most are far less honest and attuned to their employees’ distress than you are to yours. I hope things work out better than all of us fear they will!

    • Thanks for your perspective from another part of the public sector. We can only hope, as you say, that perhaps pessimism has overtaken us too strongly.

      I make no claim to be a more-than-usually sympathetic manager, but I do know that if managers are unable or unwilling to empathise with the staff whose futures they are obliged to curtail, then they have no business to be in their jobs. Not that it isn’t sometimes hard: for managers like me there’s inevitably some level of “pride” in doing this dirty work in a less rather than more brutish fashion, and consequently some degree of satisfaction. But woe betide us if satisfaction becomes a perverse pleasure in treating others as mere pawns in a budget-balancing video game.

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