The McNulty Defence

I was intrigued to learn recently that the former Department of Trade and Industry is now known as the Department of Business, Enterprise & *Regulatory Reform*, which rather indicates that the Government’s new found regulatory zeal – in the sense of being for, rather than against regulation – is only skin deep and doesn’t reflect their longer-term ideological objectives and commitments. Also, the Department formerly known as Employment is now the Department of Employment & *Welfare Reform*, which rather indicates that Mr Purnell & Co are serious about their resoundingly popular scheme to bring back the workhouse, revive chain gangs, force the sick to work in non-existent jobs, reduce the current £8 a day to £1.15 to be paid in the form of a voucher for one Gregg’s the Baker pasty, etc etc etc.

At the same time, this week’s Private Eye reports that the Government has recently boasted of increasing the time that ‘jobseekers’ are expected to spend travelling to potential jobs from 60 to 90 minutes each way; despite this, the Minister for the Department of Workfare and Eventually Abolishing the Dole (to give it its proper name) claims for a second home in Hammersmith, considerably closer to his job than his constituency home in Hayes, only 45 minutes away from parliament. I would suggest that anyone to whom the job centre forcibly offers a job which would involve any more than 45 minutes’ journey to work should invoke the ‘McNulty Defence’ and tell them where to stick their job.

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