With all the gloom around at the moment, the BBC web magazine has started a series on Britain's jobless. Today they published an article entitled, Britain's jobless: who cares?
Within are some very interesting viewpoints ... and some pretty suspect ones, such as this remark in condemnation of welfare reforms designed to aim a big boot up the backsides of certain piss-takers.
"If you have four million or so people chasing a few hundred thousand jobs, it goes without saying that putting pressure on the unemployed to look harder is not going to work," says psychologist Dr David Fryer, of Stirling University.
"In general the media has not done unemployment a service. The unemployed are portrayed as social outcasts who don't share the moral and ethical values of the rest of us."
That is a worthy comment in the case of Harry Blackwood, who wrote in the Telegraph last month of not only his struggle to find a job after 35 years of perpetual employment, but also his despair at the incompetence and lack of care he encountered from those charged with matching workers with work. I recommmend reading all of that article as it fully proves the problem to which Dr David Fryer refers.
Unfortunately, there is a big difference between Harry Blackwood and those that really cannot be arsed. Instead of pointing the finger at the media for doing down the unemployed, Dr Fryer should instead direct his condemnation at those who give the media damn good reason to shoot at targets that don't move a muscle to disprove their theory, such as the excuse-filled woman the BBC reported on yesterday who hasn't worked a single day in her 28 days of eligibility in the job market.
Elizabeth Malcolm, 43, has never had a job. She lives in a two-bedroom council flat in Glasgow with her three children, one grandchild, two cats and a hamster.
Neither of her two working-age children has a job.
The family is what the statistics gatherers call a "workless household" - one of three million in the country. In reality it's not quite so easy to put every jobless person into a neat little box.
Well, actually, it's very easy to put this one in a box. One labelled "useless".
"... she concedes that she doesn't really know why she didn't get a job, and that there was an element of just "not getting round" to it.
She doesn't think school wanted her to stay on because she "wasn't too bright" and used to bunk off a lot.
Without any qualifications she assumed she wasn't able to follow her chosen path and join the Army. She never actually made it to the recruitment office to ask."
So, she doesn't know why she didn't get a job? Perhaps it's because she didn't bother lifting a finger, despite the exhortations of her hard-working parents.
The good thing is that she has made damn sure that her offspring don't fall into the same lethargic ways as she. Oh, hold on ...
The family survives on a combination of Income Support and Child Tax Credits, claimed by both Elizabeth and Danielle. Both also receive the universal Child Benefit for one child each. It all amounts to about £270 a week for the five of them.
As no-one in the house is actively seeking work, they don't count as "unemployed" and none claims Jobseeker's Allowance.
Yes, daughter Danielle, who became a state-funded Mum at 16, has also never worked. And it's not going to change either seeing as there are such incredibly tough obstacles in the way.
"All my pals are looking for work as well. But it's not that easy to get a job straight away, you've got to write out your CV and everything and then hand it in to places."
Good Lord! The inhumanity of writing a CV and handing it in 'to places'!
Elizabeth, who has been lazily sucking up other people's money for almost as long as Harry Blackwood has been paying for her keep, is apologetic about ripping us off for £14k a year though.
"I'm sorry they have to pay tax money to me. If I could get a job... give me a job then and I'll work, and then they won't have to pay me."
So which gold-leaf gilded plate would you like this job to be placed upon? There's a joke about someone praying for a lottery win and a voice from above hollering "Do me a favour, buy a ticket!". If this family find it too much effort to put themselves out and apply, how on earth can any employer in their right mind think they will last a day? That's if they even know they exist at all, it's not like their names keep cropping up on application forms, is it?
Those new welfare reforms are a bugger too.
"They said I'd be better off if I was out working because Jon's at an age now where the money I'm getting will stop soon. I'd need to sign on [for unemployment benefit] again and I don't want that because I think I'm too old to sign on."
Just bring the money to me, I can't be bovvered to go and get it.
It will be interesting to see where the BBC are going with their series on the jobless. If they continue in attempting to procure sympathy for households such as Elizabeth's (there are 3 million of them), then they are insulting to those like Harry Blackwood who truly deserve sympathy, and also insulting to everyone who got off their backsides this morning, amongst the frost, to do a day's work or seriously try to find such.