For people like Drs Fryer and Kenway, putting the emphasis on treating individuals for their “deficiency” in finding work, is damaging. Dr Fryer is part of the Community Psychology movement, currently small in the UK, but a bigger force in other parts of the world – both rich and poor.
He and fellow campaigners believe social change, not treatment for individuals, is the only way to deal with the distress caused by material inequality, poverty and joblessness. All the psychologists in the world could never “treat it better” unless the root problems were solved, they say.
“Working with an individual person just means they then compete more effectively against another unemployed person. But it can never do anything other than reorder the queue,” adds Dr Fryer. “Society has become more individualist. And clinical treatment is individualist, which fits conveniently with this idea that all ills are related to the individual.”
He likens treating someone depressed because they are unemployed to giving therapy to a woman who is beaten at home then returns each night to an unaltered situation.
“All you are doing,” says Dr Fryer, “is making them think differently about being punched.”
Interestingly if you read Purnell’s risible screed, you find he espouses the age old excuse for all of history’s cruelties -the ends justify the means- although he does not really reveal what ends they have in mind-
The basic idea of New Labour was that the party had been held back by our tendency to let once sensible policy positions become unquestionable and unending ideological commitments. The central insight was the same as Crosland’s – that the Labour Party had always got means and ends mixed up. Too often, the Labour Party had made a fetish of state action when the means should have been whatever it took to get the ends achieved.
-James ‘Bovver Boy’ Purnell
Dr Kenway added that he believed the UK was heading into a recession after a period of several years in which the labour market had at best been steady, rather than strong. “The political class is still in complete denial that this unemployment issue is coming back with a vengeance. And you cannot say the whole responsibility for this lies with the would-be workers. There’s a strange flaw in government reasoning that if you somehow got all these people out and plonked them onto the labour market, the jobs would just appear.”
With Workfare aiming to provide labour for under minimum wage and no jobs to fill, the end game is incredibly low cost workers for the ruling class and its middle managers in government to exploit and no more society that bothered Thatcher so, just ruthless competition to escape the work gangs to earn a livable wage. Throw in the cameras, ID cards and Taser armed police and Britain seems an innovative island work camp for all your low cost labour needs. We should produce a brochure.