You cannot complain that the new Government is doing too little. Every day, in every possible way, some new initiative is launched. It is as if thirteen years in the political wilderness has created a pent up reservoir of desire to make up for lost time. But not all these ideas have met with universal approbation. Consider the latest from Ian Duncan Smith the new Secretary for Pensions and Work. The scene is a block of run-down Council flats on an East London estate. There is a knock on the door and it is opened by a paunchy, shirtless, bald-headed man in his thirties.
‘What can we do for you?’ he said. ‘I’m Jackson of the TTM unit of Pensions and Work.’ ‘Good for you. You’re wasting your time, mate, I’m too young for a Pension. Thanks for the thought but I’m OK on Benefits, for the time being.’ ‘No, no, no, I represent the Time To Move Section. I’m here to help you on your way. To make something of your life by getting you a job and moving you all to somewhere much nicer. And remember we can cover moderate removal costs and give you £250 for your trouble. Sounds like a good deal to me.You remember we discussed this with you a month ago and now we can get you all on your way.’ Mr Jackson smiled. ‘We wrote to you.’ ‘Brown envelope?’ ‘I expect so.’ ‘I always tear them up – the brown one’s.’ ‘Well, Mr Smith, isn’t it, we have a nice little terraced house for you in Roehampton. Tree lined street. Good local school – and a job in a warehouse paying the Minimum wage.’ ‘That’s no good for me Jacko, I’d lose money on that. All that work for the minimum wage and no little jobs on the side for the wife and me. And another thing, the fare to West Ham must be ruinous. And who for God’s sake gets my house’ ‘Oh, no problem there Mr Smith, we can find another family to do that.’ ‘What does he do for a job then?’ ‘We can’t perform miracles, Mr Smith. We might have to admit defeat there. ‘ ‘Mr Jackson, I don’t want to be rude to you. You seem a nice enough man to me. But are you off your rocker? You expect my family, at short notice, to uproot to a place they do not want to live , for a job I can’t keep, in the middle of nowhere, miles from Upton Park, at a considerable financial loss to my family and then to give my perfectly nice home to some other loafer. You must be a nut.’ Mr Jackson quivered. His voice rose. ‘I’m sorry you take that attitude. There are other things we can do, you know. We can send you to a camp, get you fit, rehabilitate you. We have done that sort of thing before’ ‘Get lost you mucker. or I’ll set the dog on you.’ ‘Think again Smithie…’ The door slammed. Oh well you can’t win them all.