- Figures for April show 1,458 jobless in my home town*
- Currently Universal job match list just 230 jobs posted within 5 miles of the town I live in*
Why is this relevant? I was summoned by letter to attend an interview today at my local job centre. There I found that following trials elsewhere in the country I wouldn’t have to wait to see an advisor when I attend fortnightly to sign on, instead I would just queue and sign in at “the counter”.
However, I will have to apply for 4 jobs a week. I pointed out to the adviser I spoke to today that in the last 4 weeks I have found just 3 suitable jobs to apply for, how and where was I going to find 4 a week?
Just apply for anything I was told, apply for packing (funnily enough the example on my job search form is for packing). Now I am a very experienced administrator, it’s not that packing is beneath me, were there such a job to suit my circumstances then I would apply. Fact is there isn’t. Also,why should I lower my expectations of where I should be employed?
The advisor printed out the new job agreement whilst I was still discussing the possibility of being able to find 4 jobs a week to apply for. I did say to the woman that if the same job is advertised on 20 different websites that doesn’t mean that there are 20 different jobs. That point lead to a momentary silence during which she got up and went to the printer to get the agreement. I reiterated that it may be impossible to find 4 jobs a week to apply for. “I’m sure they won’t mind if it’s 3 one week” she said. personally I’m sure they will – it’s a sanction waiting to happen
When she came back with the agreement I asked her were there any jobs actually advertised in the job centre. No, I was told, they are all on the internet, you can use the jobpoint here (one jobpoint for nearly 1500 people).
The agreement was thrust at me to sign, now I know I have no choice but to sign but I insisted on reading through it first. I did note that I was in a “green” group, goodness only knows what the “red group” have been forced to sign.
I am not going to lower my standards so I’m raising them, therefore this blog post will end with an apology to all potential employers, I am afraid I am going to be applying for jobs that I have no experience in or qualifications for. I’m sorry if I (and the other 1,457 unemployed are wasting your time and your resources – please blame the DWP and not the unemployed applicant.
*vacancies posted within 30 days of today – 20th May 2013
So I’m now signed on to the Government’s Universal Job Match website is it helping me find a job? Not really. Many of the jobs listed are months old, plus they seem to be posted by websites that curate vacancies from other websites (I wonder how many personal details they are curating at the same time?)
My local job centre have agreed that I can look for part time work (personal reasons), they know also that I am reliant on my two feet and public transport to get to any job as I don’t drive. However, I have to agree to look for work within 90 minutes travelling distance, that’s each way, not a round trip. So it’s compulsory that I have to agree to spend up to 3 hours a day travelling. How far do they think I can get in 3 hours? Why, anything from 30 to 84 miles away from where I live. Below is a screencap of what I saw when I logged in today.
Using public transport it would take me anything from two to four hours just to get to these towns, and that doesn’t include making my way to any potential place of employment.
Just something to bear in mind next time you hear that there are xxx amount of jobs available for job seekers…..
Recently I found myself at a protest march. Now I’m not usually one for actively protesting, if I’m honest the most I do is sit at home and tweet my protests to the world. So how did I come to be at an anti EDL protest in Cambridge recently?
Those of you who know me know that I like to take pictures of people either at events or in the streets, so when I had a notification that a group of people planned to join the protest against the racist EDL by disco dancing dressed in 80′s gear I thought that would be a good opportunity for some event and street snapping.
So off I went to Cambridge with Mr A, we arrived as the protesters were gathering and listening to the pre-march speeches. There was a good atmosphere but a lot of understandable anger that the racist EDL should dictate to the residents of Cambridge just what they could and couldn’t do. (This far-right group were protesting against plans for a new mosque in Mill Road. ) I wandered around taking a few photos and, as you can see, it didn’t take long to spot the disco loving protesters.
When everyone was ready to start marching I joined in with them, the better to take photos and to record the occasion. (I also felt it only right to protest against the racism and fascism of the EDL)
The Discoing protesters followed up at the back of the march and didn’t stop dancing once as the march wended it’s way to and around the city centre. These folk were the Cambridge Division of the alternative EDL, the English Disco Lovers. What a great way to combat narrow minded, racist bigots.
And finally, for those who like statistics, there were 500 protesting against the EDL, 400 police (yes really!) And just 30 EDL members.
Did you know that when you are jobless you lose all right to privacy? No? Let me explain.
At the beginning of October last year I was made redundant. I decided I didn’t want to become a statistic immediately so didn’t sign on. Come November I decided to visit the local job centre. Now this was the first time in over 10 years I had visited a job centre, so it took a bit of courage for this 60 year old woman to enter it. The first thing I notice is 2 big burly G4S security men, now that’s new, I thought to myself. What I didn’t see was any sign of a reception desk so I wander around aimlessly for 10 minutes thinking, What do I do? Where do I go?
Eventually I notice a queue forming at what is little more than a shelf attached to a column and realise this is the reception desk. Eventually a young lady comes out and deals with the queue. When it’s my turn I ask how I register for unemployment, she tells me I have to do so by phone or online and proceeds to give me a piece of paper which, as I eventually found out, had the wrong url on it.
I decide that I’m not ready for this yet so leave it a while. Come the end of January and finances are such that I really need to do something, so I search out the online application and fill it in. Having given them everything from my NA number to my bank account details I sit back and wait
for my identity to be stolen. Eventually I receive a text informing me of an appointment today.
I arrive a few minutes early, the shelf is again unmanned. When they do deign to send someone out to the shelf I’m told to sit on the first sofa and wait. Whilst I am doing so I hear every detail of job searches of the two claimants either side of the desk just a couple of feet in front of me. I wait and eventually a young lady comes and sits on the sofa with my online claim details printed out which I am to read and sign. I do this and eventually, 15 minutes after my stated appointment time, I’m called to her desk.
Whilst she is photocopying my life I hear all the sorry details of the Polish couple sitting at the desk next door, including the fact that their bank accounts are empty and they only have £150 in cash as their savings, most of which they seem to be handing over in cash to some guy whose house they are living in. I’m sure they wanted me to know that – not!
Without discussion, other than what sort of job I’m looking for, I’m given a Job Seekers Agreement to sign and told that if I don’t my claim won’t continue, so what choice do I have but to sign it? I’m also given an activity sheet to record what steps I’m taking to find a job, including every website I search. Finally I’m given a green signing in book and told to report next Monday to sign on and next Wednesday to meet with an adviser. I’m sure whoever is at the desk next to my adviser, or sitting behind me, is going to enjoy listening to my personal search for work.
Meanwhile the signing in book, the first two pages are full of reasons as to why they may stop Job Seekers allowance. In fact I found it all vaguely threatening.
Oh and all this is before they decide if I’m entitled to Job Seekers allowance! I’ve to wait for that decision. Meanwhile I’m off to close my curtains.
So today Caie Walk is finally clear of snow, it took almost a week of sub zero temperatures but at least St Edmundsbury and Suffolk County Council took note when this blog was brought to their attention.
But what of the back roads? Anyone who knows this part of Bury St Ed’s knows that the roads on Nowton Estate run behind the houses. These back roads are currently all like the one pictured below, a lethal ice rink.
Now I know that main roads are a priority, and foot paths should also be, as I requested. But really, is this road and the others like it less important than cemetery paths? (See previous Blog post) Motorists have to negotiate this every day in order to get to work and back, just as well no emergency vehicles have had to get through. It’s the same every time it’s snowy and icy. So St Edmundsbury Borough Council and SCC please don’t leave us until last next time
Four days after the freeze began here the council finally gritted Caie walk, but not before I had alerted them to my previous Blog post. Of course it’s snowed quite a bit since then, will they come and re-treat the path? Who knows. But you can imagine my surprise this morning to see a team of council employees clearing and gritting the cemetery paths.
Hmm! Cemetery no longer takes burials so they must be gritting those paths for all the dead people, who, of course are far more important than the families and school children who have to use Caie walk daily.
(please ignore technorati claim 66RWVDVK26BV)
So yesterday the Met Office issued red and amber warnings, telling the country to be prepared for heavy snowfall, blizzards and severe cold. The BBC and other media picked up on this and gleefully reported weather updates. This had the usual effect of people inundating their local supermarkets in order to stockpile enough food for a 3 month siege. We also had dire warnings about driving and not taking unnecessary journeys. If we all did the latter how would folk get all those essentials that they need to stockpile? (If the young guys I saw coming out of Sainsbury’s today are anything to go by then beer is an essential to stockpile)
Meanwhile it seems to have escaped all but the local media’s attention that for the past few days East Anglia have experienced sub-zero temperatures, -13c in some place overnight and -8c during the day. East Anglia did not grind to a halt, the roads and indeed the cycle paths were all gritted regularly.
What wasn’t gritted however were many of the local footpaths. One particular footpath runs the length of Nowton estate passing the local primary school and the local shops. Take a look below at what it looked like yesterday.
That is thick ice on top of frozen snow! Now anyone who lives in this area can’t avoid using that path if they need to walk anywhere, from buying supplies at the local shops, getting children to school or heading off into town. The only alternative is back roads that are just as ice covered where you have to negotiate parked cars, moving cars and wheely bins being used to claim parking spaces.
So here’s a message to St Edmunsbury council: Why do you never make sure this footpath is safe when there is ice and snow? By not doing so you are deliberately isolating the old and the infirm and putting the rest of us at risk of bruises and broken bones.
We’re jumping into a New Year which makes me wonder why people make New Year’s resolutions. It’s just after one of the most stressful times of the year, with many people probably still paying for the Christmas festivities. They are also probably wondering what the coming year will bring in these times of austerity and uncertainty, yet they are thinking of getting fit, getting slimmer, giving up drinking, giving up smoking, etc etc? Surely they are setting themselves up to fail?
Wouldn’t it be better to make such resolutions at a more positive time of year such as spring?
Am I making a resolution? Yes but it’s not a new year’s one, it’s ongoing. Every day will be better than the previous one.
Happy New Year!
Five years ago a young 5 year old autistic lad attended a mainstream school. This school made much of the fact that they had within the school a Specialist Support Centre for children with complex needs.
So specialist was it that they did not realise that the disruption of the usual school routine for Christmas play rehearsals would upset an autistic child. Anxious and unable to communicate the child concerned became difficult, he grabbed hold of the arm of another child so tightly that his fingernails dug in, resulting in a slight scratch to the other child’s arm.
Did the school understand why the autistic lad was upset? Did they heck! They excluded him, sent him home, with an official report that made this 5 year old sound like a 16 year old thug. Nor did they send his mother any lessons she could sit and do with her child. In short they failed him miserably.
There followed a long battle between mother,school authorities, and educational departments. In the September of the following year the child was at last found a place in Hillside Special School in the nearby town of Sudbury. The change in the lad was remarkable. He’s now happy to go to school and gets full support from the teachers and staff. Every year the school put on a Christmas show, every year each and every child in the school happily appears on stage. I can’t praise Hillside highly enough.
The autistic lad is my grandson. Now look at him
Although I don’t doubt that Savile was a serial abuser, and that he had contact with a high level of fellow abusers, I do doubt the friends with the royals stories. Much has been made of the latter, especially his supposed friendship and influence with Prince Charles.
Despite the general consensus I don’t think Savile was as close a friend as he says he was to the royals, especially Charles.
When you start looking into the claims there’s not much to back it up other than Savile’s own words. For instance there aren’t that many photos of the two together – though because of the way Savile liked to promote himself maybe a few more than Charles with other celebs? (Search of the Times archive for Savile and Charles brings up just two articles whilst image searches also bring up very few photos of the two together)
The much touted photo of Savile and PC in kilts was taken in 1999 when Prince Charles joined the former presenter of Jim’ll Fix It after handing over the keys of a new minibus to the Glencoe Mountain team by the Order of St John in Scotland. (The Order of St John is also known as Knights Hospitaller, Savile was a Knight Hospitaller! Now there’s probably lot more to be said about such connections but that will have to wait for another Blog )
This to me is no more than the usual charity event that a royal would attend. It’s not unusual for the Royals to be offered hospitality at such events, hence the meal Savile arranged… and made sure everyone knew about.
This quote is from the Alison Bellamy Biography of Savile, How’s About That Then. “The superstar DJ was no stranger to Buckingham Palace and from 1984 to 1989 was a regular visitor” Now that’s not a big span of years if the tales of friendship and influence are true
I would suggest that Savile was friends with some of the staff (or even just one member) If he had been so for some years, he would probably have got a security clearance for visits long before any suspicions about him arose.
Invitations to the palace and the much mentioned Christmas cards? Lots of celebrities get invitations to palace events, not just Savile. Lots of Celebs and charitable fund raisers get Christmas cards from the Royals, so I don’t see these events as proof of a close friendship
The phone calls and marital advice? I think Diana (and/or Fergie) were taken in by his charitable deeds and probably by his tales and so befriended him and brought him in to court circles for a while.
Also from the AB Bio Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton once called him ‘the unofficial court jester’ and has suggested that Jimmy’s advice was taken on board during the marriage collapse. ‘Savile’s opinions carry weight in both camps,’ Morton once said. ‘He articulates opinions that courtiers can only think of.’ Diana nicknamed Jimmy ‘The Boss’ which he loved.
Not sure where AM said that but I think that stems from Savile’s own claims. (For the record I’ve always thought Morton had another agenda and only published what he wanted us to know) Maybe Savile implied to both Charles and Di separately that the other took advice from him? Just a thought…..
The Court Jester thing I can understand, with this image he could say things others wouldn’t and then store them in his armoury of tales to tell.
Also the Royals were probably amused by him as only upper class people can be…. Not sure I can articulate what I mean by this, other than to try picture the Royal Fool from mediaeval times “One may conceptualize fools in two camps: those of the natural fool type and those of the licensed fool type. Whereas the natural fool was seen as innately nit-witted, moronic, or mad, the licensed fool was given leeway by permission of the court. In other words, both were excused, to some extent, for their behaviour, the first because he “couldn’t help it,” and the second by decree” (from Wikipedia) I think Savile was probably the licensed fool but looked upon as the moronic fool
Now read the following quote from the AB biography with the above in mind…
On the tape, Princess Diana also suggested that her husband had given Jimmy another role. Part of the recorded conversation read:
DIANA:’Jimmy Savile rang me up yesterday, and he said, “I’m just ringing up, my girl, to tell you that His Nibs has asked me to come and help out the redhead [Sarah Ferguson] and I’m just letting you know, so that you don’t find out through her or him; and I hope it’s all right by you.” And I said, “Jimmy, you do what you like.”
GILBEY:’What do you mean, “help out the redhead,” darling?’
DIANA:’Sort her out. He said, “You can’t change a lame duck, but I’ve got to talk to her, ’cause that’s the boss’s orders, and I’ve got to carry them out. But I want you to know that you’re my number-one-girl, and I’m not….”
Isn’t that an example of the Royal Fool being given leeway?
So to all those looking for conspiracy theories I would suggest you look into why the (to me) imaginary friendship with the royals is being touted. Is it hiding something else, deflecting interest from others? Is there another story to uncover? Who can say.