X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

PMQs sketch: PM paints Work Programme a marvellous success

28 November 2012

4:37 PM

28 November 2012

4:37 PM

While Leveson packs his sun-cream and flip-flops and prepares for a holiday in Australia, the nation holds its breath in anticipation of his report. One lucky citizen, the prime minister, is permitted a sneak glance at the findings of the great inquisitor into press malpractice.

At 11.45 this morning, the monumental hardback landed with a thump on Number 10’s doormat. David Cameron barely had time to turn to the index and see how many name-checks he’d been given before he was whisked off to the Commons to answer questions from Ed Miliband.

It was not a great occasion. The opposition leader challenged Cameron on the failure of the Work Programme, (b. June 2011), to terminate long-term unemployment. Reports yesterday revealed that just 3.5 percent of the programme’s recruits had graduated into permanent jobs. Miliband claimed it was barely 2 per cent.
Cameron took no notice. He bullishly announced that whole thing had been a marvellous success. Eight hundred thousand people had taken part, he said, and two hundred thousand had found work. Which sounds like a triumph. Except that Mr Miliband is correct. Only a tiny fraction of participants have found work for six months or more.

But Cameron was determined to rescue his wounded puppy from Miliband’s molestations. He quoted a CBI report claiming that the Work Programme had helped ‘turn around’ the lives of thousands. As in, turn around and head for the dole office, presumably.

Miliband unwisely compared the Work Programme with Labour’s chosen solution, the Future Jobs Fund. This brilliant scheme, he declared, had found work for 120,000 youngsters.

Yes, said Cameron, but 98 per cent of those jobs were in the public sector.
The conclusion – that government is constitutionally incapable of turning the Job Centre into the Harvard Business School – is obvious to everyone untouched by the Westminster delusion. Ed Miliband meanwhile became fixated on a statistical detail which has about as much bearing on the problem as a cornflake has on the gravitational pull of Neptune.

[Alt-Text]


He pressed Cameron to admit that ‘long-term unemployment has risen by 96 per cent since the Work Programme began’.

When faced with tricky statistics like this, Cameron turns the other way and starts to whistle. Or, in parliamentary language, he turns Brown. He’s now so adept at rhetorical duplicity that he appears not to know the difference between ‘answering the question’ and ‘answering any question’.

He heaped abuse on Labour’s ‘poisoned legacy,’ and boasted that his government had reduced claimant numbers by 190,000, and created ‘a million private sector jobs.’

Miliband’s reply matched the PM’s for predictability. ‘The more he blusters and the redder in the face he gets, the less convincing he is,’ he shouted.

Cameron began to fidget and shift as Miliband trundled through some pre-scripted tri-partite insult. ‘We have a work programme that’s not working. We have a deficit that’s rising. We have a government that’s failing …’

At this point, Cameron squirmed in his seat like a hungry child hoping to hear the dinner-gong. And instantly the Labour benches pounced. ‘Calm down!’ they shouted. ‘Calm down!’ Cameron tried to laugh it off by pointing at his watch. He gestured for Miliband to conclude his attack.

‘He can’t keep his cool when he knows he’s losing the argument.’

‘It’s his leadership that’s drowning,’ hooted Cameron vapidly.

As the session ended, William Hague stood up to make a statement on Palestine which may mark a decisive shift in British policy in the middle-east. But Cameron didn’t wait to listen. He sprinted out past the Speaker’s chair in a blur of grey tailoring. He was gone. His famous Brylcreemed quiff flashed briefly in the overhead lights as he vanished.

It was Leveson, not lunch, that was on his mind.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close