Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The D word

There is a dearth of paid employment at present, you may have heard. I stand aghast as I witness this employment disaster cutting a swathe through the ranks of respectable, clever, talented and hard working people, what a waste.

Now, given the lack of freelance work for my peculiar skills, and against my better judgement I have taken the first steps to signing on and claiming a refund on that tax I've paid over the years.

Always inclined to use technology first I was pleased that I could complete a Job Seekers Allowance application form online this morning - so far so good, painless even. I had taken the precaution of conducting some web research into Job Centres; both Ciao and Dooyoo have a number of amusing and rather frightening reviews of the back to work service available from the state. Having never been unemployed before, the prospect of "signing on the dole" is pretty terrifying, I take little solace that i'll be in good company as daily more of my fellow citizens are faced with the same propect. I'll keep you updated here on my progressing public humiliation as I work my way through the Job Centre/Unemployment meat grinder...

Incidentally why do the press and politicians avoid using the word Depression?

Spin perchance? cycnical old me; even the BBC has a whole indice dedicated to it, albeit they use the more innocent sounding "downturn", rather than the D word.

Because a depression is what it is. Depression is the correct word, literally and emotionally it encapsulates perfectly the state we're in, a country that is paying the price of hubris in Government - a ruling party that took the credit for a boom, a patently ridiculous claim and as stupifying as Michael Jackson's (pictured below) claims that "he has not had surgery".
"No more boom and bust", "Saved the world" - Really? thanks a fuckin' lot Labour...


  1. "Having never been unemployed before, the prospect of "signing on the dole" is pretty terrifying, I take little solace that i'll be in good company as daily more of my fellow citizens are faced with the same prospect"
    ................. ..........

    Good Afternoon Clara, Im sure you will be in good company, 3 million unemployed this year is the latest estimate, that in it self is a terrifying statistic!!!

    Clara im sure the nice people at the Job Centre will put you at ease, nothing to be terrified about. In fact the part time job i have (still studying at uni which is a bummer) was thanks to the online application i made via the job centres website. When i phoned the job centre thingy number i found them very helpful and within a day they had sent me out an application form, although i did apply to the company via their own website.

    Yeh strange one that indeed, why don't they use the word "depression"? somehow they seem to think by not using the "D" word everything will be okay, hmm it will take a bit more than a wee gloss over of words to get out of this depression.

    Clara i love your picture of Michael Jackson, yeh it is hard to tell from that pic if he's had surgery or not, almost as difficult to see if the UK is in a depression or not, good comparison indeed..!!!

  2. Thanks for your kind words AMW - Already trawling the JobCentre website for jobs, there are one or two. Should be an interesting experience, and I still hope I can get enough freelance work.

    Will keep you updated with my progress...

  3. Don't know if you saw this recent article in The Times about a professional's experience with a Job Centre, but it's worth a read.

    I've been there myself; a few years ago now, but my experience wasn't quite as bad as it might have been. I think the staff are more geared towards the real basket cases, thus others might find the whole experience a bit off-putting, but I think they can provide useful resources if you use your own initiative to utilise them properly.

    As for the word 'depression', I suspect the reason the term isn't being used is that we aren't quite there, yet!

    As far as I know the term 'recession' is fairly specifically defined - two quarters of negative growth - but 'depression' is less agreed upon, presumably because they're so few and far between (most of us haven't experienced one yet), but I think it would at least entail two or three years of negative growth, and we're a good bit from that yet. Another definition I saw was a 10 per cent drop in output, and we're a long way from that yet as well.

    Another problem is that because the way recession is defined and the relevant numbers are collated, it can be several months after it's happened until we officially know that we're actually in a recession.

    On the other hand words and phrases like 'downturn', 'slowdown' and 'economic contraction' are a bit more vague and can thus be used without anyone getting shirty about whether or not they're wholly accurate.

    Apart from the technical aspects, I suspect that a reason the movers and shakers don't like to use particular terms unless they're fully justified is that economic conditions depend a lot on sentiment, thus if they overplayed the extent of the downturn then that could affect consumer/business confidence and thus make things worse, and to that extent become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

  4. Thanks for that Stuart, got my first appoitment with the JobCentre on Thursday, the telephone interview was lengthy, but they were professional and helpful.
    How can we trust the metrics used by this government for calculation of anything, never mind something that portrays them in a bad light? I fear they play the technical definitions to suit themselves and the timing of their agendas - akin to the Police policing the police?
    My main drive was that the (I acknowledge emotional) word 'Depression', is also the best word technically to describe what's going on, and is retrospectively applied to the 20/30s and perhaps 70s/80s without question. The alternative use of 'downturn', 'slowdown', 'economic contraction' etc. is just giving false hope. If we are to square up to this situation (as with any) and deal with it, we should first agree on a suitable name for it...