I have disappeared from Twitterdom at the very time that Iain Duncan Smith was at his patronising and insulting best ,instructing the unemployed of my town to catch a bus to find work. If he'd done his homework, he'd know that in Cardiff alone 15,000 unemployed people are chasing 1,700 vacancies. How can Merthyr people travel for jobs which don't exist?
Our biggest employer is the Council with over 2,500 jobs and many of these will be lost with the impending cuts. Our colonial overlords like IDS just do not comprehend the plight of places like the Valleys, neglected and abandoned by every single government. When I first came here over 30 years ago the town was literally surrounded by industries: household names like Hoover, Triang and Kayser Bonder. It was possible to wash your undies in a machine under a lightbulb after falling off your kid's trike, all involving local products.
Now there's very little here except retail parks and opencast. All those cheap labour factories attracted by huge grants from the WDA have left for even cheaper labour economies. If the Labour Party has failed to change anything, then the Tories are much more open in their class warfare and IDS comment signifies this.
Like the recent Sky documentary, there's a belief that many of the people in this highly creative town - full of drama groups, musicians, artists and writers - are actually feckless plebs who delight in living off Welfare. In fact, the vast majority would relish a job which paid decent wages if they could get one and most of those on disability are the direct consequence of years of heavy industry.
Of course, the future is to look to ourselves for solutions, to build up locally run co-operatives using the many skills which still exist and producing sustainable goods. The backing of the Senedd must be crucial in this respect and in all the desire to react politically to the ConDems onslaught, we must never forget the importance of ideals.
IDS ADDRESS TO MERTHYR
Well, little Merthyr folk,
subject of much media vilification,
especially that Sky documentary (you know the one).
This is your friendly ex-Prime Minister,
I’m sure you remember
the great things I’ve done.
No? Well,there’s......and......never mind!
I’m here to inform you about getting a job :
with haste, get on a bus!
Stand 15, it’s the X4 to Cardiff
only £5.50 return, price of a latte in London,
one stop Pont-er-prid.....don’t get off....no jobs there either.
Why not walk along that Queen Street with a placard
advertising your qualities, I’m certain
you’ll fit everything on it.
Or you could just walk into an office
and say, not ‘Gissa job?’......what is it?
‘Any work yer , but?’ (my researchers googled it).
So, it’s easy little Merthyr folk:
get out of your wheelchairs, cast off walking-sticks.
After all, I did it once, equipped with tie and handshake.