About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    UK Government Employing Human Alarm Clocks

    By Kyle | April 27, 2012

    [cross posted to The Corner]

    From today’s Daily Mail:

    Carl Cooper thought he was doing a public service by
    offering seven benefits claimants the chance to work for him.
    But the company boss was flabbergasted when none of them
    turned up on the first day.

    None of the seven even called to say they wouldn’t be coming in. When Cooper, who has a marketing firm called Car Smart, starting calling around, here is what happened.

    Four of the seven also claimed torrential rain had put them off.
    One was unhappy about the prospect of paying a £5 [$8] train fare
    and another called at 12:45 pm and said, ‘Oh, sorry — I overslept.’

    It would appear that the average layabout needs a little more motivation. Never fear! The government is on the case. From today’s Times of London:

    Town hall officials have been told to get down on their
    hands and knees and “clean the floors” of the homes they visit
    under David Cameron’s Troubled Families programme.

    They have also been urged to turn up at family homes
    at 7am if necessary to get parents out of bed and
    children ready for school on time. The orders were
    issued by the programme head, Louise Casey, who said
    that she had seen too many projects like this fail because
    officials simply arrive with clipboards and “monitor decline”.

    “They watch, they check, they assess. They assess the
    fact that the floors need to be cleaned. But they
    don’t actually make any difference. There is no lasting
    change,” she said.

    “I want to see people rolling up their sleeves and
    getting down and cleaning the floors if that is what
    needs to be done. If a family needs to be shown
    how to heat up a pizza, show them how to do it.
    If it takes going round three times a week
    at 7am to get Mum up, then do it.”

    The $2 billion program Casey is referring to is a direct outgrowth of last summer’s brutal, opportunistic outbreak of vandalism and looting by aimless youths who laughingly referred to their spree as “free shopping.”

    The Prime Minister pledged to help to turn around
    the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families in
    England just after taking office in 2010.
    The plans were given added urgency by the riots
    last summer, after which Mr Cameron said that he
    would put “rocket boosters” under the
    project to make sure that it got off the ground.
    That led to the appointment of Ms Casey, who has
    handled several large projects for governments in the past.

    These large projects include “initiatives on homelessness and antisocial behavior” under the Labour government and “victim support” under the current coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. So we see one government failure (to handle basic law and order) leading to its refusing to blame itself and instead expanding into bewildering new areas (investigating “at risk” families, as if we don’t know what sorts of habits lead to membership in the underclass). That, in turn, leads to the reductio ad absurdum of government paying people to be roving human alarm clocks.

    Perhaps the beneficiaries of this program can aspire to a future in which they, too, can get good government jobs awakening fellow citizens.

    Topics: Britain | No Comments »