Mr James O'Brien - holding Iain Duncan-Smith to account - and he really doesn't like it!

Just heard the best political interview in years - James O'Brien knew his facts, refused to be browbeaten and kept politely and firmly insisting the Iain Duncan-Smith learns to listen to inconvenient facts... he wasn't successful of course but it was massively illuminating. 

Listen to the amazing exchange in full below

It's abundantly clar that Iain Duncan-Smith has no idea of what the Court of Appeal actually ruled nor about the fact that Caitlin Reilly was required to give up a more relevant piece of work experience (she did not 'volunteer' to for work experience entirely unsuited to getting her paid work).

Judgement - para 13

The dispute arose because, as will appear, neither appellant was prepared to do certain work proposed by the Secretary of State under the 1995 Act. In both cases, sanctions were threatened under Part 3 of the 2011 Regulations


Judgement - para 18 onward

Miss Reilly was a graduate in geology whose ambition was to work in the museum sector. In November 2010, she was assigned to a paid work experience placement at a museum in Birmingham and was paid the minimum wage during that placement, funded by a Government scheme. When it ended, she continued to work voluntarily at the museum with a view to gaining experience. Having claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (“JSA”), her Jobcentre Plus adviser told her of an “opportunity” to attend an open day in Birmingham at which retail jobs would be available. Retail was one of the areas set out in her Jobseeker’s Agreement.
Judgment Approved by the court for handing down. Reilly and Wilson v Sec of State
In view of the admitted breach of regulation 4, subsequent events need not be set out in great detail. Miss Reilly attended the open day having been told by her adviser that if she accepted the position on offer she would undergo a week’s training followed by a guaranteed job interview. After the open day, she was told that she was considered suitable for training which was then said to be for a 6 week period. She expressed concern about the length of the training period which meant she could not continue to do her voluntary work at the museum. When Miss Reilly told her adviser of that, the adviser said that participation in the scheme was “mandatory” and Miss Reilly risked loss of JSA if she did not participate.

Hardly voluntary!

Just one small exchange from the interview:

IDS - "I think the Work Programme is a huge success"

JO - "Apart from the little wobble in the Court of Appeal last week"

Just brilliant.

LISTEN: James's Bust-Up With Duncan-Smith

Wednesday 20th February 2013

Iain Duncan-Smith was involved in an explosive bust-up with James O'Brien live on LBC 97.3.

iain duncan smith

The Work and Pensions Secretary has welcomed a fall in unemployment, which now stands at 362,000 in the capital and 2.5million across the UK.

It means the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance has fallen to a near two-year low.

But during an explosive interview with LBC 97.3’s James O’Brien, Mr Duncan-Smith was questioned about the reliability of the figures and the effectiveness of government policy for getting more people back to work. 

Listen to the amazing exchange in full below


His blog - explaining the reluctance with which he took on the interview is also well worth a read

I did this because in recent months I have been trying desperately to work out whether he genuinely believes in things that I, and many others, find almost surreally implausible or whether he is, in fact, knowingly delivering rancid and divisive policies to the people while dressing them up as deserved assaults on the feckless and the workshy.

Whether. for example, he really believes that the relationship 500,000 job vacancies and 2.5 million jobseekers is somehow addressed by making some of the latter do unpaid work in the hope of equipping them with what is needed to fill some of the former.

And whether, when his own Department categorically refutes the claim that its schemes cast benefits as remuneration for labour, he really sees no dissonance or contradiction when he talks of people being 'paid' with JSA to do 'work experience'.

Whether he is being wilfully deceitful when he talks of graduates 'looking down' on shelf-stacking when what they object to is doing it for far less than 'minimum' wage under threat of losing their only income if they don't.

And, more than anything, whether he recognises that his Government's ludicrous narrative of flat screen televisions and closed curtains inevitably tars all unemployed people with the same brush of ill-informed bitterness. And, if he does, whether he genuinely sees it as some sort of 'necessary evil' or whether it is conscious and deliberate 'divide and rule' tactics.