The life of a jobseeker is not that of a bon viveur. It wasn't when I graduated amid a deep recession, nor is it today. Still, there was once a basic dignity in it if you were making an effort. Not for much longer it would seem.
In a world where the Mail points out the failures in a flagship Tory policy and the Guardian falsely eulogises it, it is hard to get a handle on the world around us.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), bane of the lives of unemployed people, has refused a legitimate request for information from a BBC reporter.
Not satisfied with canning the lowest rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care, or reducing the distance one can walk from 50m to 20m in order to be able to qualify for its successor benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP)...
It's essential that the Universal Credit project is moved along, and an unchanged ministerial team at the DWP in today's reshuffle shouldn't mean an unchanged approach to this reform. Universal Credit needs action and clarity now, not the obfuscation and posturing we've seen in recent months.
Hated work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith survived the Tory night of the long knives to keep his cabinet job. But in a move which is more about presentation than policy, employment minister and Smith deputy Esther McVey will also attend cabinet meetings.
Where does Ed Miliband sit, then, in comparison with other recent leaders of the opposition? On some measures, the leader with the most similar figures is Michael Howard. Ed Miliband scores better than William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, but this is hardly comforting news.
Cameron's sincerity isn't the issue here though - in this instance it isn't unfair to say he has none, it's political manoeuvring at its most palpable. The real question is whether it is in the church's best interests to succumb to his seductive eulogy.
It's time politicians of all parties commit to being accurate and respectful when talking about benefits and those supported by them. It's vital they do more to understand the real lives and challenges people face by refusing to promote harmful stereotypes.
Of course, Labour have been quick to criticise Mr Duncan Smith but the strength of the UK labour market - with record numbers of people in work, accompanied by dramatic falls in the number of the UK's unemployed - is plain evidence that his reforms are having an impact.
Those who believed the government had exhausted its supply of welfare-demonising policies were in for a cruel shock as the Tories reached down the back of the sofa and pulled out another billy club.
The fact that the most ambitious welfare reforms since 1945 are struggling to achieve their policy objectives should concern anyone who cares about building a better society. We need a more nuanced and supportive approach to reforming welfare - one which takes into account the variety of individuals circumstances and capabilities
There has been some confusion between the overall spending cap and the individual benefit cap which came into force last September. The latter has an automatic effect on a single person whose total weekly benefit income reaches £350, and a couple or anyone with children whose income reaches £500.
It's in the interest of the taxpayer to make it difficult for those who need to to jump through the benefits hoops. However, this goes further than that. This is a system in need of immediate, wholesale reform. IDS has worked to make the whole jobseeking process online, which is great, but putting an old-fashioned bureaucracy onto the internet isn't the same as modernising it.
Child poverty costs this country £29billion a year, and will rise to £35billion by 2020 if the projections prove accurate. Other countries are doing far better on the existing - internationally recognised - measures. It's not the child poverty targets that are 'discredited', but the government's approach to meeting them.
This week's Child Poverty Strategy will set the course for the next three years - taking us halfway to the target date. There is no silver bullet for ending child poverty, and the strategy needs to work on a number of fronts.