Iain Duncan Smith appeared in front of the work and pensions committee of MPs yesterday, but decided against illuminating them - and us - about his work. His Universal Credit scheme, widely recognised to be failing due in great part to his poor management and lack of financial acumen, was the main item on the agenda.
Unemployment has shown a big fall in the last three months and now stands at 7.1% of the working population. But coverage of the issue has focused on the likely result of this fall on interest rates. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has said he will not raise interest rates, which have been stuck at 0.5% since 2009, until unemployment drops to 7%.
The one apparent bright spot, the fall in unemployment, came with more caveats than the average party election manifesto. More are working part-time only because they can't find full-time work while those earning less than premiership footballers have lost hundreds more pounds this year as wages still haven't kept pace with inflation.
The separation between government and civil service is a vital one. Governments come and go, but the civil service is permanent, and only works when it stands apart and acts as a bulwark against the worst excesses of politicians. So a press release that found on the Department of Work and Pensions website on Monday tips over an invisible but vital line of trust.
There was a brief moment in On Benefits & Proud which showed Heather's two dogs, a tiny Chihuahua and another ten times its size. The big one appeared to be happily co-existing with the small one and looking after it. It was not hard to imagine the show's producers, and Channel 5 itself, being disappointed at the care shown for the weak.
Those who read newspapers or listen to politicians are fed the same diet of anti-claimant rhetoric which bears little resemblance to the grinding reality of life on the dole, which provides only poverty-level income and vulnerability. So here are seven truths about benefits and joblessness to help balance the debate...
The government has launched a consultation on its welfare-to-work programmes, and UnemployedNet is responding on behalf of workless people. We want your opinions to help us tell the government why and how their schemes, including the Work Programme, Work Choice, work experience schemes and others, need changing.
I am sure you of all people do not need to be reminded that people claiming JSA or any other benefit to which they are entitled are not criminals, that jobcentre staff and benefits advisors are not their parole officers, and that the nation's benefits system was brought into being after a hard fought struggle by previous generations of trade unionists and working class men and women in this country to ensure a minimum of protection and justice for working people in periods of economic turbulence, ill health or any other crisis which might occur in their lives.
Ukip opposes any kind of aspiration-killing policy, such as Labour's oft repeated dream of punitive taxation, because it does not drive people to want to better themselves, thus killing social mobility and innovation. Ukip wants people from all backgrounds to have the chance to be more socially mobile.