Last week's National Apprenticeship Week was full of discussion. We heard about the productivity gains of hiring apprentices, and concerns around the gender divide. We celebrated the amazing things apprentices have achieved, and heard from business leaders who are pledging to create more apprenticeships.
Signature Pictures is a London-based film production enterprise. Their #FutureFilm initiative suggested it was a good idea to offer Workfare volunteers roles on a short film. This way, the company would benefit from interns - the way nearly every production does anyway - and would produce a film that would give NEETs meaningful and constructive professional experience.
David Cameron's conference address may have been a long way from that sweaty room behind the church hall, but his tone was exactly the same: Overbearing, condescending, burnished with a membrane deep veneer of sincerity. We all know the world doesn't owe us a living Dave. We've been living in it all our lives.
As his lips curled around the stained mug and the hot mud water reached his throat, he wished for the umpteenth time that he had never said that he could easily live on £53 a week. Iain did not know exactly how many times he'd wished this. He just knew it was more than he'd had non-tea or abuse bricks thrown through the window.
The chaos at DWP knows no bounds. They've given us a Work Programme worse than doing nothing. Universal Credit is descending into universal chaos. And now the department has bodged its regulations so badly that a Court of Appeal judgement has struck down its general power to issue sanctions of any kind shape or form. Incredible.
Workfare is not only bad economics it is morally wrong. Workfare is a modern form of slavery. This may seem an extreme statement, for we tend to associate slavery with racial oppression, when black people were forced to work for white farmers. But slavery is not always racial and it is not always achieved by violence.
Potential MPs should only be able to stand as a candidate if they'd done a year long work placement (paid at the going rate, let's not stoop to their level). I don't care where - could be in a solicitors, could be in a cafe, but they should know that where they choose could affect the voters' choice.