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Saturday, 28 July 2012

The ongoing debate about targets and quotas

This is prompted by:

Quite right that we take every possible opportunity to point out the flaws, inconsistencies and errors in the Government’s welfare programme, but don’t forget how thick-skinned and lacking in integrity it is.  Grayling et al will attempt to argue the statistical toss here and their underlying altruistic intensions in their usual disingenuous manner until they back themselves into the inevitable corner at which point they will have no qualms about changing their tack completely.  They have recently done exactly this with WCA audio recording. 
Much of this is post decision rationalisation – they decided long ago what they wanted to achieve and since have desperately being trying to find a way of supporting it.  I have yet to find one single aspect of the changes they have implemented that is GENUINELY evidence-based.  If you take the trouble to look closely and challenge, the truth is that for example:
·         There is no evidence to support descriptor changes or the correlation they assume between ‘typical day’ activities and capability to hold down a job.
·         The research they rely on is at best inconclusive, at worst argues AGAINST their proposition.
·         The reports they quote usually start with a disclaimer, even when they have commissioned them : “ These views are those of the author(s), not necessarily . . . . .
·         The organisations and “experts” they cite may well have been consulted, but most certainly have NOT signed off the end result and do not therefore necessarily support it.
·         Etc.
It is of course a thinly veiled charade to hide what is nothing other than a political dogma – they will not say outright that we are all benefit scroungers, but will happily construct a regime based on the belief that we are.  If there was a genuine scientific basis for their approach, they would not have to approach it in such and underhand and deceitful way (the hypothetical wheelchair is an absolute classic!).  If they genuinely believe that I am able to work, want to work and the “system” is preventing me, why adopt such a heavy-handed, autocratic, prescriptive, we-know-best philosophy?  Why not just ask me what I’d like to do and help me do it?  Why not build a process based on early consensus rather than one based on conflict and intimidation?  It is obviously because you don’t trust me.
There do not have to be specific targets – the Government’s overall message is perfectly clear.  If in doubt declare FFW – you may be wrong, but we’ll sort that out later.  The end justifies the means and the amount of collateral damage along the way is perfectly acceptable!!

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