I was watching my collection of 'Yes Minister' and 'Yes Prime Minister' recently when this clip
got me wondering. For those who don't wish to watch 5mins of the best political comedy ever, the view I am talking about follows:
(Sir Humphrey is the head of the civil service whilst Mr Kennedy is his interviewer. The interview has just 'finished')
Sir Humphrey: Was I alright?
Mr Kennedy: Couldn't you have said a bit more, especially about unemployment.
Sir Humphrey: Such as?
Mr Kennedy: Well the truth.
Sir Humphrey: (laughs)
Mr Kennedy: Why do you laugh?
Sir Humphrey: My dear Ludo nobody tells the truth about unemployment.
Mr Kennedy: Oh, why not.
Sir Humphrey: Because everybody knows you can halve it in a few weeks.
Mr Kennedy: But how?
Sir Humphrey: Cut off all social security to any claimants who refuses two job offers, there's genuine unemployment in the north but the south of England is awash with layabouts, many of them graduates, living off the dole and housing benefit. Plus quite a lot of cash that they pick up without telling anybody.
Mr Kennedy: You mean moonlighting.
Sir Humphrey: Well sunlighting really. Most employers will tell you they're short staffed, but offer the unemployed a street sweeping job or a dish washing job they'd be off the register before you could say parasite. Frankly this country can have as much unemployment as it's prepared to pay for in social security. And no politicians have got the guts to do anything about it.
This was written ove 20 years ago. What I want to know is do you think Sir Humphrey is right?