In recent weeks a number of celebrity pundits have taken up the cudgel with which to bash young Cait, for having had the audacity to challenge the Government for compelling her to undertake forced labour in return for her dole money. Cait told The Guardian:
"I expected criticism, but some of the comments about me have been hurtful as well as inaccurate. Jan Moir's attack in the Daily Mail, for example, overlooked the fact that I was not paid for the work I carried out and implied that I believed such work, as well as Poundland itself, to be beneath me. This is not the case - I would grab a paid job in Poundland with both hands. Similarly, Vanessa Feltz attempted to humiliate me on the radio."
Now the Mayor of London, ex-'Buller' and pampered old Etonian Boris Johnson, has entered the affray accusing unemployed Cait of 'sneering' at "millions of hard-working Brits by saying the unpaid work she did (for 'Poundland') was forced labour." He also added: "It's just amazing. She shouldn't feel above it."
Boris who as Lord Mayor of London is up for election in May, also took a swipe at 'Feckless Brits' on the dole who he believes are out of work because they lack the 'energy and appetite' for it. He sees the thousands of foreigners who work in places like 'Pret a Manger' (French for 'ready to eat') the British sandwich retail chain, hotels, coffee shops and fast food outlets, as a shining example that unemployed Brits need to learn from.
In an interview with Rupert Murdoch's 'Sun' newspaper, this horny-handed son of toil, recalled his first job as a trainee reporter on The Times newspaper.
"I remember when I first got a job, I could not believe how hard everybody had to work. I couldn't believe having left university that it really did mean getting up that early and working at week-ends. It's not forced labour - she'll learn from it."
Unlike jobless Cait, it is unlikely that Boris Johnson will ever need to use a Jobcentre, fill-in a job application form or work for his dole, because of his social and political connections. Upper-class twits like Boris, who don`t have a clue about the real world of work, usually go from one arranged job to another.
Former 'shelf-stacker' turned Daily Mail columnist, Jan Moir, was even more scathing about Cait in her column on 13 January. She believes Cait is "off her trolley" and ought to be in "Cloud-cuckoo-land rather than Poundland". Ms. Moir told her readers:
"Under a government scheme designed to encourage the long-term unemployed back into work, Reilly was told that she had to leave the museum for a temporary stint at Poundland - and that she risked losing her £54 a week Jobseekers Allowance if she turned down the unpaid work experience, which involved stacking shelves and sweeping floors. Instead of meekly going to work at the discount chain, she went to law."
Though young Cait was doing unpaid voluntary work in a museum at the time the placement at 'Poundland' was foisted upon her by the Jobcentre and was seeking gainful employment, the former shelf-stacker was not impressed. She informed her readers:
"Don`t forget that she is doing unpaid work at the museum because she wants to - not because she has to."
Having explained that Reilly and her lawyer Jim Duffy, say that forcing her to do this kind of unpaid menial work amounts to slave labour and was against her human rights, Moir then issued a dire warning to young people like Cait, who stick up for themselves:
"Life is not going well for geology graduate Cait Reilly. And shall I be the first to tell her? It is just about to get a whole lot worse ... Believe me, such a pinched sense of entitlement at this nascent stage of her career will not endear her to many putative employers."
Many of our readers will not be surprised to learn that in 2009, Ms. Moir was awarded the "Stonewall Bigot of the Year Award" after reporting on the death of the 'Boyzone' singer Stephen Gately. Nevertheless, what Ms. Moir and Boris Johnson fail to mention, is that though Ms. Reilly was guaranteed a job interview by her Jobcentre, she didn't get an interview with Poundland. Moreover, she's also made it perfectly clear that the nature of the work was not a problem and that she would have been happy to do it, had she had a say in it and if she had been paid to do it.
Like many other young people on the Government's so-called work programme, Cait Reilly says that doing unpaid work for a major high street store, left her feeling 'useless and demeaned' and does nothing to build on young peoples' skills nor does it tackle the causes of long-term unemployment. To be unemployed today, is seen as some sort of misdemeanour which requires harsh and intrusive treatment. As Ms. Reilly pointed out in her article in The Guardian, some people on the Government's work programme, will have to do unpaid work for up to 6 months - longer than the unpaid work done by criminals given a community service order. This model of work-for-your-dole is now being securely built into the economy and as John Harris pointed out in The Guardian last August:
"Jobcentre advisers are now being told that if a company has no vacancies for a young jobseeker, they should be 'pushy' about the possibility of an unpaid placement."
Jim Duffy, from Public Interest Lawyers in Birmingham, told the Daily Mail that the government had created without Parliamentary authority a complex array of schemes that allowed Jobcentres to force people into futile, unpaid labour for weeks and months at a time and added:
"We have no problems with Government schemes that increase the chances of people getting employment - that is the key to combating the current economic crises - but these 'work-for-benefit schemes have been proven to do nothing other than increase the cycle of unemployment and poverty..."