PDA

View Full Version : Emma Harrison & a4e



DannyL
25-02-2012, 09:59 AM
Is anyone else following this? It's giving me a major sense of schadenfreude. She's now quit as Chair of the company, following quitting as Cameron's "Families Tsar" (hate that phrase). Speculation suggests this is because some major shit is about to hit the fan, when the fraud investigations get going.

I think it's interesting because it reflects badly on Cameron (again! Doesn't seem to pick his friends very well), and damages the case for private provision of what were formerly state services - in this he's reaping the fruits of situations created by Nu Lab. What seems to happen when private companies get involved isn't simply magical improvements in services, for minimal outlay, but more akin to a feeding frenzy at a trough (she paid herself 8.2m last year) with no basic changes in the situations they're supposed to improve - in fact a4e are on record as doing markedly worse than job centres etc. Any lucky soul here had first hand experience of their "services"?


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/24/emma-harrison-quits-chairman-a4e

DannyL
25-02-2012, 10:01 AM
Polly Toynbee provided quite a good skewering of the company last year: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/04/benefits-bonanza-big-serco-welfare

comelately
25-02-2012, 11:11 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/25/a4e-welfare-emma-harrison-properties

I think the revelations are going to pile up. I think there's a small chance Emma Harrison actually goes down, and her publicity seeking will lead to her downfall as she becomes the most obvious scapegoat for something that is much bigger than her.

Despite BBC efforts to make it look like a Socialist Worker thing, the Tesco unpaid worker thing has hit a nerve. People 'get' that schemes like this have taken overtime and Xmas work away from the low-paid, and know full well that most of these jobs don't require weeks of training and shadowing - or even days in most cases.

DannyL
26-02-2012, 08:10 AM
Her going down obviously depends on some kind of corruption being linked directly to her, and I'd be surprised if it's that systematic, that far up the chain - though one never knows. Re. her publicity seeking, a comment I read somewhere said "she seeks publicity, like a burning plane seeks the ground".

The real question to me is will it throw the whole nature of the privatisation of state services into doubt? Will private companies continue "helping" the unemployed back into work, with a4e being "one bad apple"? I'd imagine so, sadly.

comelately
26-02-2012, 09:51 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/25/a4e-welfare-emma-harrison-properties

crackerjack
26-02-2012, 10:09 AM
The real question to me is will it throw the whole nature of the privatisation of state services into doubt? Will private companies continue "helping" the unemployed back into work, with a4e being "one bad apple"? I'd imagine so, sadly.

Yes, the second one, I'd guess.



Despite BBC efforts to make it look like a Socialist Worker thing, the Tesco unpaid worker thing has hit a nerve. People 'get' that schemes like this have taken overtime and Xmas work away from the low-paid, and know full well that most of these jobs don't require weeks of training and shadowing - or even days in most cases.


I don't think you're gonna be able to link the two in the public mind. Last week's Question Time was hideous yes, what do you expect from Tonbridge Wells, but still when they got onto the 'work experience' scheme, with 4 of the 5 panellists (incl Simon Schama, which surprised me) and almost all of the audience in favour. What was clear from hearing them talk is that they see it more as a form of character-building national service than actual work experience. The idea that high street chains (incl banks! remember those bad guys?) might adjust their staffing levels to accommodate the stream of free labour the government is planning to send them was treated as some wild conspiracy.

comelately
26-02-2012, 11:01 AM
That's pretty depressing, though the BBC has really been awful in their coverage of welfare reform generally. I think the two things are linkable in the public mind, I hope that audience isn't representative - but I guess we will see.

baboon2004
26-02-2012, 11:54 AM
A friend was talking to me last night about how right wing Newsnight was the other night, while i was being upbeat about the fact that even in the Telegraph and Mail there have been anti-government articles running lately. I think the thing is that BBC is the state broadcaster, so is always going to be invested in what the government does, however much they present themselves as unbiased. Their coverage of the riots was abhorrent, more right-wing than Sky, for example.

"What was clear from hearing them talk is that they see it more as a form of character-building national service than actual work experience." - terrifying, isn't it. The number of people who actually believe that hardworking = morally good (whatever work you're doing, even if it is pretty actively evil/just being a servant of the rich), is one of the scariest things - it allows the govt/many others to dehumanise those who're perceived to be/painted as lazy, a drain on the nation etc etc

Surely A4e will keep the contract now that Harrison has gone, because the logistics of transferring the whole thing are just too immense? Mind you, it's not as though there's much expertise to replace.

crackerjack
26-02-2012, 12:09 PM
A friend was talking to me last night about how right wing Newsnight was the other night

I wouldn't call Newsnight right-wing they employ the peerless Paul Mason, for instance but they certainly like their loopy right-wing guests. Probably cos they're good Twitter bait.

crackerjack
26-02-2012, 03:17 PM
After suggestions in the Mail a week or so back that the workfare policy was Nazism, its Sunday sister has gone the other route.

There's a hateful piece today blaming the scuppering of this noble dream on the SWP and Guardian hack Shiv Malik, who appears to be some kind of Islamic fundamentalist :rolleyes:

sufi
26-02-2012, 07:08 PM
i've been following the story via:
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/
they have an e=petition too http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29356

baboon2004
26-02-2012, 11:57 PM
I wouldn't call Newsnight right-wing – they employ the peerless Paul Mason, for instance – but they certainly like their loopy right-wing guests. Probably cos they're good Twitter bait.

No, me neither as a whole - it's one presenter in this example being objectionable, about workfare as I recall. Same with newspapers, they don't have a homogenous viewpoint because of the variety of journalists who wirte for them (staff and freelance). it would make sense though that the BBC is ultimately more establishment than any daily paper, given what it is.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2106601/Tories-order-police-halt-workfare-demos-MP-makes-formal-protest-BBC-bias-favour-hard-Left-militants.html - of course, the DM is back on Nazi slave labour form now...