Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

We all Pay Your Benefits, Nick and Margaret.

Outside Silent Street Job Centre: so near but so Far!

‘Nick and Margaret’ did a programme based in Ipswich last night.

It was called We all Pay Your Benefits.

The I (newspaper of choice for the unemployed, 20 pence a throw) said most of what you need to know in its preview.

“You don’t have to Marxist to feel slightly uneasy about the class politics of billeting the low-paid, tax-paying employed with the long-term unemployed with an exercise top see whether the latter really are lording it on benefits, as some would have us believe

It smacks of divide-and-rule between the deserving and undeserving poor. – especially with the current and former judges on The Apprentice, Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford, as Olympian overseers.”

We were contacted about this programme.

‘Nick’ (I think, I had no idea of who he was since I’ve never watched the Apprentice) )  phoned me.

He described what it involved: groups of the in-work talking to the out-of-the-work about what they think benefits should be.

I declined  to be involved.

How right that decision was!

The whole think smacked of people telling other people how they should live their lives.

It began with the statement that this pair, Nick and Margaret, had worked all their lives.

Everyone should be like me!

It was soon worse than that, a really nosey-parker festival.

I soon flipped back to Frost on my fifty metre telly and went back to me tin of caviare and bottle of Bolly.

Ho Ho!

Apparently this was only the first episode.

We expect the BBC to commission Jeremy Clarkson for a future show.

Fuller review here, by   tearing the programme apart.

35 Responses

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  1. I like to see a documentary where the unemployed pair up with people who are working so we could snoop around and pick their lifestyles to bits – who am I kidding – this would never be allowed – but for some reason it’s alright for the shoe to be on the other foot.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    • There was one comment that really stuck in my craw.

      I flipped back briefly and caught them commenting on a young Ipswich mother on benefits.

      ‘Nick’ said of her, “I’m sure she says, hand on heart, when she signs on that she really wants a job” (sarky voice).

      The contempt with which he made that remark of some ordinary woman living in the same town as this site made me decide not to continue to watch it.

      Andrew Coates

      July 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

  2. didnt go a lot on that programme at all.lecturing people on what to buy and eat stuck in my throat.

    all this is typical thatcherite “i am alright jack”,and programs like this are everyday people who shouldn’t be judging anybody,if anything it showed the ignorance of people to true facts,this coming form the likes of the press.

    with this jumped up view by “working people”,no wonder the country is in the state its in.


    July 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

  3. The sight of that foul woman who runs her own cleaning company berating the single Mum for buying whole chicken “when fillets are cheaper” and condemning her family pets as a “luxury item” sickened me beyond belief. It was bullying, pure and simple.

    The sanctimonious, vindictive, bullying harridan was wrong about the price of chicken too.

    I wonder just how many employees of her cleaning company are paid over the minimum wage, work more than a few paltry hours a week and don’t have to claim top up benefits to scrape by on?

    The programme was all about allowing those two loathsome, wealthy gits to maintain their media respectability whilst everyday bigots did their dirty work for them.

    I actually ran out of swear words whilst watching it.


    July 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm

  4. To a certain extent i feel these type of programmes are a good thing.

    Because the decent people out there who aren’t blinkered and who are fair minded see the shit they spew and see it for what it is. Pure bullshit.

    Of course the morons will always be taken in by the propaganda. Bigots will always be bigots. Pity the fools. Actually just ignore them. Bullies and bigots. And psychopaths, cannot leave them out. I laugh at them. I actually do. They are a joke and i still have enough spirit left to smile.

    They wouldn’t have someone like me on their TV programme. They wouldn’t let such an articulate rebel on the screen. Mind you, they are great at editing you to look bad whatever you say. I wouldn’t bother myself, makes one wonder where they get these people from to take part. They cannot be paying them, can they?

    That would affect their benefit. Maybe they get a free TV license for a year! Jokers all.

    Mr No

    July 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm

  5. Yesterday, after reading the Daily Mirror’s report on Nick and Margaret’s TV programme on the benefit system, but before I actually watched the programme, I wrote on this site: “This programme looks like a useful antidote to the frequent poison spewing out of the Tory tabloids against workshy benefit scroungers guilty of the moral disease of idleness”.

    It turned out to be nothing of the sort. There were a few sympathetic comments about the unemployed, but largely all the programme achieved was to promote the Victorian perspective about the deserving and undeserving poor.

    Apparently, the unemployed don’t deserve to eat chicken! What is the end product of that logic?

    Such opinionated claptrap does not deserve to be broadcast. I wonder who will ultimately win this on-going propaganda war when Broken Britain finally boils over?


    July 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    • I’m surprised at the Daily Mirror’s report.


      July 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm

  6. Surely if Liam is just about managing on minimum JSA, WITH his family backing him up, that would imply that minimum benefits by itself is not enough to cope on?

    Aeon Phoenix

    July 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm

  7. I’ve not seen it yet. But I’ve been told by WPP’s and previous work schemes and JCP and others: You’re on the dole so you have no right to be vegetarian or request vegetarian food.
    You can’t be a pacifist and we can send you to the military companies etc. You are not allowed to buy books or go to (at your expense) college. You’re not allowed to go to craft/textile groups. You can’t spend any spare time studying weird stuff like languages. You aren’t allowed to do disability sports. You can’t go off for a walk. You mustn’t leave the city even for a day. You can’t go to compete in sports. You can’t be given time to train in sports. You can’t have holidays. Etc.

    something survived...

    July 13, 2013 at 5:48 am

  8. The only positive thing that came out of that programme was that Nick and Margaret highlighted the fact that JSA claimants only count for 10% of the welfare budget.(actually it’s 2%)

    They also highlighted that pensioners take up the highest percentage of the welfare budget.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 13, 2013 at 9:19 am

  9. The government is s*it scared of upsetting the pensioners as they count on the grey haired vote at general elections.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

  10. I haven’t got a clue who these two sour-faced geriatric gits pictured are as I (thankfully) don’t own a TV set any more. That said, they’re my idea of what typical Daily Mail/Express readers look like – miserable, po-faced old reactionaries.

    Incidentally, who says austerity’s all bad? My library’s recently discontinued stocking those two aforementioned publications due to budget cuts. Yippie! There is a God.


    July 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

    • It aint in ipswich your library then

      darth vader

      July 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    • Did they have JCP ”minders” in the background


      July 15, 2013 at 11:46 am

  11. Lucy, I know people in Ipswich on benefits who work part-time for cleaning companies. They are in deep trtouble balancing their beneftis and wages. Noticed the show did not mention this.

    Andrew Coates

    July 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    • Wonderin when the show is next on if they’ll ask people on the work programme what they really think as long as the replies are guaranteed not to bring forth sanctions


      July 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

    • Yep, picked up on that straight away. It would be inconvenient to show an actual truth about an employer. Especially one like the bullying female employer featured in the programme.

      I too know individuals working in the care sector. Without exception, every one of them struggles badly. Zero contract hours, very low wages (sometimes below the NMW) all, have to claim LHA and CTS along with tax credits. Not one is living a lifestyle that takes them over the poverty line. One has got into trouble because of foul ups over tax credits too, which wasn’t her fault. It takes a monumental effort if you are claiming all three benefits, working on a seriously dodgy contract to keep abreast of all the changes of circumstances you will have to inform the paying authorities of. It costs too, postage and or waiting in line for hours with original documents to prove you are not defrauding the system. The stress is awful.

      All it takes is one dodgy employer not to verify one wage slip or to withhold it, and you can be doomed.

      I’m very glad that you didn’t participate in the programme Andrew, the picture you would have painted (if, they’d even agreed to record you) would have ended up on the cutting room floor and it would have been a waste of your effort.

      Integrity has always been in short supply in ambitious programme makers. It doesn’t look like it will ever change. Throw them coins, they will make the tune you want to hear and it doesn’t matter to them who they disparage or destroy in the process.



      July 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm

  12. I still think Yvette Cooper is sexy!

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    July 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

  13. let the halfwit’s carry on the tables all ways turn my friends.


    July 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

  14. oh the delusional ,rich have a bubble that when it bursts all others,crashes wnt look so bad will then all be in it together,the road ahead looks bright.


    July 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

  15. The Government weren’t s*it scared of upsetting this pensioner to be. When I took my last job after a short period of unemployment I thought Good this contract will take me up to my pension dat and then I won’t have to deal with the job centre ever again; whether I choose to work or not. Then they told me “sorry we are stealing your pension until u are 63” Funny when I started work at 16 I was told I could claim it at 60. I certainly did not expect to be signing on at 60 and being told what I can and cannot do by a load useless idiots!

    Carol Joyce

    July 14, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  16. Saw the programme this morning and in fairness thought only one of the employed people to shadow an unemployed family was what the programme should have been, unbiased. Sadly even the presenters couldn’t help themselves, all seemed to have a view mostly based on the past when work was plentiful.

    I noticed in one part where a woman states that volunteering isn’t real work, that the lad should get a real job. Clearly she is unaware of that for starters you have to attend an interview for it like a real job, if selected have to arrive at work on time everyday as even as a volunteer you can still be sacked just like a real job, you do the exact same work as paid staff and in certain cases do what they don’t do and so basically meaning the only difference is, one gets paid while the other doesn’t. Where was this presented on camera.

    This same person said everyone should start from the bottom and work their way up, it hasn’t been that way for over 2 decades and in earnest if it had never changed, the chances are our unemployment levels would be lower. In every shop she kept saying “Do you think hes over qualified” yet no employer or potential one on earth would ever say such a thing as it cant be used against you for not offering you the job. I don’t doubt their are employers who see the value of skilled employees but this woman fails to grasp the fundamentals of the word profit and that even employees are weighed up as when interviewing.

    Sainsburys, pound shop, you name the type, literally if they just treated the position they were offering as what it actually is then as soon as they were advertised they would be taken as im sorry retailers but your work is unskilled and requires hours, not weeks and months of training, nor does it need qualifications, what a waste of paper and educational resources that only serves to delay employment.

    Well I will keep watching this programme and see what develops as you never know, it might just shock us or maybe not.


    July 15, 2013 at 8:49 am

  17. On the day the cap on total benefits is introduced, IDS is once again in the huff with the BBC.

    Meanwhile, Cameron (too many tweets make a twit) blunders on Twitter with spoof IDS Account.

    Interested? Read on:



    July 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    • I wonder if journalists at the BBC realise that little things, like having to pay a percentage of Council Tax, means that our benefits have been cut – thanks to Porky Pickles.

      Andrew Coates

      July 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    • Here’s the full interview on BBC Radio 4 – Today. IDS spouting again!


      Obi Wan Kenobi

      July 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm

  18. Not seen the show.

    Interesting… Nick was a PR consultant before become a TV “personality” doing Channel 4’s Countdown … despite approx a year and a half presenting the show, hasn’t really naturally fitted in with the show. Poor presenting skills… something you would expect to come “natural” from someone working 2 decades in the PR industry. I am not much of a fan of countdown but if nothing is on TV I might decide to watch it… but since he started I cannot watch more than a few minutes… wonder if he will make it until end of the year?

    Margaret, an lawyer and academic (nothing significantly good), a doctor (not of medicine!) once divorced, you would think would know better…

    Universal Jobmatch

    July 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm

  19. “Even this tactic underplays DisabilityCare’s long-term function: to reclassify as many disabled people as possible as capable of employment. Those deemed able to work will no longer receive the disability support pension (DSP), but will be pushed onto far-lower Newstart unemployment benefits and pressured to take low-paid jobs.”



    July 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm

  20. “Under conditions of deepening social inequality and with social tensions rising, Britain’s ruling elite are trampling on fundamental democratic rights like their counterparts in the United States and across Europe.”



    July 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm

  21. Bearing in mind that IDS believes the bedroom tax is working, have a look at these figures:


    Bearing in mind that IDS believes the private sector is miraculously reducing unemployment, have a look at this report:


    Low paid and part-time jobs are not some miraculous cure to poverty.


    July 16, 2013 at 7:54 am

  22. The tories are just lying long enough to gain votes for the next elections, take the cheek of IDS for example, despite absolutely no evidence to back up his claim or not one he can legally admit to he still spouts 12000 people got work just like that on the account of the benefits cap. His reply just demonstrates his ability to be a liar and a bad loser, ” you cant prove me wrong either” as had I had approached him without stats/figures he would simply ignore me as would any politician as their whole game is based on stats.

    The stats watch dog called you out IDS, you have been found wanting again and oh the homeless figures are up im afraid as is rent arrears and food bank receivers so lie all you like as your going to be found out to be as useless as expected.


    July 16, 2013 at 10:58 am

  23. watching tonights episode and luv the way working people (good for them) say why should we get benefits for doing nothing basically just for being alive in this screwed up world – yet if they suddenly lost their jobs because the company decides to move faraway and then they have to claim benefits what would their comments be then??? and I would really luv a decent job ive been trying my ass off I don’t drink I don’t do drugs I don’t gamble I use my benefits as positive as possible in order to survive in this screwed up world. I wonder why the hell im here most the time. lets be honest we are the disease of this planet and we breed like maggots so the population is getting bigger and bigger so work aint available for everyone its a joke they say theirs loads of work their so why aint I getting feed back or interviews why?? these people on the tv really pi$$ me off .. grrrr annoyed by mp,s and workers negative comments…


    July 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm

  24. the bbc are just the government propaganda machine


    July 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

  25. I wonder if their come back to it later like the children documentary 7 up to see how these unemployed/ex unemployed people are getting on.

    If you noticed each claimant was carefully put with a person no doubt in relation to the claimants barriers to work, it was not random in any fashion, the odds of that are huge.

    I strongly suspect had the ex uni kid been put on the heating job, he wouldn’t have acted out as he did with the care job as I suspect would have the injured claimant once he worked out how much a qualified engineer gets. The problem with this however is that the truth is without an apprenticeship meaning being under 24 your be very hard pressed to get such a position without prior experience.

    In respect to the female claimant, had she had been put in a nursery environment which is quite a good place to place a mother with time constraints I again doubt she would have acted as she did.

    All this points towards a contrived piece of TV media hell bent on pointing out barriers that wouldn’t be barriers if placed in the right environment rather than concentrating on how many people apply for each position advertised which got all of a minute or two rather quietly then forgotten.

    This said isn’t most employment documentaries biased towards the unemployed these days.

    Lets face it that the tories have a BIG PROBLEM, how to hide their ever stagnant claimant count for the long term unemployed, how figures clearly demonstrate only those unemployed less than 1 year are being offered work, how despite positions being available that employers are just not hiring in any reasonable amount any long term unemployed claimants/people.

    Even in the case of the youth, this government has had to offer cash incentives to employers to lower the numbers, increase the leaving age from secondary education and from only what I hear so don’t read as red but government is trying to set up apprenticeships for youth offenders before their release.

    Post WP or not do expect to either be on a course or on a mandatory work activity labelled as training to be the issue of the day what with the tories absolutely desperate to lower that count before the coming elections.



    July 23, 2013 at 8:03 am

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