I'm of an age where I'm now able to look back - as one of the lucky souls dragged into the New Deal program - to sit up and wonder exactly what the Hell it was all about. After I left Uni, I had that familiar problem of being overqualified and under experienced. There were jobs about, but none of the swines would take me. I knew there was this thing called New Deal fast approaching after six months on the dole, and oh my God, what an insight into the lives of the underclass it was.
I was told it would be something relevant to my job aims; imagine my dismay, then, when a few weeks into it I was (as a twenty-something, well educated kid from a poor area who'd done his best to drag himself up from out of the gutter) being made to play musical chairs with a bunch of brainless, tracksuited, drugged up lunatics.
Yes, your taxpayers money had me playing musical fucking chairs.
The rest of the time they had us doing "dance routines" (please, don't ask) so the chavved up sluts in tracksuits could pretend they were on X-Factor, or leaving the mindless wonders to fill up the PCs with about as much dodgy porn as it's possible to cram onto a computer without breaking it.
"You don't want to do this because you're too picky, you think this is beneath you!" one of the "tutors" said.
Damn right, fatty.
It was my first contact up-close and personal with thuggish louts for a sustained length of time - chavs would shag in the toilets upstairs, one guy would come in coked off his head with the 120 quid a week they paid us (to do nothing at all) and punch a hole in the ceiling (which was of course left for months), others would get into fights....I myself was threatened many times and had at least one stand off with a feral loon who thought I was "looking at him funny".
Bar a lucky few, every single person in that place had severe mental problems. It was a Vaudevillian freakshow come alive, where everyone smelled of pasties as a bonus.
It was really just a dumping ground for thugs and layabouts that the system had no way of handling, and sadly for people who fell through the cracks, they were forced to put up with it for a while and hope they didn't get their head stoved in. 120 quid a week for six months, which would simply be pissed up a wall each friday at the nearest boozer. If anyone did get a REAL job during those six months, it had absolutely fuck all to do with New Deal, I can tell you that much.
It always makes me laugh whenever I hear people say how much of a "success" New Deal was at getting people "out of unemployment and into jobs". They weren't jobs. They had us playing musical fucking chairs to get us off the Dole and fiddle the figures.
Bastards. Utter bastards.