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Jun 09 2012

The difference between a Victorian Workhouse and the Jubilee River Pageant

Did you hear how a group of unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations last weekend and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant? They had to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday.

Nice.

Campaigner Peter Tatchell who protested the event with other Republicans writes about the lack of media balance in covering the jubilee. Oh well, no surprise there.

Whilst of course we were all happy to have two extra days off, had it been a strike for better wages or working conditions, we would have been bombarded with a stream of misinformation on how the country would never recover because of it. This past weekend we heard how this wasn’t costing us a penny. But even if the money – all £12 million of it – came from private funds (which is just not true), I can think of a whole lot of other things that money could have been used for. It’s called public need and welfare but that isn’t what the system is designed for, now is it?

Q. What’s the difference between a Victorian workhouse and workfare jubilee pageant stewardship?

A. The workhouse gave you a bed to sleep in.

Err, god save the queen?

(Via Jim H)

6 comments

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  1. 1
    northierthanthou

    I am Jack’s total lack of surprise.

  2. 2
    Pen

    Brits who want to find out more about this type of abusive free labour or would like to campaign against it can check out Boycott Workfare. You may be shocked to discover how many high street chains are offering a “work experience opportunity” that consists of doing unpaid menial labour.

  3. 3
    maddog1129

    you mean “republicans” (small “r”), i.e., people in favor of a republic, and not monarchists.

  4. 4
    Abdul Alhazred

    You seem to be missing the whole point of having a monarchy. :)

  5. 5
    Who Cares

    Good grief. Spending millions of pounds on that and then scrimping on the few thousand it would cost to place some tents and a portable toilet/shower facility.

  6. 6
    A nym too

    A lot of people still had to work over the Bank Holiday.

    About half of the calls my partner got, at work, started with “Oh, you’re open. Why are you working today?” Ugh.

    Workfare is disgusting exploitation. I’m devastated that Tesco uses it, we live out in the countryside, and have no other place to order shopping from.

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