The Spectator, Lord Freud, and Kentucky Fried Chicken
Two years ago, investment banker David Freud produced a report about reforming the welfare state to reduce unemployment. It was widely praised by the political class, and David Freud is now both a Lord and a shadow minister for the Conservative Party.
The only tiny problem is that his ideas and proposals don't work. As the Spectator magazine, one of Freud's biggest supporters, put it, "recent findings suggest that the Freud-prescribed workfare measures aren't working quite as well as many hoped they would as the downturn takes hold". One of their comments summed up the problem:
"The market, at least in the face of an economic downturn, has rejected Freud's model of welfare provision. I've always advocated letting these companies[private companies which deliver welfare services] go to the wall if and when they failed but that has consequences of its own.
The Conservative welfare plans aren't worth the paper they're written on at the moment because they and Freud assumed the boom times for ever model and all the costings were based on that."
Happily, the intellectual titans at the Spectator magazine are not discouraged at being mugged by reality and by the discovery that the policies they have championed have turned out to be an expensive flop. They have two new ideas to help reduce unemployment:
1. There should be a second Freud Review to 'refine' Freud's original vision in light of the changed economic circumstances and "reassure welfare-to-work providers about the Tories' direction of travel".
2. The Tories should learn from the private companies which are creating new jobs, to find the secret of their success. Such as, um, KFC.
So the Tory policies on unemployment aren't worth the paper that they are written on, and the best advice their supporters can come up with are to get an investment banker-turned-Lord to have do another report after the first one proved a disaster, and to get policy advice from Kentucky Fried Chicken. I'm not completely convinced that is the best way to help people get jobs.