Policy Meeting

GCSE Politics syllabus. Section 27.”How Policy is Made”.

Conservative Central Office, late September.

A number of eager, bright-eyed, floppy-haired young SpAds, are hunched around a table in discussion. They’re clearly here for the long haul, because there are numerous cups, saucers & half-empty plates of biscuits on the table. In short, this is the detritus of a meeting that has been in progress for some time. These young guns work for Iain Duncan-Smith, and they’ve been wracking their brains trying to put together a compelling offering for his upcoming turn at the Party Congress Conference.

“Well, clearly, baldy’s speech at conference is in a few days. We know the Chancellor’s going to cut benefits, and he is going to want something that will grab the twinset and blue rinsers in the audience. Now, we already have the pre-paid benefit card idea, but I’m not sure that’s going to be enough.”

“It’s a start though, isn’t it? I mean, Ollie there was at school with one of the chaps who put together the tender for the preferred bidder for the card contract. Bloody good bloke, isn’t he Olls?”

“Totes. I even got a go on his sister at Henley, last year. I had to give him my sister’s number, though. Don’t think she was all that pleased, tbh.”

“Still, the point of the benefits card is to make claimants visible, and to stigmatise them into getting a job. It might make paying them easier, but what we really want is for being a benefits claimant to be properly shameful again, just like the old days when the unwashed knew their place, Indolent feckless layabouts that they are. The card is a start”

“Maybe we could make them wear a uniform too?  I love those orange ones the Yanks use. Lovely colour. And a friend of Pa’s supplies them to the US government. Maybe you could give him a call?”

“Nice idea, but no. Too pricey right now. The redtops would have a field day; We’d never get it to float with the austerity story we’ve been told to hammer home, even if we try to go with the Law & Order line.”

“How about hi-vis tabards, like the ones the DoJ use with offenders?”

“No then you wouldn’t be able to tell a feckless scrounger from a parking attendant. Wouldn’t want to risk your F-Type now, would you?”

“I didn’t know you could tell the difference anyway.”

“Nice one, Gyles!”

“How about badges? They’re quite cheap and we can make them fairly big, can’t w?. Maybe we can embed a chip in them too, so they can wear their payment card for easy use? And that way they’d need to wear it all the time, too.”

“Brilliant!”

“So what will this badge look like?”

“Well, apparently, some awful bright science spod at a dreadfully dull drinks party was telling me that human eyesight is better with certain colours and frequencies. We supposedly have best sensitivity somewhere around 540nm or something. I didn’t get it all, but he sounded terribly sure when he said it, so it must be true.”

“So what colour’s that then?

“Green, or yellow. somewhere round there, anyway.”

“Oh dear . Green’s a big no-no at the mo. Apparently DC’s not so keen on anything green any more. Says it sends the wrong message.”

“Ok, so green’s out. That leaves us with the yellow. Bit LibDem for my liking, but it’ll have to do. What about shape?”

“It needs to be distinctive, and fairly simple.”

“We could do round. Put a smiley on it?”

“Hmm. Possibly. Though that might send out mixed messages. You know, that they’re happy to be the way they are, or that we’re just, you know, taking the piss somewhat. Might annoy Owen Jones, though. Fun, yes, but possibly awkward for IDS to explain on the TV with Brillo-pad Neil”

“Well, seeing as the proles are all obsessed with the X-Factor and being a pop star, why not make them star-shaped, so they can all be ‘stars’?”

“Brilliant, Alex! Tap into the popular culture vote, and they’ll even want to wear them too!”

“So, chaps, we’re agreed:  our conference proposal for IDS to make the new pre-payment cards for benefit claimants big, yellow star-shaped wearable contactless payment devices. It’s a winner! Lunch everyone? There’s a really amazing chi-chi place just over in Hammersmith”

[meeting adjourns due to Godwin’s Law]

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