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About media framing • (written by Brian Dean)

“War” on “scroungers”

"War" on "scroungers"Aug 28, 2011 – Regarding this familiar frame (‘Workers vs Scroungers’) the Express informs us that:

  • The number of “scroungers” has doubled “since the recession”.
  • The number of young “scroungers” has trebled “since 2008”.
  • A quarter of hardcore “scroungers” are “aged over 50”. (100,000 of whom lost their jobs at the start of the economic crisis).

That tells us something about the term “scroungers”.

What the Express describes as a “war” against “scroungers” in fact consists of proposals by the (no doubt) well-meaning IPPR, a “Labour-leaning think-tank” – to get the long-term unemployed into jobs. The IPPR says: “…we need as many people in work to maximise tax revenues. The Government should be aiming to increase the employment rate…”

We can separate the IPPR’s bizarre notions from the malign framing of the Express – but only to a degree. They both seem to frame work/jobs in ideological terms, although it’s less obvious with the IPPR. Does tax revenue need to come from created/subsidised human labour, rather than from, say, the currently untaxed zillions made with virtually zero labour in international finance (eg currency markets)?

(Note: the real “war” on the unemployed was revealed earlier this year in a Guardian report).

Alternative headlines:

Written by NewsFrames

August 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Express, Headlines, Jobs

3 Responses

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  1. I’m a “scrounger” from Australian. I’m currently “working-for-the-dole”, by which I mean I show up at the place they tell me to go to, and the supervisor spends most of her time desperately thinking up new tasks to busy me with, none of which accomplish ANYTHING. This is a great blog, I’d just like to point out some similarly ridiculous moral panics that my own country’s inane media likes jabbering on about. Just a few:

    Gangs of gypsies roaming around train stations or something to steal our children or whatever-


    That’s recent one.
    Also: Disgusting, worthless, shameful poor people cheating everybody out of everything-


    Pretty much the same story. Over and over.

    -Young people are violent and totally out of control and about to swallow up society unless something is done to stop them
    -Torrential floods of lazy, job stealing immigrants who just don’t understand how to be Australian,

    As I said. Same story, over and over.
    When I go outside though, all I hear are the birds chirping.


    August 30, 2011 at 2:00 am

    • Thanks for those links, mitchell. The fearmongering and the stuff on “welfare cheats” sounds exactly the same in Australia as here in UK. No doubt newspaper editors and proprietors learn from what’s effective, spin-wise, regardless of country…

      As for your second comment about it being made very clear in the workplace that it’s REQUIRED for you to take “pride in your work” – that mirrors my own experiences both on dole and in full-time work. And if you give any indication that you think they’re totally fucking insane, you’re obviously a threat or troublemaker or something…


      August 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

  2. You might find this funny. My work for the dole supervisor had the nerve to tell me that it was a REQUIREMENT that I take pride in my work, then looked puzzled when I laughed in her face.


    August 30, 2011 at 2:13 am

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