So, I became unemployed again from the 1st September 2014.
I filled in my application for JSA online and descended to the upper level of the newly renovated jobcentre with a bit more caution this time round. The interviewer was an unnervingly nice guy who appeared to be genuine and sincere and even spoke to me with respect as though I was a human being and so was he.
Maybe I had just been unlucky last time in being accidentally allocated an intellectually challenged, ill-tempered pre-cambrian monocellular lifeform as my advisor. I began to allow myself to think positively, but like a london cabbie at a metaphysical relativists convention, the whining voice of realism in the back of my mind kept bringing me back down to Earth.
Then sure enough- just like the last time, after making my claim, thinking I’d satisfied all the requirements, ticked all the boxes, applied for free school meals for the kids, been to sign on again and waited- nothing happened. Two weeks after making my original claim I received this characteristically unhelpful example of correspondence from the DWP.
Now someone at the DWP, someone who works in communications, is very proud of this letter template. It achieves three things which although unremarkable individually, when implemented simultaneously with such masterful precision clearly demonstrate the skill and efficiency with which the DWP goes about achieving its aims.
Its success is in first gaining control of the readers mental and emotional state which is then subjected to a violent psychological assault. The genius however is in achieving this so efficiently as to provide no real useful informational content. This means that the reader is brought to a state of alarm which then grows in intensity while he is compelled to keep reading and re-reading the seemingly simple sentences multiple times searching in vain for a clue as to what the correspondence is actually telling him.
Yet this is not all. The violence of the emotional attack and the lack of any useful information or apparent cohesiveness would not in themselves provide any defense against the intelligent analysis of the most sophisticated reader able to retain enough emotional stability so that the sharpness of his intellect might be employed to reveal the underlying banality of the missive. The faculties of even the greatest minds are however invariably thwarted when the smokescreen of ambiguity and scattering effect of the multiple irrelevances are encountered for the first time. Even seasoned veterans of of the system are sometimes left wondering if maybe on closer inspection there might have been some important quantum of information lurking within the confusion but understand the hazards of disorientation which would almost certainly defeat them if they were to read any further than their NI number before tossing such things directly into the bin.