A jobseeker’s shame and worries about peak Corbyn…

IN the spirit of mixing unconnected stories, this morning I bring you naked cleaners and partially clothed local election results.

The cleaners are the subject of a story in the Daily Mirror, while the local election results are shared by all.

The Mirror reports that an unnamed Yorkshire woman in her 30s was outraged when she saw on a government website an advert for a company employing naked cleaners.

The woman, who is on Jobseeker’s Allowance, was said to be “embarrassed and distressed” by seeing the advert, saying: “I thought that sort of attitude of the objectification of women was in the past.”

The unlikely sounding job was for work with a company called Fantasy Cleans – “cleaners with a difference”. Now I have had the average amount of sexual fantasies, at a guess, but not one of them has entailed hiring a cleaner who sets to work wearing only rubber gloves and a smile.

The jobseeker alerted her MP, Labour’s Naz Smith, who tells the Mirror: “My constituent, a single woman on Jobseeker’s Allowance, facing extreme financial hardship, drew our attention to the advert on the government’s own job search platform.”

People who sign up for that benefit are expected to spend hours trawling job websites to prove they have made sufficient effort for their meagre benefit. It is a demeaning and wearying process, as I can testify from a miserable five or six weeks doing just that in my post-redundancy life.

I’ve no idea how such an advert makes it onto a government platform, but at a guess it’s because nobody other than the poor sods who are required to trawl the job ads ever looks closely at the website.

By the by, our kitchen floor could do with a clean. You will be relieved to hear I intend to remain fully dressed when doing that bit of domestic drudgery.

With the local election results coming in, the consensus seems to be that the Conservatives had a slightly better night than expected, while Labour had a slightly worse night than expected. A sort of political nil-nil when Labour had been talking up something featuring more goals.

In its round-up of the day’s stories, the Guardian calls on the headline: “Have we passed peak Corbyn?” This refers to something said on the BBC election programme by Justine Greening, Tory MP and former education secretary – “Maybe we are beginning to see something akin to peak Corbyn happening.”

As someone almost once said a long time ago: “Well, she would say that, wouldn’t she?”

Here are two thoughts about those local election results:

ONE: Yes, hitting peak Corbyn was always going to be a danger. While the Labour leader is strong on the stump, great at stirring a crowd – and while some of his policies have broad appeal – he is faced with a long slog before he gets to use those skills in another election. Nearly a year after his markedly better than expected defeat, his dull but dogged opponent is slogging on, loved by few but marginally ahead in the polls.

TWO: If life is local, then there is something galling about reading all the interpretations of the local election results in terms of what they mean for Corbyn or Mrs Maybe. Yes, last night’s local elections – which weren’t taking place around here – are the first big test for Theresa May after that unnecessary election of last year. But they involved local people voting, if they bothered at all, for local candidates who represent them on local matters. It’s a shame that the only time national media people become interested in local politics is when they can spin a national story from local yarn.


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