Tuesday, January 15, 2008

False Comfort

Sure, I'm a British citizen

A National Insurance number is a turnkey. Once you've got one you can find legal employment, you can access a whole raft of state welfare benefits, and you can "prove" who you are.

So you'd expect the government to take the utmost care over dishing them out.

Well, no. You wouldn't really expect that because you know the government is totally incapable of taking the utmost care over anything.

Tonight we learn that it was Hopeless Hain's department - the infamous DWP - that was responsible for all those illegal immigrants getting jobs in the private security industry. Whereas our low-grade Home Sec blamed it all on incompetent/dodgy private security industry employers, the truth is the illegals only found jobs because the DWP had already furnished them with NI numbers. Even though they were illegal immigrants.

Even worse, the DWP has known about this for years. Regular readers may recall two years ago when the Department of Work and Pensions Chief Economist told the Home Affairs Committee that Jobcentre staff routinely issue National Insurance numbers to all-comers, whether or not individuals can prove legal British nationality. He said:

"It is not about ascertaining whether someone is legally in the country or has the right to work."

It's two parallel worlds. Out here, we all think a NI number means the holder has satisfied all the necessary official checks and has been approved as kosher. But inside the state bureaucracy it's just another bit of Stuff of no particular significance whatsoever.

They dish them out to all-comers: not only illegals, but also that hole-in-the-wall granny who scammed £2.4m in benefits for non-existent/dead claimants. And they carelessly dump them in their thousands and millions onto unencrypted data discs they then manage to leave at bus-stops. Or somewhere.

Client comfort- zero.

Just one word of advice. Never, EVER, trust anything the government tells you.

And never, EVER, trust the government with anything important.

That's two.

Two words of advice.

PS Heard the BBC's head Mark Thompson this morning telling us how the BBC has a responsibility to restore trust in the State. Apparently only 6% of us believe our rulers are on the level, and the BBC has an immensely important role in persuading us otherwise (also see this blog). He could start by giving me my money back.