Nobody has an absolute right to a dream job

Having once been a councillor in Slough, I tend to take offence at cheap jibes at the place and its people. But even so, I find it hard to see what Alexander Hay's complaint is about the New Deal ("It's all in your best interests, sonny", 17 July).

By his own admission, he lives near Slough, in one of the most prosperous parts of the country and where there is no shortage of unfilled jobs. By his own admission, he hasn't been able to get the media job he craves. So has he looked for something else? Apparently not. It would seem that he expects to be supported by other people's taxes until the job he wants comes along. Perhaps he should remember that some of these taxes come from the "flabby masses of uninterested condescension, in shabby M&S clothing and with unkempt hair" that he so obviously despises.

Perhaps it is time for Alexander to realise that nobody has an absolute right to the job he or she most loves. Perhaps it's time for him to join many of the rest of us in the world where we find a paid job mainly to keep food in our mouths and a roof over our heads.

Giles Blundell
Waterloo, Liverpool

Alexander Hay obviously dreads getting a New Deal subsidised job. What he might dread even more is being given a place on the environmental or voluntary options (as happened to me a while ago). Both entail working full-time hours for not even minimum-wage rates, but the princely sum of £55 a week (just £3, in fact, more than the weekly rate of job-seeker's allowance for those aged 25 and over). Not all that different, really, from the YTS schemes that current Labour ministers attacked so voci-ferously when they were in opposition.

R J Briand
Leek, Staffs

This article first appeared in the 24 July 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Miserable small-mindedness