Typical too that much of the holier-than-thou words come from the Baby Boomer generation (born c.1945-54), who had all the privileges of our social-democractic state - free university education etc. They took this inheritance and squandered it on the new selfishness, the vast majority became Thatcherites in outlook and behaviour, if not always in rhetoric. They enjoyed the new freedoms and progressive prosperity of the 1956-73 era and it was the following generation who suffered most from the crises of the seventies and eighties. The Baby Boomers will not take responsbility and admit fault - whilst ingrained conservatism within older generations also enabled Thatcherism, the 1945-54 generation simply turned to the right: Blair being the ultimate progeny.
The question of work - what it is for, both in the short and long term - is scarcely addressed other than in the binary terms of: hard-working families / lazy scroungers. We have to give long-term thought to what sort of work we want our people to be doing in this country. If we allow any sort of neo-liberal free-market (as 99% of our media does), then we must suspend the illusion that there can be controls on who works on these shores.
Being unemployed need not be wholly unproductive in an intellectual or cultural sense; but this would require greater education and consciousness. At the moment, it can oten become the neo-liberal trap alluded to in the articles: pacified, relegated to watching daytime television.
Discipline is a concept that needs to be reclaimed for the left. Not necessarily a Gradgrindian (or even Gordon Brownian) work ethic, in itself. Not for work that is little more than slavery. But a work ethic towards a better future, indeed. Not a routine, for that way Reggie Perrin lies, but purposeful discipline.
Nothing will be achieved by existing in a state of postmodernist apathy and hedonic impotence (the whole Generation X - Trainspotting - Quentin Tarantino lineage, the perfect 'Youth Wing' of Blairism). The Left needs to look again at something like the Dexy's Midnight Runners concept of discipline... Believe in something and work and play for it.
This is a topic to return to. Suffice it to say that I am not suggesting a William Morris-style agrarian utopia with every single person working on their individual crafts (though you see some of this ethos in some forms of employment). Technology and science must be used and harnessed rather than abolished in a display of luddism.