Are Authors Skilled Enough for Little Britain? - Andrew Crofts




The British Government is currently working out who they plan to allow into the UK to work, following their triumphant disposal of “freedom of movement” after Brexit, and it has made me question whether I am actually of any use whatsoever to my fellow man.

If I were to decide to venture out of Britain for any reason, would I automatically be allowed back in? I mean, I guess I would because I was born here and that apparently qualifies me as the sort of desirable person the government wants to protect from foreigners, but do I actually pass any of their other criteria?

It is confusing because they say they don’t want any “unskilled” folk. I have to admit that I am entirely unskilled for every practically useful job available in the modern workforce. I have no idea how to work a till, let alone a credit card machine. When I make a bed on my own it immediately looks unmade. I am lamentably ignorant on the best cleaning products for a variety of tasks and I have no idea how to help anyone suffering from either physical or mental health problems – beyond the bleeding obvious. Nothing I have ever cooked would be something that anyone else would pay money for. I am incapable of remembering more than one instruction at a time and cannot simultaneously carry more than two plates of food.

Fortunately for me, however, none of the above are considered to be “skills” in the desirable sense by the lawmakers, although most sane people would think that they were considerably more useful than, say, a law or classics degree.

More worrying for writers is the fact that they don’t want anyone who is self employed or who earns less than £25,000 a year. More by luck than judgement I am on the right side of that latter stipulation, but since the average professional writer in this country is self-employed and makes something like £10,000 a year I can only assume that puts us all in the “low-skilled” and therefore “undesirable” category.

These ruminations on my dismal potential as a desirable employee have led me to realise that it is jolly lucky that I have been able to earn a living from putting pen to paper because I have absolutely no other professional skill that I can fall back on, and never have had.       

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