I have recently become unemployed after 20 years teaching a core subject. I parted with a compromise agreement and also a profound sense of disillusion. Last week I decided to test the water in what used to be known as jobcentres. Although I was aware that positions in education are mainly available through supply agencies, I wanted to get some idea of what other jobs, if any, were available. I also, as I had not been looking for work for so long, wanted to get some idea of the benefits currently available. I had some idea that things had changed in the last few decades and that being out of work, with no income at all, did not guarantee any entitlement to benefits. And so, in the middle of the day, I decided to visit a couple of jobcentres, now called Job Centre Plus. I was shocked. When I arrived at the first one a bouncer blocked my way and asked me what I wanted. I replied that I wanted to see what jobs were available. He said that the very few jobs that they did know about were only for those who had registered with them as unemployed. I persisted and as I was calm and not obviously a machete waver, he finally gave me a sheet of paper with a few websites on and showed me the door. I saw several other bouncers in the place, several people sitting alone at small desks and not a single job seeker. I saw no jobs advertised and there were not even leaflets explaining the basics. When I arrived at the second one there was already some commotion at the door, on the pavement where one person was shouting aggressively and another filming the scene on his phone. Behind the metal detector there was at least ten bouncers. Again I managed to persuade them that I was not dangerous and again I was dismissed with a list of websites. I definitely got the sense that the staff at the places were on low salaries. and that their main concern was simply to try and ensure that they were not injured in any way. I got absolutely no sense that the purpose of the places was to help people to find work. Rather it was to somehow, anyhow, remove people from the unemployment register. They felt fortress-like, hostile. I thought I may, finally, have had a glimpse of what others have known for a long time: that the state has not interest at all in helping people find work and in fact that the opposite is true - that it is in the interests of the few to make the rest of us feel so hopeless, so desperate, that we will accept any job at all, no matter the wage or conditions.