Britain’s young strivers have no hope for the future

No future: This is how young people feel about the nation of their birth. Image by Banksy (at long last, I get a Banksy onto Vox Political!)

No future: This is how young people feel about the nation of their birth. Image by Banksy (at long last, I get a Banksy onto Vox Political!)

Young people in the UK have never had it so bad, according to a BBC report.

The young men from families of skilled or semi-skilled workers – the “strivers” with whom we have all become familiar over the last few weeks of political crossfire in the House of Commons – are described as “deeply pessimistic” about their future chances in life.

I’m not surprised; in fact, I have every sympathy for them.

When I was a nipper, back in the 1970s, life was for the living. A person could be relatively secure in the knowledge that they would be able to take their education as far as their abilities allowed, before finding employment according to their skills in a relatively supportive job market. This would allow them the financial freedom, in time, to buy a house and enjoy relative security in life.

It’s a long time since I was a child. By the time I was an adult, many of those securities had been taken away by a Conservative government that was only a shadow of the vicious, Conservative-led government we have today.

Education was eroded by the introduction of loans instead of student grants; the job market started to shrink because Tories like to keep us all insecure – it helps them cut wages; and as for getting a mortgage, well… I have never owned my own home.

And I belong to the generation before the young people of today!

Is it any wonder that more than two-thirds of them expect never to own their own home, if the last people in their families to own a house – professional families, let’s remember – were their grandparents?

Of course they’re going to feel trapped, and of course they’re going to feel more negative than people from poorer backgrounds; they realise that, in this country, the opportunities are not there for people with ability. No, the only people with a chance to rise in Coalition Britain are those with connections. It isn’t what you know – it’s who you know, as the old saying goes.

And here’s another thing The suicide rate in my generation is skyrocketing. I live in a town of less than 5,000 people and I can think of two people who ended their own lives recently – due to depression – with a third threatening to do so.

What does that tell the next generation about the country where they live and the life they’re going to have here?

Worst of all is this: I don’t think any of them have the get-up-and-go to do anything about it.

I don’t mean the same as Norman Tebbit did when he said, “Get on your bike”, exhorting our strivers to go out and look for work. The jobs aren’t there (oh no they’re not, Tory reader, no matter how much your ministers try to tell us they are).

I mean this: The only way the downtrodden classes ever won any freedom or privilege in this country was by struggle. They got off their backsides and demanded it. Some of them died for it.

But now a ruling elite, that bears no resemblance to you or me, is turning back the clock – removing those hard-won freedoms and ignoring the protests of those they affect.

Because they know: You don’t vote.

So you won’t vote them out.

And if you don’t vote, you won’t take the next logical step, which is to organise – join a political party that promises to restore your freedoms and privileges, or form one, if none of the current crop are to your taste.

You don’t have the motivation; you can’t see the point. But that’s how the Labour Party got started and that organisation is now the main opposition party in Parliament, after having been in power for 13 consecutive years.

Times have changed lately, and for the worse, I’ll grant that.

They can change back again.

All that’s needed is the will to make a difference.

… Or do you have something better to do?

16 thoughts on “Britain’s young strivers have no hope for the future

  1. janegw2013

    If only some young folk would take the time to read this article. It’s what’s needed to gain some control over their futures.

  2. wrjones2012

    Excellent analysis Mike,giving us plenty of food for thought.Of course it is true that Labour have lost 6 million votes 1997-2010.I hear quite a lot of them saying;politicians are all the same!Its our task to point out that difference!

    1. Mike Sivier

      Thanks. When I was a teenager, being able to vote was a status symbol – if you could vote, you’d come of age. I turned 18 in 1987, a general election year, but couldn’t vote in that election because it was in May and my birthday was July – so I had to watch most of my colleagues (I was in sixth form) doing what I could not. I disagreed with a lot of them as well! Maybe that’s what made it important to me.

  3. Thomas

    I vote in every general election and it makes little or no difference. The big parties are the same and the small parties are either nutty or evil.

    1. Glazios

      “The big parties are the same and the small parties are either nutty or evil.”

      Yes. Yes, they are, to both counts. The problem is, there’s nothing that we can really do about it. The LibDems are about to be kicked firmly back into the political wilderness, and Labour and the Tories aren’t worth spitting at, either – but we’ll have to settle for one or the other, or we’ll have this sorry, rotten bunch back in power by-default before you can say “Hung Parliament”. Labour may not be fit to lead, but if life under the Coalition has taught me anything, it’s that my grandparents are right — “It doesn’t matter who gets in, just so long as it’s *not* the Tories. Anyone’s better than a Tory government.”

  4. Stephen Bunting

    It isn’t possible for the Labour Party to be more sold-out than they now are. To do what Blair did to the country, when 90% of your funding comes from Trade Unions, beggars belief. You can’t really expect any young person with half an ounce of gumption to vote for them, never mind join…

  5. Thomas M

    The voting is de facto tribal based. True, this keeps out the BNP and UKIP, but it also keeps out the Greens and the left wing parties too.

  6. No job, no benefits, no income for a whole year. Thanks, Cleggy.

    As we learned from the last general election, voting makes no difference whatsoever. The current government are not an elected body, all parties lost the election, this bunch just fancied the job so they took it.

    1. Mike Sivier

      It’s that kind of attitude that will keep them in forever. Are YOU a Tory? Are you a Liberal Democrat? Did you come on here to post that dismal pessimism around the net so that everyone, including the young people in the article, will buy what you’re peddling and not bother to vote again next time? That’ll give the Tories an easy run back into Number 10, won’t it?
      Of course voting makes a difference. You have to be voting for a party that supports your views, of course, and to get that you might have to join a party and help change its policies a little – or found a party yourself. But to say it doesn’t make a difference when the past nearly 200 years of history proves otherwise is nonsense, in my opinion.

  7. Joan

    I have also voted in every election since I turned 19 (the age was only decreased to 18 the year after I became that age). When I lived in a big city, which party I voted for really did matter. However, for the last 25 years I have lived in a rural constituency where the independents have outnumbered all main parties. I have therefore voted for the man I thought best, in my case Michael Moore who I had admired till then. I really don’t know who to vote for next time since I would not want to vote for a Liberal democrat again, let alone one who has taken such a leading position in this vile coalition. I find it intolerable that I may have to, simply to go against a Tory possibility. Voting Labour, as I always did in the city, would be a wasted vote although I hate to say that.

    I agree with you that it is very hard to get the youth of today interested in any activist movement. I was in a union all my working life, on the local branch committee most of it, and was sad to see, as the years went on, younger employees tended to join a union when in trouble then leave as soon as they were sorted out. They had none of the interest in other working people’s problems as we had.

  8. martin kroupa

    I could see a nearly empty poling station at the local elections last year in Renfrewshire, while people were talking to each other greatly about the Council being bad. Yet, the most still could not be bothered to go cast their vote. I thought the administration of the Council was bad, and that’s why I went to cast my vote. That’s why I took my partner to go with me. That’s why I told everybody else to go cast their vote too.

    But, I understand why the people could not be bothered to vote. The politicians had got so out of touch with them that they largely thought it would have made no difference who is in power in the local authority. They got used to the trend- the poor get poorer and the rich richer anyway; which has become factual in the meantime.

    My view on this phenomenon that has grown in UK for a considerably long time to eventually become reality these days is that it, in fact, is an institutional discrimination, considered as normality by wide public. It is no surprise to me because everyone, apart from the elite (the rich), has plenty to do to secure the lively-hood for themselves and to feed their children etc. Public interest is no longer considered public but political, therefore of no interest for the public.

    Propaganda across other EU countries falsely shows UK out as a state that cares after its poor and vulnerable. Hence other EU countries look up to the UK and to its Tory (downward) driven government as to a great example to follow. Sick….

    My good hard working Scottish friend had told me he was not interested in politics a few years ago because the politicians would not care about the majority of working class people anyway …..

    It should be a turn for the UK Labour Party to show they do care about us and then the people might go vote again – to vote the Tories out. I just hope it won’t be beyond repair by 2015. I don’t dare guessing what this country will look like in 2 years’ time of the Tories administration.

  9. Silver

    The Political Parties we have are what we deserve.All those who say it makes no difference who you vote for.I think the political shift to the right has been enormous since 2010.Have you not felt it!
    We have a rabid right winged ConDem Government and you say it makes no difference who you vote for.
    People died and were jailed to give You the Vote.Yet You are to apathetic to vote.It makes no difference my arse.
    Of course it makes a difference.And if you think it makes no difference, get Politically active and make a difference.Join a political party.Become vocal.Have a opinion.
    We are in a fight now,a fight to keep the things our parents fought for.A welfare state to stop people becoming destitute.A NHS to serve everyone,not just the well of,like in America.
    If you don’t vote,cannot be bothered to vote,then you cannot complain when its gone.Because it will be Your fault,and people like You.Who cannot be bothered.

  10. R33

    The Labour Party and the Conservative party pretend to be adversaries for public consumption. They are just glorified actors. Their designated roles in this fake democracy are good cop bad cop – but they both serve the same master – they are a team. Labour serve as a safety valve to channel popular discontent into, so that it does not interfere with the ruling elite capitalists interests, threaten their parasitical exploitative rule and to maintain the pretense that the people have a meaningful choice.

    The Labour “good cop” party laid the groundwork for the savage attack on the sick and disabled, the privatisation of the NHS and the slave labour “Work Programme” and now the Conservative “bad cop party” – the ruling elite’s enforcers and hatchet men, have now come in to finish the job. Labour are just like those thugs during the riots, who cynically pretended they were helping the injured Malaysian student, when their real intention was to rob him.

    The Tories come in and they plunge the knife into the pleb’s back 9 inches and then Labour come in and they pull the knife out 1 inch and people call it progress. But the knife is still in their back causing them to bleed to death.

    Voting for either of the main parties doesn’t make much difference imo. The key decisions are taken by the ruling elite. “Democracy” is an elaborate charade designed to fool the people into believing they rule the country through their elected representatives and have the final say.

    If the people voted for small progressive parties in large numbers, it would make it harder for the ruling elite to flagrantly implement policies that serve their interests; it would remove the veil of legitimacy from the political whores who serve the corporations and do their bidding.

    Even though the entire process is a charade, voting for the Tories, UKIP or any other right-wing party is masochism and folly of the highest order. It’s like saying to the 1% “please violently sodomise us for your pleasure master, please take our money and give it to the rich so they can hoard it, please destroy our public services and privatise them”. It’s giving them your consent to be exploited.

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