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?