Expectations of Youth

Aaargh, go on then.

The wonderful @julijuxtaposed told me to write a blog piece (about something else); but it got me thinking. You may have gathered from previous blogs that my pieces tend to be quickly drafted comment pieces rather than being particularly detailed and carefully written.

That’s because someone else does those, and I have a demanding full time job, a family life, and blogging is kind of a release valve.

Anyway, since I was provoked, a few unrelated tweets / articles crossed my path recently and I thought I’d briefly like to link them together.

The latest TNS-BMRB poll shows 18-24yr olds give Labour a lead of 23%, with Greens at 14%.


I’d hope that a small number of the people in that age bracket are reading the work of Charles Hugh Smith, here…


It’s a US story, but the same thing applies over here.

Then you have the situations in Sweden & Turkey. And the increasingly warm weather. Traditionally, young people tend to be more politically noticeable in the summer, when school’s out. So what’s the situation for young people in the UK, and why might that make them more politicized?

Well, they’ve been schooled to pass tests, and they know how important this is to make them more employable. They’ve been conditioned to expect to have to go to University, in order to learn stuff they’ll never use and to further demonstrate their employability. They’re prepared to fight (against each other) to be recognised by their elders and get the jobs.

That’s their part of the bargain – they’re wholly indoctrinated into the idea of personal responsibility for their employment.

And in return they get:

Massive debts for accepting the bargain and going to university, (on the basis that the older generations don’t want to pay for it anymore). These debts are only likely to increase as our academic institutions follow the US model of charging more for less.

A load of qualifications that make them no more useful in a workplace than anyone else.

A “career” of occasional steady work, mixed with spells of unemployment, temping, contract working and freelancing, which pays for their time, but expects them to commit 60 hours for every 40 contracted. All this in a climate where public investment is deliberately limited, and there’s a permanantly high level of unemployment.

Zero chance of purchasing any property of their own until they’re in their 30’s and they’ve paired up with a similarly hard working partner. (On the basis that the older generations refused to support any policies that would stem the growth in house prices).

And they can’t start a family of their own because they’re paying high rents (to the older generations, natch) and working 60 hours a week in order not to endure another spell on the temp register.

And they can’t afford to invest in a pension like they feel they should, and when they do try, their job inevitably gets rationalised, in order to please the “markets”, even though they don’t know anyone who has anything invested in the markets, and the very senior management keep getting massive pay awards.

And they can’t even think of how they’ll cope when they’re older, other than to keep doing the same things, and hoping they win the lottery, or maybe they can just afford a house, or maybe granny leaves them something in her will. And they feel bad for even thinking that.

So maybe, they realise this is a path to unhappiness. Yes they can enjoy themselves, and try and do great things, but they start to see the false bargain they were forced to make, and realise that re-negotiating that is the great thing they can do.

Or maybe, they haven’t worked out that great sweep of events, but they feel the flow and the pull of tides, and see what they’ll never have, and bond together.

I hope they find the way out. I hope we can help them to do so.


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