Even at my, somewhat, advanced age, there are still things that I find it difficult to get my head around. Some I tend to ignore as there are so many more important things in life to concern myself with; other than the idiot who walked straight out in front of my car this morning with his eyes firmly fixed on his mobile phone. Obviously the content of the message was more important than his life. If he carries on like that my genes are more likely to survive than his. Ain’t evolution wonderful?
Other matters, however, do concern me; among the foremost of which is what I read and hear about today’s workplace culture. Now, I am one of that lucky generation who lived through the 60’s, found my metier during the 70’s and have managed to keep going. Not only that but I have been even more lucky in that, for most of the past 35 years, I have done for a living what I’ve enjoyed doing anyway. Furthermore, during that time I have hardly ever been bored. How many people can say that today?
Which leads me to, what it is that the new generation can expect and the answer, from what I read is, very little? If they don’t go on to further education, the likelihood is unemployment or work in some sort of service industry, either on a zero hours contract or low wages and a long working day. If they do go to university, they may still be unemployed but with a large debt that, even the government acknowledges, will never be paid back and, thus, have to be written off. And that’s just those in work. Those on benefits, which now, of course includes many of those actually working but on low wages, will find an even greater reduction in their living standards as even more cuts are pushed through.
Is this the best that the sixth richest economy in the world can offer? Where is hope and aspiration in all this? Sadly lacking it would seem. I mention this latter soon after the anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill who steered us through what was, probably, the darkest period in this county’s modern history. What he offered was “blood, toil, tears and sweat” plus, of course an enormous amount of hope. That helped to defeat the largest war machine in the world up to that time.
I write though, not as an old romantic, as I freely confess to being (ask my wife), but because hope and aspiration are what keeps us going during the bad times. Without them, we’re lost. And I don’t want to see a lost generation. Need it be so? Well, I think, very definitely, not. This country of ours is crying out for a government that will develop the untapped potential of all its citizens for the good of all its citizens. Where we, truly, are “all in it together” and I watch with interest what is going to happen now that the Greeks and the Spanish are, finally saying, “enough is enough”. Maybe the tide is starting to turn at last. At least, that’s my hope.