”I believe the children are our future…”

Suzanne Moore channels ‘Grumpy Old Women’:

Back in the day – a phrase never used back in the day by anyone I ever met – we were the knees of the bees. Being young was very heaven. Everything was better. Because we were just better. Sadly, young people today are just rubbish. Look at them on their meow meow, mainlining the Kardashians, doing pathetically downgraded exams and degrees in astroturfing. Look at their inability to get jobs in a recession. Look at the really lazy ones on the streets in sleeping bags, and the ones who don’t even own any property. Hardly suprising (sic) when they turn up at school with no social skills and leave with fewer.

If that sounds unlike her, don’t worry. She’s just kidding.

It’s just the awful stuff her generation say about the youth of today – unfairly, in her book:

I am exaggerating, but not much. I hear these conversations all the time, and I feel disgusted with my generation. It is not that I am down with the youth or anything, but every day I see things I took for granted – education, housing, reasonable employment – being stripped away from younger generations.

Mmmm, well, the bill’s come due, Suzanne.

It wasn’t really sustainable for your generation, either (though as Longrider pointed out the other day, that’s a generalisation, and doesn’t hold true for everyone), and when Labour came to power and busied themselves doubling and tripling it, it became even less so…

Those people who are surprised that David Cameron wants to take away housing benefit from the under-25s have not been paying attention at the back. From tuition fees to workfare to benefit cuts to young parents, to careers stitched up by free internships and temporary contracts, a clear ideological and electoral decision has been made. These young people don’t vote, they don’t pay much tax, and they are superfluous to a Tory win.

There’s an easy solution, then? Tell them this, and then if they still don’t vote (and who are they going to vote for? No party is telling them they can have it all, are they?) then shrug, and leave them to it.

People my age should be embarrassed by this situation. Solidarity has to be cross-generational, not dismissed as some sort of youthful protest. We have to stop blaming young people for not voting. If there is no sense of a shared future – what we called civic society – and if people feel politicians are powerless in the face of “the markets”, they will not engage.

Lots of people do feel powerless, but it’s in the face of the ever-growing onslaught of the EU, not ‘the market’.

A phony war between those who are in work and have property and those who are shut out of that loop must be refused. Children should not bear the brunt of adult dysfunction and that is exactly what is happening. How can we not be on the side of our own children? This disturbs me.

I don’t have children. And those of others I see around me, well, frankly, I’m never going to be on their side.

6 comments for “”I believe the children are our future…”

  1. July 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

    “I see things I took for granted – education, housing, reasonable employment – being stripped away from younger generations”

    Er, I left school in 1980. I did not take a job for granted with the three million unemplyed and all. I actually had to save for a deposit and have a record with a building society of so doing if I wanted a mortgage (so young people, how big a deposit have you saved?) for a house and as to education, about one in ten went to University and my 1970’s comp was NOT a ‘potemkin village’ show school to put it mildly. Oh and there was the tiny threat of immediate death from a soviet nuclear strike, (if you lived close to an obvious primary target as I did). Things were not better years ago.

  2. July 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

    ‘…every day I see things I took for granted – education, housing, reasonable employment – being stripped away from younger generations.’

    Moore was lucky enough to be there at the right time; in the brief four decades or so of our country’s long history when it was possible for vast numbers to receive free education and healthcare and subsidied housing.

    I can’t complain – at the start of this munificence, both my parents went to university (the first of their families to do so) on state scholarships that opened doors which would have otherwise remained firmly closed to people from their respective backgrounds.

    They did, however, teach me that everything received should be repaid in some way – they took their first-class degrees into state-school teaching and, when needed, offered financial support to several members of their extended families.

    We, in our turn, have relied on the state as little as possible. True, we claimed child benefit when the children were younger, but we paid for our children’s education and insured them to cover major healthcare costs. We wouldn’t expect the state to house them either (though I have to admit, university holidays having started, the charm of having two grown offspring hanging about the place is proving rather short-lived).

    Admittedly we are fortunate in being able to afford this – not easily, but by foregoing new cars, foreign holidays, gadgets or meals out. That’s the choice we made when we decided to have children in the first place, knowing that it would last until they – and not the state – could cover all their living costs.

    It all stems from the basic economics of the farmyard – everything has to be paid for and you shouldn’t take on stock you can’t maintain. In spite of my parents’ scholarships, I suppose it’s proof that you can never truly shake off the rural peasant mentality.

  3. Tatty
    July 3, 2012 at 11:53 am

    take away housing benefit from the under-25s

    I really don’t understand what the all that fuss is about. I have children and if they aren’t going to be “entitled” to that…when they are fully grown adults and in the event that their father and I AND our entire respective families are all dead, this house I almost now own is flattened and they truly do end up destitute…well the short answer is “neither was I at that age”.

    Yes, we’d like better for our children but them to be dependent on anyone outside of the family to support or provide for them (when all else has failed and they truly are in genuine need) really doesn’t fulfil my definition of “better”.

  4. July 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    “I don’t have children.”

    ‘Ere ‘ere!

    I moved out of my parents house at 24. If i’d have known the taxpayer was willing to stump the bill for my accomodation long before that I might have moved out earlier.

    We weren’t brought up to be ‘entitled’ though.

  5. Monty
    July 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    While I approve of the restriction of benefits for the young and fit, I do not see why it should stop there. I’m pushing 60 and have been self sufficient throughout my adult life. And there are people in my cohort who have never done a day’s work in their lives, who should find that the benefits tap is about to be turned off. These people are boomers who have spent the past 40 years sponging off the taxpayer. I see no justification for giving them another penny, end their benefits, deny them the pensions they didn’t pay for, evict them from their council houses.
    For all able bodied people, there should be a lifetime limit on state dependancy.

  6. David A. Evans
    July 4, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I remember trying to tell my son that his school was lying to him when they said he was doing well. He was doing abysmally but I couldn’t bring myself to say so.
    I also remember interviewing supposed university graduates and finding they were bloody hopeless. The best candidate incidentally was a woman but she probably thought the banality of my questioning was an indication of me, the person she would be working for*. It was more an indication of the banality of the candidates!
    Before that, I had been replaced in half of a dual rôle as development and service engineer on the development side by a university graduate. He kept coming to me to ask why what he was doing wasn’t working FFS. Like a fool, I kept helping him.

    I may only have a C&G in electronics & radio but I loved my work and it was my life. I was always trying to keep up with the latest developments.

    Look at amateur radio. Mainly self educated & motivated people manage to push the boundaries way past what the professionals can do,then they get it nicked!


    EDIT: *I sometimes wonder if she had realised I was actually looking for my replacement she may have taken a different view.

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