Thursday, December 02, 2010

today : spirit of 68

I've enjoyed seeing students on the march in the past few weeks. I don't like individual police getting hurt, but smashing windows can make a difference. If it didn't then the establishment wouldn't make such an effort to condemn when a brick gets thrown, or someone spray paints slogans on a police van.

I don't know the motivation of every protestor but it is clear that the ConDems don't get it. The issue is deeper than simply the workings of whatever loan scheme. Youngsters rightly are angry that their parents' and grandparents' generations got it so wrong. Peoples' parents came out of University and were afforded the opportunity to build a stable and comfortable life. Now, many graduates are facing the possibility of never being able to put down roots. Housing costs and restrictive mortgages mean that house ownership seems like a faraway dream. Graduate salaries are flattening out, and they're constantly being told that they can't rely on a lifelong career. They look around the world where there are opportunities but even then they were let down by a system invented and run by their forebears. Whilst everyone in Europe and the Far East was learning English there was no focus on languages in British schools. This makes the EU labour market unbalanced. You were never prepared for a world where your job might be in Germany or Macedonia or China. They told you your Sats results were crucial, then your GCSEs, then your various A levels and finally your degree. You work hard, you believe them and you follow the path. Finally it spews you out into a world where there are no jobs, no mortgages and all you have is a big pile of debt.

When you're 18 or 19 you know that the nearest you can start actually living like an adult is somewhere way past 30. I remember being 18, and 35 is literally a lifetime away.

And whatever they might say, the Libdems lied. They made a solemn pledge about tuition fees but went back on it almost immediately. Why shouldn't intelligent young people feel angry and dissatisfied? Their elders, betters and leaders duped them again. What kind of an example is that?

I never understood political pledges as an election tool. Firstly, nobody ever believes them in the first place and, as the Dems have discovered, circumstance means that sometimes you are squeezed into breaking them. You end up looking hollow and unprincipled.

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