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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 November 2009

1,000,000 young unemployed

Join the march for jobs

Youth Fight For Jobs march 2 April 2009, photo Paul Mattsson

Youth Fight For Jobs march 2 April 2009, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

It is hard to imagine what was going through the heads of the producers of ITV's Tonight show when they decided the best person to 'advise' unemployed youth on how to improve their job prospects was... Lord Alan Sugar!

Sean Figg, Youth Fight for Jobs national organiser

In the programme that went out last Monday this 62 year old multi-millionaire, now adopted into the ranks of the aristocracy, treated us to such mind-boggling advice as: 'if you are determined enough you will get a job'. Brilliant - no wonder Lord Sugar has been taken on as a government adviser!

According to him, other essential tools in the job search toolkit are 'passion', the ability to look would-be employers 'in the eye and convince them' and... more 'determination'! This vacuous nonsense was clearly more about ratings than serious journalism.

In a situation where half of all the jobs lost in the past year have been among the under-25s, where there are 48 graduate applications for every graduate vacancy, and, for example, 250 applicants for a bakery assistant job at a Morrison's store in Manchester, it is completely ridiculous to suggest that the 946,000 unemployed youth in Britain are suffering from a lack of determination.

The reality is that young people - through mass youth unemployment - are being made to pay for an economic crisis that was made by the likes of Lord Sugar and other big business politicians and fat cats.

Another of Sugar's out of touch comments was the suggestion that people want the government to 'wave a magic wand' because they feel they 'deserve something'. The attempt to portray critics of the government as moaning scroungers looking for a handout is insulting.

We do feel we deserve something! But young people don't want handouts - that's the bankers' specialty - we want the chance to contribute to society and to earn a decent income. We want training and education to be available to all so we can develop useful skills and knowledge. We want decent jobs with decent pay so we can contribute to society and pay our own way. This is what the government should be investing in.

In a sense, the Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) campaign agrees with Lord Sugar, that people should not just accept their fate. However in contrast to his individualistic solutions of improving your CV and interview technique we counterpose collective action.

We want to build YFJ into a mass campaign, uniting unemployed youth, students, young workers and trade unionists to demand massive investment in socially useful job creation schemes that pay a living wage for all those who need them.

We call on all young people who are sick of being patronised like this, who are worried about the bleak future facing this generation, and who are determined to fight for a future, to march with Youth Fight for Jobs on Saturday 28 November.


Assemble Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY at 12 noon Saturday 28 November.
The nearest tube stations are Euston and Russell Square

March to Parliament, ending in the Westminster area

See for transport details.

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In The Socialist 4 November 2009:

Join the march for jobs

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