Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/695/13243
No answers from politicians on Newsnight
Ian Pattison, Jarrow marcher
On Tuesday 15 November, I was asked to appear on a live Newsnight debate alongside 29 other young people who were either unemployed or underemployed, Chris Grayling, the Tory unemployment minister and Labour MP David Miliband.
One young person said: "I want to be a juvenile justice social worker, but there are no jobs in the youth service, so you're looking for generic jobs, such as Marks & Spencer, and things like that, but they still don't want to hire you."
Chris Grayling told her to "find an alternative route" by taking a job at her local supermarket as an outreach worker! He seemed ignorant of the fact that 30,000 youth support workers' jobs are being cut by local councils and ignored that she had already said that she couldn't find a job at all.
Neither of the politicians had any answers to the concerns of young people. Youth unemployment was already rising under the last Labour government. All Miliband could say was: "until the economy is growing it's going to be very very difficult for the young people here."
I had my hand up for 20 of the 25 minute debate, and when I was finally brought in I said: "The reality is that there are two and a half million job seekers in Britain today searching for just half a million jobs. What David and Chris have said shows that the main political parties in Britain see youth unemployment as a price worth paying.
"You shouldn't just be saying it's the economic climate, you should be creating jobs. There are 200,000 unemployed construction workers at the moment, you should get them building homes for the five million people on council housing waiting lists."
Presenter Jeremy Paxman tried to interrupt me, asking: "where are these jobs going to come from then?" I answered him: "What are the policies that Chris's government is putting forward? The Work Academies scheme, that he came out with when the last unemployment figures were announced, is going to provide unpaid work experience, ie working for your dole, for just 50,000 of the one million young people who are out of work, and it's not creating any more jobs, it's just re-advertising jobs that are already being advertised."
At the end of the debate, Jeremy Paxman tried to talk about 'hope for the future'. One young unemployed person asked the politicians to stop arguing with each other, work together. We are all sick of the point scoring between out of touch millionaire politicians.
Chris Grayling and David Miliband agreed to work together, but they probably meant they agreed to work together to make ordinary people pay for a crisis caused by those at the top, by condemning young people to a generation on the scrapheap.
There is hope for the future. There's hope if we can kick out this rotten Con-Dem coalition and their broken system and build a socialist society that puts the needs and aspirations of ordinary people above the profits of the 1%.
In The Socialist 23 November 2011:
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