Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/684/12726
The Socialist 7 September 2011 |
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One in a million...fighting back!
I am one in a million, a million unemployed young people in the country at the moment. What does one million mean? A million is not a statistic - it is a million individual tragedies.
It means one million young people are being prevented from making lives for themselves.
Whether it be people in their early 20s with young families to provide for; school leavers who can't get a first foot on the ladder of life; university graduates who have ploughed huge amounts of time, money and effort into gaining degrees they now can't use; or people like myself whose efforts to build a life and career for themselves are being stifled by the scarcity of real, full time, permanent jobs.
I have been unemployed for significant periods in the past and now face it again. I dread being asked, "what do you do?" and the shame of answering "I'm unemployed" which feels tantamount to saying, "I don't do anything".
Or being mistaken for a student and not denying it because you don't want to admit the truth. You can rewrite your CV till the cows come home or offer to do work experience but that's only possible if you can afford the fare.
This feeling of helplessness is exacerbated by attacks on benefit claimants by the right wing press, mirroring the attitude of the Con-Dem government. David Cameron has said that youth unemployment is "a matter of deep regret" but has done nothing to solve the problem.
Instead he has spoken about further cuts to and conditions on unemployment benefits, increasing misery and poverty but not increasing the jobs available. Government cuts to public sector jobs and the inevitable effect on the private sector will only aggravate the problem.
Events like the Jarrow march give hope and although it deeply saddens me that 75 years on from the original, the same thing needs to be done, it also gives me confidence of a brighter future.
This is our chance to put youth unemployment at the top of the agenda and tell the government that we will not be a lost generation, we will fight for jobs and we will fight for a better future.