Saturday, 10 June 2017

What A Youthquake!


Dear Reader,

It is clear (surely the Canterbury result demonstrated that) the young - for the first time in over 70 years - were fully engaged in Thursday's election. But why?

Well, here's what "The Conversation" has said:

Young people are at the heart of it all. If you’re young and living in Britain today, you’re less likely to hold a steady job than a series of insecure gigs, leaving you with a jumbled CV of zero-hours contracts and unreliable work. No savings, high rent, and huge tuition fees if you’re fortunate enough to make it into higher education. No-one should be surprised that young people offered this dismal social contract instead opted for the promise of investment in the welfare state, secure contracts, and an end to tuition fees.
Now, I was brought up in the decades after the War when politics was an important issue in the lives of many people. There were political activists in my own family on my paternal side, while on my maternal side there was the religious/spiritual view, and they were equally active. Strangely though, neither of my parents were active in either way, though their lives were clearly influenced in their upbringing by those family members who held activist views.

When I did my hiking tours of the Continent in the 1960s, I found people in those countries alive to the subject of politics, including young people, and were very mentally alert to the subject. The Second World War (and Nazi occupation) was still a recent memory, and many wanted a Europe that was to be united in peace and cooperation.


I thought that pattern would stay: but no. What happened is that we (in the UK) went flabby and were told in the 1980s that manufacturing and industry was a thing of the past and that finance houses were the bed-rock economy that we should then rely on. And that 'more' was the keyword and achievable for those that strove for it. Some even believed that 'more' could be got out of nowhere. And the entertainment industry grew beyond reasonable limits to the extent that many people live by it. 


What nonsense. The warnings from the climate and environmentalist lobby were ignored while those duped by the then political message went on on an orgy of 'give me' and 'let me enjoy myself'. And the greed influenced other countries who were also duped. Meanwhile, underclasses developed: the 'not haves'. And then the major western powers went on a hate campaign against terrorists - and in the process created even more terrorists. But that's another matter for some other article. Meanwhile we simply blame the banks and over-use the NHS because we can't be self-disciplined.


Today we have a hangover of the so-called great days in the form of pensioners in the USA and in the UK who recall when (according to their collective memory) their countries were 'great': America became a great industrial power, while the UK  still remembers the Empire. And both countries of late have been giving succour to all those pensioners and their children and even stating that we can return to the so-called 'great' old days. Viz. Trump in the USA and Brexit in the UK.


In the UK, the pensioners have been specially treated. Why? Not just because they do have special needs - or at least the poorer group do - but because they form a large political class of their own. The Tories in particular have believed that they should give preferential treatment to the elderly (to get their vote) while starving the future of the country, which is the young. Hence the visualition of their plight that "The Conversation" described above. And also why the Tories failed to succeed in this election: they forgot the young.


Make no mistake about it. What happened as a political expression on Thursday should not be taken as simply a defeat for the Tories and a triumph for Labour. What really happened on Thursday was the waking up of the young to reality. The young can change matters and they have an ability to lead this country - and the world - to a new realisation and order that will undoubtedly manifest itself over the next decade. 


The next few years will not be easy. Many difficulties will materialise that we can't even visualise right now. But there will be a good outcome; so long as the young will remain awake and open to the great challenges that they will undoubtedly be faced with, both physical and spiritual. And it is the spiritual - in finding our true human values - that will be key to properly expressing ourselves in politics. The day of 'give me' is over; the day of 'what can I do for you?' is arriving.


Thank you for reading this.


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