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Published on February 15th, 2012 | by Annie Tippell
Image © Student activists first took to the streets to defend their futures over a year ago. They were met with batons, kettles and a mounted charge. Now the latest Whitehall rhetoric is demanding a ‘crusade’ against the staggering rates of youth unemployment. David Miliband has a lot to say in the Sunday Mirror. You know, the Sunday Mirror? That politically savvy, philosophically hip, culturally pertinent touchstone of investigative journalism all the cool kids are talking about? Forget the recent stream of scintillating headlines from its parent paper, The Daily Mirror (see: Denise Welch: I Could Not Keep on Living a Lie, Fab Bonus for ‘arry’ or, my personal favourite The Corrie Copycat Killer). The Sunday Mirror has become the preferred platform for modern, critical debate for party leaders and radical thinkers alike. Sadly, none of them were available for last Sunday’s edition, so David Miliband sharpened his crayons and dutifully filled in. The danger for the yoof of today, he writes, is that they are losing hope, innit. The hope that thousands of pounds invested in the tertiary education system is not wasted; the hope that even the most dubious of employment opportunities will rear semi-lucrative prospects; the hope that, in the end, those on the cusp of intellectual and emotional maturity will not be tipped headlong into a downward spiral of depression, misanthropy and, potentially, crime. Everyone loves a good pep talk. ‘University entrance was restricted to just over one in 10 of young people’ laments the former Shadow Foreign Sec. Quite rightly, David paints a scandalous portrait of academic stagnation. Especially as, with only three Bs and one D at A Level, he was himself admitted to Corpus Christi, Oxford, to read PPE. It helps when your father’s a world-renowned Marxist sociologist, but that’s by the by. ‘Employers need to up their game’, he continues, ‘with guaranteed job interviews or training to go with work experience, and a better national system for advertising apprenticeships.’ It can only be assumed that this will start in David’s own back yard, and Labour’s political internships, masquerading as unpaid work experience, will swiftly find funding. Don’t worry about the ‘human tragedy of a young person without hope’. There will be a happy ending. David has a plan. It has six points. What are they, I hear you ask? Search me. It’s enough to say that you have one, in tabloid politics. Back in 2009, David had a ‘six point plan’ to rid the world of nuclear weapons.Brother Ed has a ‘five point plan’ to fight capitalism, as well as a ‘five point plan’ for jobs and economic growth. In recent months, David’s also mentioned the impressive sounding ‘seven point plan’ to save Labour. That’s way more than Ed’s ever had! Chalk that one up as a win, Dave. Apparently, Nick Clegg is trying to encourage private sector firms to train young people by tempting them with a share of a £1bn government honey pot in CASH MONIES. Personally, I’d like to hear more about what he’s doing on the graduate opportunity/internship front, but I see the word CASH and lights go off in front of my eyes, and I forget where I am. What Clegg and Miliband’s respective plans have in common is still obscure. If only David could tell us what his ideas are, perhaps in an accessible Sunday newspaper…oh, wait… I refuse to dignify the Mirror’s farcical take on ‘news’. Is it news that young people are politically motivated? Is it news that the pressures of ambition and the looming threat of failure are exacerbated by economic principles that exalt social mobility but sideline social responsibility? We live in a system that toys with the retirement age but slashes the pension budget; a system that punishes student activism but leaves around a fifth of school leavers illiterate and innumerate. Moreover, is it news that David Miliband has been deeply critical of his brother’s leadership both on and off the front bench for years? So, in the end, we’re just waiting for David to take to the streets with a placard, chanting ‘no ifs, no buts, no unemployment cuts’. A crusade, you say? Back off, David. That’s our word. Image courtesy of Flickr

6

The Children’s Crusade

Student activists first took to the streets to defend their futures over a year ago. They were met with batons, kettles and a mounted charge. Now the latest Whitehall rhetoric is demanding a ‘crusade’ against the staggering rates of youth unemployment.

David Miliband has a lot to say in the Sunday Mirror. You know, the Sunday Mirror? That politically savvy, philosophically hip, culturally pertinent touchstone of investigative journalism all the cool kids are talking about?

Forget the recent stream of scintillating headlines from its parent paper, The Daily Mirror (see: Denise Welch: I Could Not Keep on Living a Lie, Fab Bonus for ‘arry’ or, my personal favourite The Corrie Copycat Killer). The Sunday Mirror has become the preferred platform for modern, critical debate for party leaders and radical thinkers alike.

Sadly, none of them were available for last Sunday’s edition, so David Miliband sharpened his crayons and dutifully filled in. The danger for the yoof of today, he writes, is that they are losing hope, innit. The hope that thousands of pounds invested in the tertiary education system is not wasted; the hope that even the most dubious of employment opportunities will rear semi-lucrative prospects; the hope that, in the end, those on the cusp of intellectual and emotional maturity will not be tipped headlong into a downward spiral of depression, misanthropy and, potentially, crime. Everyone loves a good pep talk.

‘University entrance was restricted to just over one in 10 of young people’ laments the former Shadow Foreign Sec. Quite rightly, David paints a scandalous portrait of academic stagnation. Especially as, with only three Bs and one D at A Level, he was himself admitted to Corpus Christi, Oxford, to read PPE. It helps when your father’s a world-renowned Marxist sociologist, but that’s by the by.

‘Employers need to up their game’, he continues, ‘with guaranteed job interviews or training to go with work experience, and a better national system for advertising apprenticeships.’ It can only be assumed that this will start in David’s own back yard, and Labour’s political internships, masquerading as unpaid work experience, will swiftly find funding.

Don’t worry about the ‘human tragedy of a young person without hope’. There will be a happy ending. David has a plan. It has six points. What are they, I hear you ask? Search me. It’s enough to say that you have one, in tabloid politics. Back in 2009, David had a ‘six point plan’ to rid the world of nuclear weapons.Brother Ed has a ‘five point plan’ to fight capitalism, as well as a ‘five point plan’ for jobs and economic growth. In recent months, David’s also mentioned the impressive sounding ‘seven point plan’ to save Labour. That’s way more than Ed’s ever had! Chalk that one up as a win, Dave.

Apparently, Nick Clegg is trying to encourage private sector firms to train young people by tempting them with a share of a £1bn government honey pot in CASH MONIES. Personally, I’d like to hear more about what he’s doing on the graduate opportunity/internship front, but I see the word CASH and lights go off in front of my eyes, and I forget where I am. What Clegg and Miliband’s respective plans have in common is still obscure. If only David could tell us what his ideas are, perhaps in an accessible Sunday newspaper…oh, wait…

I refuse to dignify the Mirror’s farcical take on ‘news’. Is it news that young people are politically motivated? Is it news that the pressures of ambition and the looming threat of failure are exacerbated by economic principles that exalt social mobility but sideline social responsibility? We live in a system that toys with the retirement age but slashes the pension budget; a system that punishes student activism but leaves around a fifth of school leavers illiterate and innumerate. Moreover, is it news that David Miliband has been deeply critical of his brother’s leadership both on and off the front bench for years?

So, in the end, we’re just waiting for David to take to the streets with a placard, chanting ‘no ifs, no buts, no unemployment cuts’. A crusade, you say? Back off, David. That’s our word.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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  • Lowe

    I have several things to say about this:

    1. this makes me want to read the daily mirror
    2.I need to start using the word "Yoof"
    3.I'm now certain that David Miliband is useless to the Labour party, and should be cut loose
    4. 20% of school leavers illiterate…:O god help us…

    I think the private sector firms are in it up to their necks in the JSA problem as well…apparently they are making people work for free in tescos and places like that…

  • Hi Lowe, thanks for commenting!

    Sorry I haven’t replied sooner – I’ve had a hell of a time getting my comments to actually APPEAR. *Sigh*.

    That said, I enjoyed your constructive list, and I also found the illiteracy and innumeracy stats thoroughly unsettling, they’re almost difficult to absorb. I completely buy the link between the coalition’s reinvestment in big name brands, particularly those in retail, and the new laws governing unemployment and disability allowances.

    Firstly, we’re told that we can fix the economy by buying more stuff (bollocks). Then, it’s the retail companies that owe cartloads of unpaid/avoided/evaded tax, and are allowed to continue trading with only the most mediocre, watery media attention (I’m thinking of the Arcadia group, Vodaphone, Boots…).

  • (To continue…)

    It comes as NO SURPRISE to me that jobseekers are being conscripted into voluntary work placements (the tautology rings from the page) in the already profitable, rich, secure retail industry.

    Because we all know that it’s cheaper to let vulnerable people fall into destitution than it is to subsidise a reasonable standard of living, right? ‘Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons? Let them die and decrease the surplus population’.

    On another point entirely, don’t read the Mirror. Just don’t.

    Annie

  • You made a interesting point but I wonder, what about the other side of the coin?

    • anniedemer

      Hi Jenny, sorry for such a late reply, I'm losing track of commenters!

      I suppose the 'other side' would be to take David Miliband's article at face value – to read it as he intended; to agree with him. That's the best answer I can give, I think. Personally, I'm always suspicious of high-profile politicians sounding off in a tabloid (regardless of Party).

  • Allan Rehmann

    Elias….I agree…I really like those two quotes as well!

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