If you haven't heard already, where have you been?
I read about this in tonight's Evening Standard, and have heard a lot about it on LBC (radio) tonight.
To bring you up to speed, I will copy and paste a paragraph from the Evening Standard's article:
Today's 35,000 drop in the unemployment figure is welcome news, the first such fall since spring last year. Youth unemployment also showed a slight drop. Ministers will be particularly encouraged by the rise in private sector employment. Yet there are still 2.65 million unemployed — the number of jobless Londoners rose — and the rate for 16-24-year-olds, more than 22 per cent, remains disturbingly high. That is behind the Government’s call today for employers to “hire a hoodie”. Employment minister Chris Grayling says that companies should give “surly” young men a chance.I write this blog post as a H.R. Manager, and I can honestly say that to hire a hoodie I would first have to interview one. In order for me to do so, they need to apply. If they apply, they need to have a strong enough CV to get through the screening process.
When I am recruiting, my back is normally against the wall in terms of the deadline for appointment, and I don't have time to search for a hoodie.
So I would emplore Chris Grayling to direct his focus elsewhere, i.e. to training schemes, and to youth centres (most of which have closed down). Young people need relevant role models and a sense of community.
Many things in ONE generation have eroded that sense of community.
I give a simple list off the top of my head, without even doing any research, no Googling.... this is not a thesis and I don't have a Phd.
- Religion has lost its grip on society, hence the empty/emptier churches. Given that religion is the opium of the people, or at the very least provides a sense of rules/value/discipline/community/enlightenment, its erosion is having an effect on society.
- Our parent's generation saw most mothers staying at home. This meant that there wasn't the generation of latch-key kids we have now.
- Where both parents DID work, relatives lived nearby, so kids were looked after by FAMILY after school. Even when I was little, my Mum WAS a SAHM, but upon divorce from my Father, I spent a lot of time at my Aunt's. She lived near my school, and provided the rule book between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. that my Mum couldn't due to work commitments, being a single parent family. We now live in a disparate society, where it is not the norm for family to live nearby.
- Salaries have NOT kept up with the cost of living. For ONE generation compare the growth in house prices, to the growth in salaries. This has seen us get poorer. Just ask yourself.... your Dad could pay the mortgage by himself right? Can a lot of Dads do that now, no!
- Thanks to Maggie Thatcher, God rest her soul, we have become chasers of property and are trapped in a mortgage payment cycle. Look up the definition of MORT-GAGE... It aint pretty.
- Given that a great deal of us Londoners travel to work, we are absent from our communities during the day and during the week. Quite often we don't even connect with our communities at the weekend. I focus on London (i) because it is relevant to me and (ii) because the Standard article was weighted towards London, where youth unemployment is high. This results in a "while the cat's away, the mice will play" sensation. I know this for a fact, as I remember how VERY different it was when I was a child in the 1970s. Where a larger amount of women were at home, they would NOTICE if a child was up to no good. As they quite often knew the mother of the child they would tell them. This lead to me being told off for running in front of a car, which wouldn't happen today. I also know how different it is when you DO connect with your community but it took me getting to the age of 37, and being on maternity leave to connect with my community. It has had lasting effects, even though Aaron is now nearly 2 years old. I get my hair cut locally. My corner shop and newsagent know me by name. I buy my takeaways locally. I go to church every Sunday. I know my local cafe owner. All of them would recognise Aaron if they saw him in the street, and all of them would notice if I disappeared. I now have a network, and a "community" and I didn't have to join a "gang" or wear a hoodie to get it. I just had to engage with the streets/shops around me.
- Politicians are now Career Politicians who come out of Eton, and Oxbridge knowing that they want to be a politician. Once upon a time, they would have had a career in industry first and once they were a politician, they would have some life skills. If that was still the case, they wouldn't make ridiculous comments about VAT on Greggs' pasties or storing petrol in the garage (Francis Maude urged motorists to stockpile petrol in containers - "a bit of extra fuel in a jerry can in the garage is a sensible precaution to take,"
- The disappearance of the High Street, thanks to out of town multiples - the DIY "sheds" and the out of town Supermarkets....... more like Hypermarkets, given the size of them today. So gone is the day, when we knew the butcher, the baker, and the candle-stick maker. THAT in itself lead to a huge loss of community. Yes, we may be friendly with our local Sainsburys staff (who are lovely), but it is not the same, as popping into your local greengrocer, and watching them swing your bag of spuds around and around in a brown paper bag. Even I remember that as if it was yesterday.
- In line with this, the obsession with branded sporting goods, including the hoodies themselves. I blame Mike Ashley single-handedly for that. He is the hoodie creator extraordinaire.....!
- We used to have our fizzy pop delivered..... a lovely truck would pull up with Ice Cream Soda and Cherryade and all the kids would go running to give them the empties. Similarly, milk was delivered and you benefited from handing back your empties. Just think about it, they BOTH came in glass bottles and were recycled, even though back then I did not even KNOW the recycle word. Yet ironically I hear that word every hour of every day, and now we wrap everything including milk, and fruit/veg in plastic fantastic. Gone are the days when our veg was wrapped in a simple brown bag which WOULD biodegrade in the soil. Now we talk about recycling but we don't do it. Can you imagine what would happen to GLASS if it was left on every doorstep in today's day and age?? I dread to think!
- And that brings me on to my next point. We have become a nation of talkers. We used to be a nation of doers. What happens? We stop being an Industrialist nation, and because it is all about the service industry we decide to stop offering service? Customer service has gone down... in shops, and from US to the youth. So yes, we talk about recycling but don't and we go on and on and on about service, but rudeness in stores is at an all time high.
- Hey, politicians, get in touch with society and stop running the government with sound-bites. and on the subject of biting, you have bitten off far more than you can chew.
I grew up in Tottenham, where the London riots started, so I do feel slightly within my rights to write this post. I am not some media/journalist/politician/Sociologist just waxing lyrical for the sake of it.
I feel close to hoodies. I walk alongside them everyday. But you know what!?!? You don't win the lottery unless you buy a ticket, and you don't have me hiring a hoodie, until I find one who (1) is applying and (2) has a good CV, and (3) meets the requirements of the role.
Bye for now,