Once sang the Manic Street Preachers. Honestly I hated them, didnt get their music, style or anything. Actively switched off the radio when they played anything. But today, for no clear reason, this line from one of their songs has played over and over in my head like a little soundworm.
This week the Guardian released data showing, basically how much of a struggle life will be for people born between 1980 and 1995 and are continuing to develop this project with articles over the next few weeks here is one of them : Gen Y.
I am just under that birth date, i was born in 1978. I am on the cusp, somewhere between Gen X and Gen Y (if such actual designations exist). You can read all the articles in the Guardian as you wish. At a recent In defence of youthwork conference last year, the speaker, in describing the plight of young people growing up today, said that its the ‘Have it all Generation, telling the f*** all generation what they still cant have” – not that ‘having’ is the be-all, but you might see the point. Power is currently with those who have everything, and arent afraid at times to show it off.
Today i had a look at what the Government spends its money on: Here is the results from an Economics website:
Broken down it looks like this for 2015:
- Public Pensions £150 billion
- Sickness and disability £40bn
- Old age pensions £107bn
- National Health Care + £133 billion
- State Education + £90 billion
- Secondary education – £25bn
- University education – £11bn
- local education spending – £48bn
- Defence + £46 billion
- Social Security + £110 billion
- State Protection + £30 billion
- Transport + £20 billion
- Railway – £5.2bn
- Roads – £3bn
- Local transport – £9bn
- General Government + £14 billion
- Executive and legislative – £5.9bn
- Other Public Services + £86 billion
- Social housing – £1.2bn
- Waste management – £9bn
- Public Sector Interest + £52 billion
Does anything surprise you here?
For one thing, The UK government spends more money on Pensions for old people (£107Bill) than Education (£90+Bill), so if you imagine that the cost of teaching staff, school maintenance, rebuilding, curriculum, even Ofsted is less than the provision for pensioners in the UK. Im not having a go at the pensioners. But that education of young people doesnt even match it.
Then theres nearly £45 Billion on defence. (possibly not including Trident)
I wonder – what has my generation tolerated? , and what might my children (born after 1995) have to overcome at probably twice the challenge as the generation Y’s will have to according to the guardian piece.
On a collective note, what has the church tolerated whilst not taking on the political powers over the last 25 years or so. What hasn’t been challenged which is going to make every young persons life in the UK a much more difficult experience. They do not have it easier, entertained by technology yes, but that might be the only benefit- and thats only for the have’s of that generation.
Is there a political edge in society any more, one that is visible in the public gaze? Where has political youth culture gone? Was the Manic Street preachers the last of the rallying calls for a better society to prevent current young people from more suffering? Protest as much as we want on social media. no one is listening.
Has the market won? Well, if this article is true then all that is gained is a deeply divided society in which people and the government regard each other with contempt. A contempt that doesnt view the possibility that protest would make a difference because it doesnt hold the government with any respect. In the midst of this i come back and ask myself, what have i tolerated in the ongoing ripping apart of society, that will endanger my own children?
What am i doing even now to help those in the future? Where is the rebuilding of communities, gathering of stories, grassroots gatherings, (some of which saw Jeremy Corbyn & SNP rise), how is the church not just mending community, but challenging the destructors of it. The powers & cultures. We have seen the damage done to young people when those who could have stopped direct damage to them were tolerated, in Rotherham and various BBC/NHS spaces. But what systems are in play that are causing as much if not more long term damage in regard to hope, dreams, creativity, and security.
The church with an active regular political edge might offend some, but if it stand up for the actual poor, and welcomes them in also, might be dramatically being the gospel.