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Posted by on Feb 16, 2012 in Economy | 7 comments

A generational failure

I heard a heartbreaking story today. A story which I am sure I have heard a number of times, but today it has followed me like an ugly familiar shadow. It is a story about an ambitious young lady in her early 20’s. She did the right things; she did her GCSE’s, her A-Levels (UK high-school exams), she went to University and she came back home with a degree. She did the right things.

But what she found when she got home was rejection. She applied for 200 vacancies. 200. She couldn’t find 1 job from 200 vacancies. As a result, this young lady killed herself.

Again, I am sure I have heard this story before, but today, it broke my heart. It maybe because I am also unemployed, educated to degree level and relatively young, but fortunately I have managed to keep my spirits up these past five months. I tried to construct a valid political argument to why I, this young lady and thousands of other young people in the UK remain unemployed, but no amount of political reasoning or justification will bring back that young lady to her family and friends.

Like many political enthusiasts, I too get caught up in these numbers and try to analyse and manipulate these figures to fit my own political elegancies and my own constructed reality. What this tragic story has made me realise is that behind these woeful unemployment numbers are real people. Real people with real families – real people who belong to a community. These figures are not just politics.

This story also makes me angry at today’s politicians and business leaders. My generation has to now start coming to terms with the fact that our father’s and mother’s generation of leaders and politicians failed us – their leadership has been found wanting. It maybe up to our generation to get our country out of the mess that it is in and sacrifice for our kids. They told us that they have finally gotten rid of the economic cycles of “boom and bust”, yet here we are, young, bust, depressed and fearful of the future.

In my humble opinion, there is no reason – no conservative reason, no liberal reason, no Labour reason, no Tory reason, no reason that I can think of why a young girl of 22 years old should want to kill herself because she felt she had no future. This girl should have been hopeful of her prospects in Britain – but now she’s dead.