Wednesday, 12 October 2016


David Cameron: the man who grew up wanting to be Prime Minister just because he wanted to be Prime Minister; the man who fucked up the future of his country in order to win one more election. Today we learn that his first post-politics "job" is to be the chairmanship of the National Citizen Service, a summer camp wheeze available for those able to stump up fifty quid to keep their teenage kids out of their hair for a week. We are meant to believe that the point of this cheesily-advertised gimmick is to "instil responsibility in young people".

For now, let's not get into challenging the dubious notion that young people are inherently less responsible than, say, middle-aged people. Let's take it as axiomatic even though it should not be.

The UK would not need a quango designed to "instil", via some contrived process, the laudable quality of "responsibility" if British subjects could look forward to satisfying, stable employment paid well enough to sustain a decent life and adequate housing. Responsibility would be among the qualities to flower naturally in workplaces in which employees felt valued and were paid properly. Same goes for the effects of enjoying the support networks inherent in neighbourhoods of long-term residents secure in their ability to pay the rent or mortgage.

But this is a pipe dream. Late model capitalism - against which a serious challenge is seemingly unthinkable - deliberately creates anxious, self-loathing, self-medicating individuals prepared to fight each other for table scraps: gig economy non-jobs in the real world; likes and retweets in the virtual world into which young (and not-so-young) people must retreat, attempting to mitigate their alienation but, in practice, making it very much worse.

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