A scarred generation.


Yesterday was a depressing day on the economy. Unlike the constant gloom from the Eurozone, the latest unemployment figures felt very immediate and close to home. An extra 63,000 unemployed young people aged 18-25 was a worse increase than I had feared and raises the worries that once again we will have a generation scarred by long term unemployment.

I was able to take my anger to the Lords chamber and challenge Lord Freud thanks to the foresight of Lord Peston in tabling a question on youth unemployment a month ago. As the last employment minister, I had passed on to my successor falling unemployment; finally increasing participation in education and the Future Jobs Fund we’re having an effect. Depressingly, the lessons have not been learned and unemployment has now risen for the last eight months – preceding the Eurozone crisis (see Larry Elliot’s excellent article in today’s Guardian).

Talking about the scarring effect on young people is nothing compared to going and talking to them about their situation. Today I went to Portsmouth in my capacity as Patron of You, a trust providing supported accommodation and housing services along the south coast. You manage a hostel for young people in the City and I spent what was both an inspirational and depressing hour or so there today.

The manager and her staff provide a temporary home for twenty five 16-25 year olds. They stay for an average of three months before moving on, often to the local Foyer. Staff do a wonderful job with what can be challenging tenants. They provide more than a safe place to live but food, employment and learning support, independent living skills, mentoring and help with move on accommodation. A chat with her and two outreach staff was very revealing.

First is the consequences of the “Southwark judgement”. It appears that this means that any 16 year old is now entitled to present themselves to the local council and be treated as a “looked after child” if they’ve been kicked out of home. As a consequence kids are turning up on their sixteenth birthday and taking priority for any vacancies. The hostel is now having to turn away increasing numbers of 18-25 year olds who are ending up on the streets, with all the social consequences that follow.

The residents, by and large, try their best to make a success of things whilst living at the hostel and claiming benefits. In the last year things have got much tougher. Jobcentre Plus are now much more likely to impose sanctions on their benefits and ignore the appeals of staff. For example one resident had an interview that coincided with his signing on time. He went early to explain he couldn’t make the signing on time and was told it wouldn’t be a problem to come back later and sign on. He asked for something to say that this would be OK and was reassured it would be fine. He came back later and, despite his protestations, suffered a six week sanction. No money for six weeks. The hostel had to feed him from what resources they could muster. Another applied for five kitchen porter jobs in the fortnight but missed one being advertised at the Jobcentre. He suffered a similar sanction.

It is as if Jobcentre Plus staff have a target to reduce the costs through sanctioning.

Then there is the problem of residents on full time courses at college who pass their 19th birthday. At that point they have to pay for their course and Jobcentre Plus requires them to actively seek work full time. They have to give up on their course however well they are doing and however close they are to completing it.

The other thing that is changed is the challenge of getting a permanent home. I met a young lad of around twenty. Articulate and confident, he appeared to have a lot going for him. He’d been at the hostel and then the Foyer for the last couple of years. He was waiting for an operation on his arm at the end of the month. He too had suffered a sanction for not applying for a building job even though his doctor had written to say he couldn’t do building work until after the operation. He was also looking for a rented flat. He’s got the deposit, but now the housing benefit rules have changed. He has to now share to qualify for getting his rent paid and most landlords don’t want numbers of young people so they say no one on benefit under 30 allowed without a guarantor. He therefore can’t move on and he is blocking someone else moving on from the hostel into the Foyer.

It is really tough for these youngsters. They get labelled and it is hard to keep positive. And it is getting much harder. When I mentioned that the last time this happened a generation was scarred, that many went permanently on the sick, the manager got quite animated. The staff do come across those getting too much sickness related benefit. A few had parents who had claimed that their children had various medical conditions so that they qualified for more benefits. When these children got to 16 they then automatically got passported on to higher benefits fitting these conditions. Staff who have struggled to report this were very frustrated that these cases continued whilst money was being regularly taken from those who had so little.

It was an eye opener. Some of these problems have been around a while and were under my watch. I have to take responsibility for that. But it is getting much worse and as the economy stagnates it will only get worse. Oh, and I almost forgot to say that the latest housing benefit changes being consulted on means many of these hostels will have to close.

30 comments for “A scarred generation.

  1. Gareth Howell
    17/11/2011 at 6:08 pm

    If you are young and single, the world is your oyster. South America, Australia, Canada, South Africa… so many places.

    Unemployment is a culture of its own, and kids are taught how to be part of that state culture
    and how to stay at home while at school.

  2. Lord Blagger
    17/11/2011 at 6:34 pm

    What are you talking about?

    Last year, 150,000 new jobs were created for and filled by migrants.

    Aren’t you pro European? We’re helping get Europe going.

    So what if the UK has to pay lots of money for people on benefits. After all its paying lots of money and still gets told of by Merkel and Sarkozy because Cameron is a naughty boy.

    Onwards and upwards until there his no more money to steal!

    • 18/11/2011 at 5:17 pm

      If those statistics are accurate, you have to ask, why did all those migrants get the jobs instead of the British person you are suggesting failed to get the job as a result? Is there a reason they are inherently better than the British applicants? One would have thought there would be a slight bias towards British people (in terms of cultural differences, language, don’t have a funny accent, etc.) Either the British citizens aren’t sufficiently skilled or qualified, or else they aren’t applying for those particular jobs for some reason.

      A couple of months ago there was a Radio 4 documentary (I forget the details now) in which a young man turned down a decent job as a chef – something he was skilled in – because it meant working at the weekend, which would ruin his social life. Perhaps the job went to an EU citizen instead, whom I’m sure was prepared to work as necessary.

  3. Lord Blagger
    17/11/2011 at 6:39 pm


    Should be required reading for you.

    It’s all of you’re own creation.

    You have set the rules up, and people are taking advantage of the rules. There is no need for these kids to leave home, its just cheaper for the parents, and that is being parasitical on society. That’s part of the reason why there is 7 trillion of state debt that you will never pay.

    You created it, you’ve profited from it. You are responsible for the mess

  4. MilesJSD
    17/11/2011 at 7:33 pm

    (who do most fervently pray you be included in this)
    need to radically revise our conception and paradigm of “national service”,
    to include both a new syllabus for a forward-sustainworthy Progressive Earth Citizenship
    and an improved more localised-biome new syllabus for British Citizenship.

    Now we shall be applying our minds, muscles, materials, and monies
    to the wholesome,holistic, all-round and liberal education and training of not just our Youth
    but of our most Senior too,
    indeed even of babies-still-in-the-womb, who also have been shown by world-wide Expertises, to be genericly-‘pre’-educable – possibly even a little ‘trained’ already –

    and all of this Non-Workplace, and well within this now recommended Lifeplace Holistic Individual Health & Human Development Curriculum.

    Should any-one feel short-of-sources to fill this proposed newe Lifeplace-Enabling Curriculum, pleaswe have them copy from lists submitted under my name (milesjsd, JSDM, jm) to this selfsaame ‘blogs-of-the-lords’ would-be-democratic e-site, since May 2010.

    I would respectfully and earnestly suggest that it would take neither the Clubs of Rome and Budapest, nor the UNHDP, nor even the British Ministry for Education, to detect how such an all-round life-enabling Curriculum could be enjoyed and found equally useful by all who are employed-in-jobs, or are on one-way-upwards-“socially-mobile” career-ladders.
    Yours sincerely, JSDM (and Friends).

  5. Dave H
    17/11/2011 at 7:46 pm

    Part of the problem is that many in the 18-25 yr age range have been failed by the education system. They’ve been taught how to pass a few tests to boost school league table position, but are actually useless at anything involving original thought. Add to this the dumbing down of science, and the fact that the popularity of science and other useful subjects has waned. I have in the past interviewed candidates for jobs in my field and it is hard work, with very few suitable candidates despite the number of applications. Many will just give a blank look instead of at least attempting to reason out an answer from basic knowledge, which leads me to suspect that they don’t possess that basic knowledge.

    TV doesn’t help either, most factual material is designed for people with a couple of minutes’ attention span, with interminable repeating of soundbites and attempts to sensationalise trivia by the narrator.

    The problem we have is the culmination of many years of steady decline and it has reached crisis because now we no longer have the money (or the illusion of money) to support the problem any more. Sadly, it is likely to take many years before we can pull out of it, because the scarred generation of which you speak has been many years in preparation and we have to reverse that whole ‘someone else will pay’ mentality that is prevalent.

    • MilesJSD
      17/11/2011 at 10:28 pm

      One key to this gluey-mess is the worldwide failure to clearly distinguish between

      Training-for-a-career or other (“preferably ‘decent'”*)


      Training dominates,
      but both are being under-done:

      in university your reading is limiited to the shelves of books the university “can afford to keep”, namely only those books that that university “teaches”.

      outside of university there is no Britain-wide community association that supports and ‘mutually-learns’ from “extra-mural” advances
      (a few of which I regularly mention to one or other of the Lords of the Blog:
      “Natural Vision Improvement” (Goodrich;
      “Six Thinking Hats” (de Bono);
      “Awareness Through Movement” (Feldenkrais);
      “How To Win Every Argument” (Pirie);

      one new one just acquired that, like the above, helps you to better response-ability in the Lifeplace, and better responsibility in the Workplace is:
      “Ways to Better Breathing” (Speads) – this easy-to-read self-help work contains a simple key secret
      ((which alas! because of my right-not-to-share-knowledge-& know-how, lest I should be caught-out as-it-were ‘casting pearls before swine’, I had better refrain from broadcasting-around here)).

      Another ‘key’ is the very same kind of “someone else will pay” prevalent mentality, that Dave H levels at young job-applicants unable to think for themselves

      (incidentally a TV top-educational-expert yesterday was telling out how to write your university-essay in fiv e hours flat, and how to gain your degree: you must avoid saying anything controversial, especially never mentioning anything political, religious, sexual, or likely to unsettle a tutor, professor, examiner, or prospective-employer)

      This ‘key’ is the drawing of more than one-human-living from the Common Purse by tens-of-millions of individuals –
      ask the question of each (and please do publish any answer any of them may deign to dignify you with)
      The question : “So how many human-livings does the World-Owe-You, then ?”
      * playback the 2010 House of Commons Youth Parliament to hear this “howler” holding sway, and being encouraged by The Speaker:
      “having a university degree is the only way of getting a decent job” –

      Dave H is right about common lack of “ability to do basic thinking”;
      it seems to never occur to such public-speakers and governance-leaders that they are calling the vast majority of jobs in Britain “not decent”.
      Now we do know, don’t we, who has brought up these young people;
      who has taught them, trained them,
      and who are in the much larger number of social, professional, and parliamentary experts who still will be highly-paid to be “further educating” these people, and boasting about it, vying for medals and Honours Titles, and even going-on-strike for “better-pay”.

      We do know all about it; and we do discuss it in our various local-egalitarian-democracy meetings and more-frequent open-democratic discussion get-togethers, don’t we ?

      We are a good example to these neglected, apathetic, and “scarred” generations who come seeking some sustainworthy win-win-win work and a decent human-living therefrom, aren’t we ?
      Voices seem to be speaking from somewhere on high;
      (Of course, that sort of talk is too far ‘off topic’ for noble-peers to waste precious governance time Debating:

      but The People can discuss such minor matters as much as they like in their own time;
      after all, it’s a free-country, isn’t it ?”).

  6. Gareth Howell
    17/11/2011 at 8:10 pm

    Every different part of the world seems to have different imbalances. What life in Poland must be like with several million of their young people just upped and gone to other countries to earn a living I cannot imagine. What life in Chile must be like where the population is 50% under 25, I can imagine. The shoes would be on my feet with complaining about gerontophilia.
    Wouldn’t I be made a fuss of (and Miles too)?

    In sub saharan Africa such as my Ky missionary brother is working in now, 50% of the women die in childbirth by the time they are 45, having had a five or more children.

    Her in the UK the sanitized, homogenized pastuerized, and MMR vaccinated United kingdom, the world owes the youth a living, and sends quite a bit of it by air every day, whilst misguided politicians claim that they are scarred and damaged because they do not have to get up until lunch time.

    If too much sleep scars then that may be the case, but otherwise there is none. The black economy, better known as creative unemployment entails that most of those kids will go and do something once they have signed on, or got their dole, and spend the rest of their day doing what they creatively want to do.

    Tax credits succeeded in encapsulating this disposition to earn while claiming,by requiring benefits to be claimed as well as taxes to be paid at the same time to the day, or week.

    Nobody is scarred; it is just that there is no real need to work if you do not want to earn anything more than a subsistence wage.

    There is a very big difference between the relaxed catholic approach and the protestant work ethic put forward by govt ministers.
    Why promote fierce competition amongst the young, when a relaxed, happy person, not particularly well employed, may make a far more positive contribution to the wider community?

  7. shazzyrm
    18/11/2011 at 10:47 am

    My youngest son (he’s 20) was so daunted not being able to find a job and having to put up with the, we know better than you, attitudes from job centre plus that he gave up and went back to college. He’s now doing a painting and decorating course and enjoying himself immensely. Only problem with this is he has absolutely no income whatsoever and is struggling financially. There’s no safety net for him. He’s once again living off me and on my measley two weekly ESA.

    I have another son who is older (24) who sits in his room all day utterly depressed at not being able to find a job so that he can move out and be independent. He does everything he is asked to do and more and applies for anything going. Every time it’s time to go down to the job centre, you can see the hopelessness of it all on his face. It’s heartbreaking.

    It’s an awful time for these youngsters. A demeaning time also, especially after the media have been describing those on benefits as cheats and scroungers.
    I would suggest stopping all of these sanctions meanwhile before things become a lot more serious because you can bet the suicide rate is going to go up pretty soon. There’s no point having sanctions on benefits if there are no jobs out there to go to or apply for.

    • Lord Blagger
      18/11/2011 at 1:11 pm

      There’s no point having sanctions on benefits if there are no jobs out there to go to or apply for.

      2.5 million migrants are working here, lots in low skilled jobs.

      150,000 new migrants were added to that list last year alone.

      The latter is direct evidence that there are jobs.

      The first shows that if we sort out migration, that we can create 2.5 million vacancies for people to fill.

      • maude elwes
        19/11/2011 at 5:49 pm


        Population surge is part of the problem and we are told today that England, not the UK as a whole, just England, is the fourth most crowded country. We come in line after Bangladesh, Taiwan, South Korea, Lebanon and England. And this is a direct result of mass immigration.

        Now here is the rub. We are also told, by our heavily right wing papers, that Brussels said yesterday that it wants to now make it easier for immigrants to get into Europe in order to ‘boost’ economies.

        Apparently, Cecilia Malmstrom, EU home affairs commisioner, says the new systems would help migrants get visas faster, find jobs matching their skills, to enable them to send money to family members back home. What is it they are not telling us?

        Ms Malmstrom is also said to have suggested the EU was establishing ‘mobility partnerships’ with Tunisia and Morocco to manage their migration and hoped to establish this movement with Egypt and Libya accordingly.

        Here it is. At about the fifth down. And this person tells us we need more immigration for ‘our survival.’


        Am I missing something here.? Would someone like to put me straight? What are these people being told to make them give such an outrageously stupid statement?

        If it is because of an aging population, then the majority of immigrants, ones already settled in Europe, bring in their entire extended families of aged parents with them, under the guise of human rights regulation. And if you go to our hospitals and clinics you will see they are full of men and women who have recently arrived and need serious medical priority, whilst our tax paying public wait in line to be seen in three months or more.

        This is monstrous and why is the electorate putting up with it? And by electorate, I mean the entire European block, it is not just the British who are in distress over this enforced cultural change. In fact we are the least active Europeans on the entire issue.

        Our schools are in serious trouble as a direct result of ‘mass immigration.’ The rate of immigrant children entering our schools has increased to such an enormous percentage teachers are overwhelmed with the expectations of parents and the conflicting difficulty of so many of their pupils being unable to speak English.

        What is going on here? No matter which government is in power this strategy remains in tact. And Europe is not the originator. The USA began this a very long time ago. And the problems have been noted and despair is spreading throughout the people in the States the same way as here and in Europe.

        This was written in 2007, and it has become uncontrollable now.


        And the absolute wrong thinking here on kids can’t get jobs in the UK because they are poorly educated, is not at all the entire truth. The USA have people as old as young as sixteen and as old as fifty with degrees as long as your arm and they cannot get jobs either. They work as waiters, bar men, burger tossers, baggage handlers and on and on, some with physics degrees. They do two, three and four jobs which is becoming less able to pay their rent or mortgage. And this began in the seventies/eighties there. The service industry is all there is, just about.

        You don’t need a PHD for that kind of job. In fact, the truth is, our State doesn’t want more bright, educated to a true degree level, population. The media studies, haridressing and beauty courses are a USA aping and it’s practice is to keep the population from wanting to reach for higher pay. And immigration keeps the pay level to a minimum. But that low pay isn’t low enough, according to the Tory boys, it has to be cut further as to refuse a job that pays two pounds an hour is a nonsense according to them. As is apparently they see a future with children up chimneys. Don’t laugh, read his essay.


        This piece by AN Wilson, headed, Death of the Working Class, explains very well what is happening here, but not why. The reason the wages for workers is falling to an all time low, is so those in the top echelons of society can have more of the economic pie. Greed is good after all.

        This is a nice example to cuddle up with in bed with. Because, you are all paying for it by accepting all the guff they are giving you on Globalization and Market forces. It is a con.

        This climate Minister is buying himself a second home, coincidentally named, Blair Castle, which has 16 bathrooms to keep him happy at our expense. Is he planning to house a multitude of immigrants with him I wonder?


        • Lord Blagger
          20/11/2011 at 12:35 pm

          Brussels said yesterday that it wants to now make it easier for immigrants to get into Europe in order to ‘boost’ economies.

          Actually its to prevent the European equivalent of Arab uprisings. They are assuming that the UK will take the economic refugees from the PIIGS.

          jobs matching their skills, to enable them to send money to family members back home.

          So come to the UK, consume UK taxpayer’s resources in the process, and then ship the profits overseas.

          And immigration keeps the pay level to a minimum. But that low pay isn’t low enough, according to the Tory boys, it has to be cut further as to refuse a job that pays two pounds an hour is a nonsense according to them. As is apparently they see a future with children up chimneys. Don’t laugh, read his essay.

          Well, you need to set it up as follows.

          1. Minimum wage must be above benefit levels. When Labour has been paying people 170K a year in benefits, tax free, it’s not going to work.

          2. People who are employed need to produce more value than the costs of employing them.

          3. Then comes the glorious plan of all the parties. The economy has to service government, and in particular its debts, not vice versa. That’s the new economy.

          So what’s the solution?

          1. You can come, but you have to pay more tax per migrant that the average government spend. 40K per migrant. (80K with a dependent wife)

          2. You can stay so long as you meet these criteria. Annual check on a tax form.

          3. Illegal migration needs to be tackled.

          a) Countries have to supply travel documents for those that have lost them within 3 working days, or even better with copies of documents – see c.

          b) Fingerprinting on the way in

          c) Copies of documents kept.

          That way, when caught, people can be deported fast.

          The more illegal migrants or overstayers from a country, then visa costs are escalated to cover those costs. If necessary, there is a bond from an insurance company to cover. Bond repaid on exit, or after 6 months with no exit visa.

          d) Round up those here. Immediate deportation.

          e) Employers caught employing illegals. A simple choice. 5K personal fine, or employ someone on benefits for a year. The fine is postponed for a year.

          Lots can be done, but they are too busy costing us 2,700 a day as peers. Food and drink subsidy excluded.

          • maude elwes
            22/11/2011 at 7:43 am


            I am beginning to get an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ moment, or, is it ‘Through the Looking Glass? The mad tea party syndrome with a white rabbit checking his watch as he speeds past the table. Talk in circles and ‘off with their heads.’ The dormouse is asleep and suddenly you fall down the well and shrink, or, is it grow?

            Of course they know how to regulate and reduce and even stop adding more people to this over crowded, lost, little island, but, the ‘they’ don’t want to. Which indicates there must be something in it for ‘them.’ On a personal level that is.

            No one in their right mind would consider the situation we find ourselves in, and the monstrous circumstances the open door policy has had/is having, and consider those we are led by as sane.

            No clear view on the matter. And certainly no grasp of reality or focus on the issue is forthcoming.

            All that can be said, with anything like certainty is, government must love the mess we are in! It gives them an open door policy to rob the tax payer without having scrutiny of their actions. And they must get off on the absolute fact that the people are totally opposed to it. That rush of power it sends to them has to be akin to the equivalent of self imposed strangulation. (Inxs)

            There can be no other explanation.

          • Lord Blagger
            22/11/2011 at 11:19 am

            Inxs? Surely you mean Mr Milligan MP.

            On the migration issue.

            It’s simple. Make sure that migrants pay more tax than the average government spend. They can stay here so long as they meet that test, and have no recourse to public funds.

            No need for central planning.

            I think you will find, particularly with Labour that the migration bit is all about Gerrymandering. Get lots of poor here, and they will vote Labour because Labour pay them. Add on the Guilt part as well about being ex colonialists.

            Then you have the Lords syndrome. What does a political wonk do when they lose their seat because the electorate doesn’t like them?

            Lords or EU, they know have a choice. Sell out to the EU, and you get in there.

            Or if you’re a tory, sell out to a company seeking rent.

            See Trustcot for how to make the Lords work for you selling changes to legistlation.

    • Gareth Howell
      18/11/2011 at 4:59 pm

      (24) who sits in his room all day utterly depressed at not being able to find a job so that he can move

      He may be listening to music. If it is bad music then he will be depressed; if it is good music then it may be creative…..

      shazzy’s remarks are footling in the extreme.

      If her son does that, then he has got rather more problems than being unemployed.

      He could start making something, but music is a very useful occupation,in itself, even learning to distinguish between the good and the bad, in his opinion.

      If his mother blathers like that, it is not surprising he has depression problems; it’s a family matter.

      Music lifts the soul!


      As for lord Knight’s blather, it is a bit rich for a man who has spent some years administering war abroad to talk about scarring of people who are merely sitting at home, in comfort.

      If they were on the streets on hard drugs, that would be scarring.

      Lord Knight’s argument is BANALE; banale in the extreme.

  8. Twm O'r Nant
    18/11/2011 at 11:11 am

    Dave H’s post is an accurate one.
    but are actually useless at anything involving original thought.

    He did not use the word “practical”. Nobody is practical any more! Being practical comes with living and doing.

    Some who want to be practical in the sciences
    are deluded in to thinking that ONLY being practical is the way forward. In bee Breeding for example, 5% of your time is essential book learning and reading, the other 95% is handling. Without the 5%, the 95% is much wasted time.

    The same may apply to car mechanics, or mechanics of any sort. School provides 95%
    book learning and possibly 5% practical, and then they think they know it all!

  9. Croft
    18/11/2011 at 12:23 pm

    “As the last employment minister, I had passed on to my successor falling unemployment; finally increasing participation in education and the Future Jobs Fund we’re having an effect. Depressingly, the lessons have not been learned and unemployment has now risen for the last eight months – preceding the Eurozone crisis”

    Youth unemployment was 664,000 in ’97 and 920,000 in May 2010. That after an almost unprecedented period of growth. Even on % changes its poor progress.

    The most interesting figure is Laura Kuenssberg’s tweet that the “Number of UK Nationals in work fell 280k compared to this time last year, number of non-UK Nationals in work increased 147k over same time”

    The government now nor indeed the previous government can’t duck the fact it clearly has failed in the education sector to produce workers that employers actually want to hire.

  10. ladytizzy
    18/11/2011 at 6:31 pm

    A recurring theme is apparent in several comments above, that of the state not playing their part in ensuring that young people are sufficiently educated, especially in the core areas of literacy and numeracy.

    Counterintuitively, perhaps, the previous gvt can claim that the proportion of school leavers with five GCSEs at Grade C or equivalent was halved, from c.50% at the turn of the century to c.25% a decade later. Yet, as Croft states above, youth unemployment was approaching 1m before the last general election; one in nine 16-18year-olds were NEETS in 2000, increasing to one in ten in 2010. Whatever the problem is today was certainly in existence and growing before the last election.

    One explantion is that employers have become more picky, where they might select a more qualified candidate than is necessary to do the job. Another is that school leavers do not have the right qualifications to either get a basic job or a place in higher education. Whichever way you twist the stats, the “five GCSEs at Grade C or equivalent” norm has become meaningless to employers, most of whom are likely to have been educated when eight GCEs were the norm.

    I should clarify that by employer I mean someone who runs and owns their business, rather than someone from CIPD.

    Anyway, employers are frog-marched to an Industrial Tribunal if we discriminate due to age, including someone who is ‘of an age’ who is a friend of a prospective candidate – while I’m here, please tell me, who exactly dreamt up ‘discrimination by association’?

    • Croft
      19/11/2011 at 2:52 pm

      “Another is that school leavers do not have the right qualifications to either get a basic job or a place in higher education.”

      Last year ~45% of pupils missed a C in English/Maths. ~22% took the English Bac (Eng/maths/2Sci/language/History or Geog) A Bac is compulsory in Germany/Japan and many of our global competitors.

      Though I don’t think that is the central problem. For too long we have engaged in this farce of pushing less academic children into meaningless vocation qualifications that simply have no job prospect at the end. If employers don’t want the subject then the exercise is just a way of fudging people from the unemployment register under the guise that they are ‘training’.

      • Lord Blagger
        19/11/2011 at 4:52 pm

        Quite right. If you can’t come out of school with a pass in Mathematics and English at GCSE, then you have been failed.

        Note who runs this system. It’s the state.

        When all roads lead back to the state, its the state that is the problem not the solution.

        Even the banking mess leads back to the state.

        Who bought the shares at the high price? Gordon Brown

        Who bailed out the banks? Gordon Brown

        Who didn’t regulate? Gordon Brown

        Who set up the regulatory system (tripartite)? Gordon Brown.

        Who spent all the state pension contributions? The lot of them

        Who is running an unfunded civil service pension system? The state

        Who runs the schools that fail? The state

        Who runs the health system that contributes to 20-80,000 deaths a year? The state

        Who has accumulated 7,000 bn of debts? The state


      • ladytizzy
        19/11/2011 at 5:59 pm

        Not sure if I entirely agree with you, Croft. Certainly business owners should be consulted more, and on a regular basis, to get a better understanding of what exactly is needed before forcing expensive and unnecessary training on to wide-eyed hopefuls. Yet without what is available it is tricky for employers to select, both fairly and legally.
        On the other hand, it is more likely that in-house training will be given to youngsters who have little more than an NVQ1, so any gvt sponsored training is mostly a waste of time and money. However, the key for the unemployed is to get a job offer in the first place, and round and round we go in circles.
        Where I do agree is best exemplified by Gordon Brown’s Budget speech of 2006, always worth another airing, in which he stated that: “And of 3.4 million unskilled jobs today, we will need only 600,000 by 2020.”
        In other words, apart from, say, shelf-stackers we will all be semi-skilled at the very least. False premise, false hope.

        PS bit of a howler in the second para of my previous comment: “…the proportion of school leavers with five GCSEs at Grade C or equivalent was halved…”
        Of course, it should read “…school leavers without…” Doh.

  11. Gareth Howell
    18/11/2011 at 7:05 pm

    Lord Knight consistently preaches the capitalist message with his “scarring” talk,

    The anti capitalist message is one of peace and harmony, which the above shazzy’s son may achieve by NOT looking for work which he has every right to do, and still get a basic subsistence wage.

    The pure in heart according to him go out and fight. The “scarred” do the opposite. A curious and unexplained paradox, in his so called socialist world view, which gives the real impression of being a rampant capitalism, in theory tempered by a charitable cause, in practice merely reinforcing his falsely held views.

    • Dave H
      19/11/2011 at 12:29 pm

      I put it to you that what has happened is not capitalism. In capitalism the banks would have been allowed to fail, as with any business that got it wrong and while we might still be in a mess, it wouldn’t be this one.

      • Gareth Howell
        21/11/2011 at 8:59 am

        not capitalism. In capitalism the banks would have been allowed to fail, as with any business that got it wrong and

        But it is very much state capitalism, and was nu-labour not in the hot seat at the time?

        The curious thing about socialists is that they are always keener than the reactionaries to acquire possessions on behalf of the state, which they feel belongs to “them”, and in which they take a great pride.

        • Lord Blagger
          21/11/2011 at 11:04 am

          It’s corporatism, and its based on rent seeking.

          It’s far easier to lobby and get the government to force people to hand over the cash to you, that it is to take the capitalistic solution, and compete for the business.

          The best example is the green movement. Here the rich are robbing the poor with the feed in tarrif. The Greens have got the government to steal from the poor by forcing them to pay over the odds for their electricity.

          Capitalism on the other hand would have them compete.

          • maude elwes
            22/11/2011 at 1:57 pm

            It has been verified that those on the top rung are paid grossly over inflated wages, salaries, emoluments, or, whatever you find the more appealing name for it, than the regular man in the street.

            The citizens have been robbed of their rights to expect a reasonable income for a reasonable job along with their tax money. Whilst those who do little real work clean up with 50 times more than Mr Regular. Remember the Conservative thrust of back to the Victorian era is the way to go. And Labour was in attendance assisting every inch of the way with Blair and Brown on duty.

            Mandelson and ‘Labour’ is happy with the filthy rich getting richer,’ or something to that leaning.

            And this Government’s answer is to radically cut corporations taxes. They really have their snouts in this trough don’t they?

            Business News says,


            And the tabloids view.


            This might be a good thought to chew over.


  12. 28th Hywel dda
    18/11/2011 at 7:06 pm

    Lord Knight consistently preaches the capitalist message with his “scarring” talk,

    The anti capitalist message is one of peace and harmony, which the above shazzy’s son may achieve by NOT looking for work which he has every right to do, and still get a basic subsistence wage.

    The pure in heart according to him go out and fight. The “scarred” do the opposite. A curious and unexplained paradox, in his so called socialist world view, which gives the real impression of being a rampant capitalism, in theory tempered by a charitable cause, in practice merely reinforcing his falsely held views.

  13. MilesJSD
    18/11/2011 at 9:15 pm

    My letter-to-Youth and indeed to One-and-All in any way life-restricted, is in-progress:

    “Since the Workplace ‘owns’ you for only a 25%-timeframe,
    and you thereafter largely ‘own’ your own lifeplace or life-path in the greater Lifeplace for the remaining much larger 75% ‘off-duty’ timeframe,
    you can wholeheartedly address your Lifeplace identity-and-abiilities; they do need to be holisticly-budgeted so that you can become 75% ever-increasingly sustain-worthy and self-actualising, as a developing ‘Earth-citizen’, outside of schools and workplaces, if you will.

    In short, beware of inflating, even ‘polluting’, your 75%-life-timeframe, with your far-off and greatly narrowed-down 25%-workplace ‘identity’ and ‘prowess’.

    Think of your ‘unemployment’ as huge-time-off, during which you can strengthen both your 75%-lifeplace abilities and your personal-self-awarenesses and controls;

    and if you have a buddy or a non-workplace likeminded egalitarian ‘social’ group, make some regular hours every week to meet in a safe quiet place, and focus together on one self-improvement resource at a time – for ‘mutual self-awarenessing’, ‘personal-growth’, ‘win-win-win-problem-solving’, or lifeskills-enablement-sharing.

    Non-workplace ‘abilities’ are completely different from workplace skills.
    We have no choice about our workplace skills, they are pre-directed by the Employer and from those even higher above;
    but at least during the 40 hour working week you can’t be spending your own money whilst at work ! –

    so, allowing 8 hours sleep per day, you have 80 hours a week to be focusing on and improving your Personal-abilities and Lifeplace-know-hows.

    (A number of self-improvement books and 5-steps win-win-win cooperative problem solving manuals, not taught by schools, universities nor upheld by local social and community centres, may be found amongst my previous submissions to various Lords of the Blog postings:
    up-front I recommend buying
    “Awareness Through Movement” (Feldenkrais);
    “Natural Vision Improvement” (Goodrich);
    “Six Thinking Hats” (de Bono);
    “How to Win Every Argument” (Pirie):
    (Amazon has them).

    Good luck !

  14. Gareth Howell
    21/11/2011 at 8:54 am

    Miles have been listening to government plans to make “slivers” of time easier to work in,
    a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there, possibly having half a dozen employers in the course of a week.

    It is probably done extensively already on a self employed basis, but the big employers would have to do so on a formal basis, which the govt does not currently provide for.

    Remember that govt prefers to deal with big employers since it is easier to raise tax through passing the burden on to the employer.

    So “slivers of time” applies to people working for several corporate employers, during the course of the week.

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