Claude Mickleson, Anti-cuts activist, Forest of Dean
‘The old are money-grabbers who want something for nothing and fuss when they don’t get it.’ … ‘The young won’t do a fair day’s work and laze around causing trouble.’ While the middle aged and “baby boomers” were ‘brought up with unrealistic expectations’ and ‘demand more than the country can afford’.
These common typecasts probably fit a few people but most people of any age just want a reasonable life of peace and prosperity.
Such stereotyping pleases the capitalists, who want to drive a wedge between us. I think the young are having a bad time of it.
I’m now 89 and left school 75 years ago. I had to take any available job and delivered groceries on a bike for ten shillings (50 pence) a week.
Even then, it couldn’t keep a growing lad. My parents still had to keep me, living hand to mouth, as my dad’s job was insecure and there were brothers and sisters. When the war came I joined the RAF, where I was fed and clothed.
A youngster today has higher expectations – that’s called progress. These days, someone leaving school at 16 or older, probably better educated than I was, is lucky to get a job.
This creates many problems unless he/she has well-heeled parents to support them, help them study and provide a deposit on a house.
Jobs for all
It’s a crime that young people cannot get employment, something we all need to fulfil our lives and provide for our needs.
The capitalist class wants to discipline workers by saying: “There’s plenty waiting for your job if you don’t behave.”
A socialist’s principle should be that we are all fully trained and gainfully employed for the prosperity of us all.
If any person is left on the scrapheap for any time it can become much more difficult to return to work and that’s not good for them or the rest of us.
Then there’s the Old Codgers, who served in the armed forces, worked in factories, farms, shipyards, coalmines or shops.
Few except the rich escaped ‘their duty’. Life was hard. If the baby boomers’ lives later improved it was because their parents, after a grim war, were determined that their children would have a better life.
Times improved slowly until 1979 when we were burdened with the ‘Iron Lady’. We had to fight for every improvement – now we must defend them.
Since Thatcher life has become harder – especially as we were let down by Labour which always professed to support the working class, yet the leadership always fails to defend us.
Now we face an extension of the working age despite a desperate shortage of jobs and a million young people facing a lousy start in life.
In future people will be getting older, more infirm and worn out and slaving until they drop, while the young are out of work and kicking their heels.
We should make sure that everyone who is fit and able to work has a decent, fairly paid job. Those too old or disabled should be provided for and cared for with dignity.