A Letter For Our Youth // Comment for Evening Standard
Alas tabloids can be a cunt for context..
The riots, a frivolous weekend of urban joy-riding and grand theft auto lunacy – a consequence of growing crime rates, sour politics or a disenfranchised youth? The argument rages on. But while Mayoral candidates spin their whipped egos into webs of fiction, this country’s youth stands in an unacceptable position. “It’s a vicious cycle – you either end up in a minimum skills job without much career improvement opportunities, or you have to sacrifice financial stability for an unknown amount of time just to get a foot on the ladder,” says photographer, Jon Barker. The youth’s political absence is not a consequence of ignorance, but more a problem with politics dishonesty. When education is being cut, but investment pours steadily into the lucrative city institutions, it’s any wonder we build our own political forums as a means of expression and education. If we can form communities in the darkness of urban living, why do we still continue to be misinterpreted by politicians?
Young people aren’t stupid, they realise that politics is just a game of deception. But having their skills devalued, courted as ‘teenage angst’ doesn’t help affairs. It’s not like this countries youth aren’t aspirational, but at every step we’re told we’re just the deficit of a broken system. Devalued, and misunderstood, it’s any wonder we take to the internet to broadcast our misfortunes. You can spend a year just looking for a position, not ever being offered an interview, and that’s for minimum wage work. “I have tried dozens of times asking for work in shops, cafes and boutiques and constantly I am met with boundaries and ‘were not hiring right now’ it’s tedious and disheartening..” says student, Lucy Porter.
We’re a set of networked, entrepreneurial individuals, driven by happiness rather than profit or manifesto. That isn’t any dream; it’s the reality of a changing social understanding. So, why not invest in the supposed hoddie-primed, angst fuelled youth? The desperate and lost souls who try so hard to make ends meet. We’re not the ones who crave for a sour relationship with society.