A recent headline in the Daily Telegraph suggests something needs to be done to save young voters from the ‘hard left’ ….
The article in The Daily Telegraph suggests the young need reminding of the benefits of a Neo-libeal economic system. Stating ‘millennials’ need to be reminded that the free market has filled their world with iPhones, Just Eat deliveries and internet dating, and they should be thankful!
The benefits of the free market and a neoliberal economic system are further extolled by the author suggesting free markets create the wealth to pay for the welfare state. Not wholly the case, I thought the disproportionate tax low earners pay, compared to the rich, also funded our public services? The free market also provides full employment, the author suggests, although it does not mention the multitude of jobs with no future or meaning the young languish in, zero hours contracts, low wages and ongoing insecurity which prevents millennials seeing a future, let along planning a future.
Ways of wooing millennials away from the ‘hard left’ are explored, firstly by tackling extortionate student loan interest rates, increased this year to 6.1%. Ummmm, hasn’t neoliberal ideology, making education a commodity to be bought and sold like baked beans, created the student loan process in the first, and given providers free reign to set interest rates? Tackling rising housing costs is identified as another area to focus on to woo millennials away from the ‘hard left’. Ummmm, aren’t rising housing costs due to the free market and Neo-liberal ideology also?
These minor points aside….., there are further suggestions, such as millennials should be given shares for nothing, and government should deposit £10,000 in an Isa for 18-30 yr olds. Not sure how this would be funded, but possibly from the much maligned ‘magic money tree’ ….. which should’nt be a problem as our hard up government managed to magic up £130 million for a snap election we did not need!
Another fab suggestion is that millennials should be given a copy of Hayek to inform them of the positives of neoliberalism and the free market. The same system that has led to nearly 10 years of austerity, tuition fees, unaffordable housing, increased use of food banks, zero hour contracts etc etc ….???
I wonder if hard left millennials might like to read something that offers an alternative perspective, albeit from those pesky lefty Nordics. The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe. The Nordics are ranked highest on the metrics of real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption. Imagine freedom from corruption…ooh arrgggh
Neo-liberalism is all pervasive, it is like the air that we breathe, invisible and ever present, but, increasingly only life enhancing for the rich elite. As George Monbiot suggests
“We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.
Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.”
All I know is I am thankful for the voice, and votes, of our millennials, because you are giving me hope for the future …. Thank you.