The Nasty…Party?


© Photographer Iva Villi

Something’s been bothering me over the last few weeks…something I couldn’t quite put my finger on…until last Saturday night.

I was jigging along with the rest of the crowd singing along to Kaiser Chiefs’ “The Angry Mob”, when I had a light bulb moment.

The Country is in dire straits, people are feeling the pinch, unemployment is high, prices are rising, housing is slumped and it all seems a bit too much for most people, me included…but it’s the way we deal with it that I believe is starting to divide the Country.

There seems to me to be worryingly large groups of people in the UK who are responding to the pressure by saying “if I can’t have it, why should they“.

  • Street gangs – last August, looting shops, burning homes, wrecking livelihoods.
  • Hester’s bonus – pressured to give up payment he’d been promised for doing his job.
  • Sir Fred’s knighthood – the first knighthood removed without evidence of a criminal offence.
  • Bankers’ generally – demonised as a whole because they are seen as highly paid individuals.

All evidence of what we are turning to…mob rule.

The mob resents success…is jealous of anyone who seems to “have it”.  It’s called “tall poppy syndrome”…but whatever you call it, it’s nasty.

How can we possibly create jobs in the UK if we can’t attract businesses to set up here?  Who will set up business here if we don’t welcome the successful?  It’s a downward spiral and one we don’t need.

Maybe now I realise that the Kaiser Chiefs attract far too many shaved heads with much too much camouflage clothing, but it was worth it to experience the mob mind…the anger was palpable.

In the words of the Chiefs, “We like who we like, We hate who we hate, But we’re also easily swayed”.

Catch ’em Early

Catch 'em EarlyStatistics in the news show that 1 in 5 young people are NEETs (Not in Employment Education or Training).

What a waste of money, talent and…well, life really.  For if you believe as I do that gainful, engaging employment is essential to a person’s physical and mental wellbeing then this is a dreadful situation for anyone to be in.  It’s damaging to the individual’s self-esteem and detrimental to society as a whole.

I also believe that the wave of unemployable teenagers we are now seeing, is as a result of the way we prepare them for their working life…or don’t.  Formal education is obviously a major part of this preparation and one we have consistently tinkered with for the last 30 years.  It’s not achieving that which must surely be our aim…employable people.

While I’m on the subject of preparing them for life, how does shopping as a hobby, celebrity culture and downplaying others’ achievement help?

Even if the Government’s reforms in Education manage to bring the system’s output back in line with what business needs, we will still have this wave of unemployed and unemployable young people to deal with.

I think that anything we can do to shorten the time it takes the next generation to “get up to speed” with life then that is worthwhile…otherwise each new person needs to reinvent the wheel themselves and that is just a waste of the work that has gone before.

After 16 years in education, there used to be the option to carry on or to seek an apprenticeship.  In that way the skills that one human being had learned in their employment were passed on to the up and coming employee.

Thank goodness this approach is again being recognised for the employability it can bring and is now being supported by Government.

I have worked with some amazing young people in entrepreneurs’ groups who have had the self-esteem and confidence to start their own business and have achieved more than I ever could at their age…as a society, we’ve still got it in us.