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Generation Fucked Update

Whether We Leave the EU or Not, Young People Are Still Screwed

This week, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told everyone why young people would lose out if we left the EU.
Simon Childs
London, GB

Nicky Morgan (Photo via Policy Exchange)

A weekly column about how young people are totally fucked lol.

First it was George Osborne saying "next generation" 18 times in his apparently millennial-friendly budget speech. Now, Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary, is the latest government minister to have noticed that the young people of the land are a bit miffed and need some up-bucking.

She did this in a speech on Monday entitled "Leaving the EU risks a lost generation". Woah, thanks for the warning, Nicky. I hope some kind of political mistakes don't risk losing – or, if you will, fucking – a generation. That would be terrible. Someone should write a column about it.


According to some people in attendance it was a fairly cringeworthy affair, with reference to "the Twitters" and "the Facebooks". People also laughed at her for "patronisingly" saying young people like inter-railing, which I didn't really get, because not being hassled by some dickhead at every border from Lisbon to Warsaw is pretty great if you ask me (assuming you're not a refugee). Maybe you had to be there. I wasn't, but I have spent a bit of time reading the speech and, unsurprisingly, the content is much more scary than the political hacks lolling to each other about how Nicky Morgan is a bit like Nicola Murray from The Thick of It probably noticed.

She kicked off by correctly citing the lost generations of Greece, Spain and Portugal, where "scores of young people" have been left "unable to fulfil their potential and display their talents because of economic turmoil".

Thankfully in this country, she says, "We made the difficult decisions which were necessary to rebuild a strong economy, so we could offer the promise of a better future for the next generation."

This is, of course, pretty skewed. The difference between Britain and those countries is that they had austerity imposed by a sociopathic eurozone while we had austerity imposed by our very own sociopaths.

Young Greeks were fucked by the Troika, we're being fucked by Cameron. Britain's economic recovery is built on badly paid, unstable jobs, private debt and a housing bubble that's locking people out of affording somewhere to live. But it could be worse, Morgan points out. "CBI analysis has shown that a vote to leave could cost 950,000 jobs," she said.


As Private Eye pointed out this week, that analysis was conducted for the CBI by accountants-slash-consultants PwC. They fail to mention in their report the shed loads of money they make thanks to our membership of the EU by giving big corporations a hand with "the free movement of capital", AKA tax avoidance.

I'm in no place to judge the economic literacy of the eminent brains of CBI, but they're the same guys who put the frighteners on the launch of the National Living Wage by warning that if businesses have to pay people nearly enough to not be impoverished, they'll simply replace them with robots. Now they're being cited in almost the same breath as "lost generation", "potential" and "young people's future".

Morgan later went with a more ethereal tone – the question for the "Easyjet generation" is about "what our membership of that block of 28 nations says about our country and our place in the world," she said. "They want Britain to be an outward-looking country that engages with the world, they want us to choose internationalism over isolation."

This is probably true. But for many, internationalism is likely to mean catching that one way Easyjet to Berlin Schönefeld.

Speaking of the National Living Wage, Happy New National Living Wage Day! I hope those of you who have received a pay bump are enjoying the feeling of being merely £1.05 per hour short of what the Living Wage Foundation considers enough to live on. If you're 24 or below, meaning the new £7.20 pay floor doesn't apply to you, I guess the prospect of growing out of poverty will make the process of getting older less painful.

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