Ahh, sounds glorious, doesn’t it? A land of opportunity, a place where dreams are realised, and people are in work. This may sound too good to be true, but according to David Cameron at this year’s Conservative Party Conference – this is his ideal goal for the United Kingdom.
If you didn’t managed to catch the 50 minute conference, David Cameron took to the stage with the slogan ‘for hard working people’ emblazoned on the backdrop behind him. Mr Cameron spoke of how his plans for the new ‘land of opportunity’ would mean all those under 25 should be ‘earning or learning’ rather than seeking benefits. A good, healthy idea, but is it in any way realistic for those who have completed their education but struggle to find work? According to the Prime Minister, it’s all about the ‘nag and push’, and spoke of how the party plans to ‘offer something better’ before young people chose to sign on.
David Cameron went on to say that within the Labour party’s promises, ‘it’s all about sticking plasters and quick fixes cobbled together for the TV cameras – Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy.’ After the preliminary slagging, it was back to business, as the PM stared down the camera as if emphasising the whole ‘I’m talking to you, yes you’ thing.
…It’s estimated that there are around one million young people not in education…
So, let’s get back to this whole ‘earn or learn’ thing. Can we then assume that if the Conservative party win the next general election, housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance won’t be made available to people under 25? Pretty tough. If you’re a NEET – someone not in education, employment or training – you’re not alone. It’s estimated that there are around one million young people not in education and without work in the UK. This hasty decision has been backed up by the rest of the party who say that the plans are not unfair and will help school leavers become part of the ‘global race’…whatever that means.
According to the PM, “in place of the broken education system, one that gives every child the chance to rise up and succeed. Our economy, our society, welfare, schools all reformed, all rebuilt – with one aim, one mission in mind: to make this country, at long last and for the first time ever, a land of opportunity for all.”
…it’s about time young people in the country begin to sit up and take notice…
Before we all get swept up in the fairy tale beauty that is this mythical land, let’s just put our common sense hat back on and look into the not so distant future where these plans might come back to bite Mr Cameron and his party on the bum. Whilst by no means signing on should be seen as an easy way to get money, sit back and relax, many young people and graduates in particular struggle to find work after school and university. Sometimes, and as unfortunate as it is, it isn’t just as easy as walking into a graduate job; life isn’t always as simple as that. For many, signing on is a means to an end until a job can be found and ripping this from under the feet of honest, hard working young people may not be the answer in this welfare state.
As David Cameron puts his final touches to the UK’s answer to the American Dream, it’s about time young people in the country begin to sit up and take notice. For the most part, politics can pass us young’uns by, but it’s important for us to make our voices heard and make sure someone is making the right decisions for those of us who are under 25. Maybe David Cameron is on the money by taking away the safety net that is the benefit system for young people, and maybe his plans will encourage young people into work, training and education, but only time will tell. No one wants to have to sign on, regardless of age, but in desperate times, sometimes it’s the only option in the short term to stay financially afloat.