Friday, March 24, 2006

Teenage depression

First-hand experience of long-term youth unemployment in the early Thatcher years is one of the main reasons I became a socialist.

So today's revelation that the number of post-GCSE teenagers without a job has trebled since Labour came to office leave me feeling angry, on both a political and a personal level.

According to a report from the Office for National Statistics, the number of economically inactive 16 and 17 year olds rose from 11.4% at the end of 1998 to an all time high 28.1% at the end of last year.

Yet the government's main policy directed towards this age groups seems to consist of a ban on hooded sweatshirts.

Now that the Labour Party no longer represents any alternative to Conservatism, it might be frightening to see which direction any radicalisation among today's equivalents of Dave Osler circa 1980 will take.

The far right - in both its British National Party and political Islamist guises - would love to start recruiting more disaffected youth than they do already. I only hope the kids go in for a little bit of street rioting and car burning a la francaise instead.

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