Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Prediction Of Mine Comes True (Almost)

On 22 June 2011 I wrote of the cheap labour lobby that,

"I wonder just how long it will be before a Conservative MP suggests lowering the school leaving age to 14".

Well, the answer was 36 days.

It has only taken just over a month for that prediction to come true; and the suggestion was made not by a Tory MP but by Digby Jones, who, having been both the head of the CBI and a New Labour minister, is probably just as good as one.

While he might think he is being well-intentioned, and the nature of his utterances do tend to make one believe that he is well-intentioned, his views are so primitive that they almost make me weep. We are in the 21st Century, and he wants to reduce the school leaving age for some to 14. This is mindless, unthinking reaction red in tooth and claw, a call to counter-revolution; a demand for an end to progress and a turning back of the clock. It is the exposure of the lie that the men who worked in heavy manufacturing in the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland were told, that they couldn't compete with cheaper labour from the Far East. If they couldn't compete even when their rights as trades unionists were smashed, how can their grandsons be expected to compete now? At a time when food and energy prices are soaring, what plans would Jones have to simultaneously reduce the cost of living, as great an impediment to 'competitiveness' as high wages? Sometimes I think some people at the top of our society won't be happy until we've all been herded back into the workhouse in rags. They'd go one better than the Victorians - they'd sell off the workhouse as a going concern.

There is no merit in this idea, none whatsover. It could not be realised successfully without massive public spending in other areas which would render any long-term benefits null and void, Oh, it would be hash in the bong for the cheap labour lobby, for whom cheap labour is as addictive as crack cocaine. For all practical purposes theirs is the most destructive subculture of addiction in the country. They can't get enough of it, no matter where it comes from. But what would it say about us as a culture? Whatever it would say, it wouldn't be very flattering.

When faced with such primitive views being espoused by one of the country's most influential people, a guy who'll always get the call to go on to 'Question Time' before me no matter how banal and reactionary his opinions, I can only be afraid for the world my boy might grow up in. Digby Jones might be well-intentioned, but his good intentions would pave a road to Hell for others to walk down. Thank God for God, for giving the poor something to hope and believe in.

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Blogger The Young Oligarch said...

Martin .

Have you seen some of these 14-18 year olds in a classroom ?

You'll have seen them on the streets , though .

Look at this footage from a lesson in a reasonably good local school -

Multiply that by 20 for your average Glasgow scheme school .

School does many of them no favours .

Cheap labour isn't the issue here . It is wasted resources and the wasted educational opportunity of the majority .

Hope you're keeping better .

29 July, 2011 01:59  
Blogger Martin said...


Sorry, cheap labour is the issue. For these people, there is no other issue. Every other issue must be handled in such a way as to produce the cheapest of all possible labour.

I'll pass on the video, if only due to having had to listen a teenage girl on the bus home berate another passenger as a 'paedo c*nt'. The most badly behaved boy in my year at primary scholl recently got sent down for murder (minimum tariff 17 years, for slashing his ex-girlfriend's throat). However I am more than a little startled to seeing the phrase 'the wasted educational opportunity of the majority'. That sounds to me like writing these children off.

Thanks. I'm a bit better.

29 July, 2011 23:06  
Blogger The Young Oligarch said...

Sorry to hear about the bus journey , Martin . The 201 from Blantyre to East Kilbride is particularly bad for that .

The point I was making was that the current educational arrangements have already written these children off . Vocational training programmes outside a school environment may be the only answer . Keeping them where they are certainly isn't .

30 July, 2011 13:52  
Blogger Martin said...

And within a yeard of them being started you'd have some back-bench Tory balloon complaining about their cost.

No, YO, it doesn't wash.

30 July, 2011 21:25  

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