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.