It’s time our generation had a voice

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Staff writer


 

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No matter which way we look at it, stereotypes are everywhere. As we grow older, we frame things in our our experience, and we begin to hold expectations for things were and how they will be in the future. For example, we hold every expectation for the sun to rise in the morning, and to carry on our day to day lives with a few setbacks, sure, but nothing major.

However, it is this exact process that allows our minds build stereotypes and assumptions that are not necessarily correct, or in some cases, explicitly wrong and damaging. For instance, if your only exposure to muslims is newspapers saying they are terrorists, you are going to form the connection that all muslims are terrorists. However, connections can be less overt as we don’t even realise the things that are influencing us.

Racist grandparents for example, have been accepted to the point where it is now a cliched trope that is more likely to illicit disdain rather than laughs. What we fail to realise, however, is that our generation, the ‘millennials’ have also been cast in a certain kind of light.

Our generation is seen as lazy, greedy and self centred. However, this is no accident. If you browse the newspapers, the stories that dominate are lazy welfare spongers that con the state of money, whilst the government generates ever lower levels of unemployment. This is also paralleled with celebrity stories of the flimsy lives of the super rich as twitter spats make headlines.

If this is the news that dominates our generation, then it is no surprise that it becomes representative of it, particularly when the age old issues such as nuclear war or rebuilding a country are no longer a worry, the issues of our lives seem benign and petty.

However, they are also in no way reflective of the lives we actually lead. Our generation has seen ever more things taken away from them, with the continual destruction of welfare and employment opportunities. Our generation faces university fees that indebt us for life, and housing that is completely out of reach. Things that many older people took for granted like a good house, a car and a secure job seem almost like fantasies to us.

This is why we view others as lazy, in spite of the fact that things are much tougher for the majority of our generation, as we are continually bombarded with how we need to work harder even whilst ends barely meet. Indeed, the state that we now find ourselves in is one of complete and utter powerlessness. This is equally reflected in our election turnouts, with younger voters having the least turnout. This is also no accident.

The New Labour administration which has dominated our lives growing up did little to reverse the years wrought by Margaret Thatcher, as her banking deregulation finally caused the big bang of the past 6 years of recession that the entire world is still reeling from. This administration also pushed ahead with introduction of market processes in the NHS which Cameron is bringing to completion in the privatisation of the National Health Service.

However, this did not happen for free. Our generation’s voting apathy has become the result as we feel that we fundamentally have no choice at the ballot box; voter turnout collapsed throughout Blair’s administration and it has not recovered.
This has equally been reflected in the fact that party manifestos make no effort to assist younger generations. The Conservative party battled on a platform to curtail welfare, specifically aimed at the young. Older voters are the winners in elections.

Our silent generation seems poised to continue this way for the time being, or does it? The fact of the matter is that our mutual suspicion of each other as lazy and greedy is the roadblock stopping us from doing something. Worsening conditions are finally awakening us to the reality that we are all suffering under this government.

The junior doctor’s contract is one area where the government assuming it can run it’s business as usual in crushing working rights has unleashed the greatest show of unity in a generation. And as the government pushes further in attempting to crush other workers, such as student nurses and teachers, the backlash has repeated itself and grown. What’s more, there is now increasing coordination between these groups. We are developing solidarity.

What’s more is that we are now in a situation where the youth vote matters, and that is the EU referendum. This referendum which is really nothing more than a vote on immigration is ignoring the majority of the key issues at play, as Boris Johnson creeps ever more towards increasingly racist statements and plays Nigel Farage at his own game.

Here, it is older voters that are more likely to vote Brexit, thinking Britain is still has an Empire with a duty to civilise the globe. The reality is of course the world we find ourselves living in, a globalised world with fanatical cartel governments pushing down wages and enriching itself through corruption scandals, whilst all the same claiming it’s the foreigners that did it.

The EU is not perfect, and it has also become fanatical in its own neoliberalism, but it has nonetheless protected the standards of goods that we use every day, and the European working time directive ensures that we cannot be exploited to the point where we have to work against our will.

A Britain out of the European Union has no voice on the matter, and when the moment comes and we have the power to transform it, Britain will be a bystander on the sidelines, forced to deal with 27 states acting as one.

Our generation should not continue to make the same mistakes over and over, it needs to organise, get out and change the world, like every generation has done so before it. We live in an age where we are increasingly less easily influenced by the big players telling us the same lies that they always have; the internet has brought the world to our fingertips. Knowledge is power and now more than ever we have access to the things that have been hidden away from us.

The deadline to register for the EU referendum is the 7th June. You can register here.

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