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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Filth and Fury

The introduction to The Filth and the Fury, Julien Temple’s excellent film about the Sex Pistols, takes us back to the world of the 1970s where some young people began to realise that the narrative of opportunity presented to them by society was a sham. They had been had.  The vision of Great Britain was not based on their dreams or talents; it was dependent on their place at the bottom of the pile. 

Fast forward to Cameron’s land of opportunity, where we are told that those same young people should now be stripped of benefits and welfare so they can focus on choosing the education and employment that they are often excluded from – not by personal choice, but by a whole set of complex circumstances that go far beyond the soundbite intelligence of modern politics.   Like a 17th century quack, Cameron offers an elixir that will give us all access to a promised land of opportunity, but the magic ingredient is just more of the same shit: more hours at the Job Centre; more time on the Work Programme; more internship and apprenticeships that are not affordable; more of the failing provision and institutions of support from a Government that simply does not know how to develop people’s talents. It’s not nudging people need, it’s the time and social capital to develop their nous to navigate through the various policy traps such as the bedroom tax that continue to mess up lives.

At least Cameron has spotted that welfare is generally not being used to help people get through the door of opportunity.  In that he is right – the welfare state must be reformed to become a more enabling trampoline rather than just a creaking safety net. The diagnosis is roughly correct; the choice of medicine is the problem. What Cameron can’t see is that the economy of the future is crying out for a different form of welfare.  A flourishing society has to offer a positive investment in people’s abilities (that is fair) to develop the assets required (that creates wealth) to access and exist within a land of opportunity. Fair wealth, used intelligently, with high quality coaching, real experiences, and aspirational expectations, is the only future we should be settling for.  Who is going to provide it?

After three party conferences, we know we are not going to get it through the current paradigm of politics.  Just like in the 70s, young people have been betrayed. Let down.‘Had’ by an alliance of ‘disadvantaged thinking’ that stretches from the polished doors of Downing Street to the glass fronts of national charities bidding for their dirty-work contracts. There is little difference between Cameron’s cry to vote Conservative for a land of opportunity, and another charity poster asking for 40p to give disadvantage a room for the night. Both evidence the real NEETS in the establishment machine - the Nothing people at the top, with no Empathy, no Enterprise, no Thought; Nothing but their own existence at heart. Nudge them back where they belong: in the dustbin of history.

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