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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Saturday 29 March 2014

Social Harmers

Pick up the knife.  In posters, speeches, research, headlines, campaigns; its slash marks a vein of problems that dis-ease our humanity.  This is how we cut young people up and down: as feckless, untalented, without grit, thuggish, disadvantaged, homeless, soft outcomes, at risk – Neets, Not Etonian or Easy Enough To Save, undeservingly poor. These are the people we stab with our images. Just so many charity cases to hide capitalism’s collateral damage in. Labelled like oversized luggage to carry the body bags of our market economy's age into another poster asking for 40p to help kill again and again.

Is it the self-harm of teenagers that cuts so deep today, or the social harm perpetuated by adults to feed their pain? Our policies, our irresponsibilities, our ignorance of what it takes to inspire and engage a generation, boomerangs through history. Specialists in failure, we are qualified to strip hope away to replace it with blame. And so young people become our scars lined up in prisons, gangs, A&E, welfare queues, systems of neglect, locked in disinvested rooms, whatever stereotype we can house them in - except a place to become themselves.  

We must scar our youth so they can express our failure to lead. We must disadvantage them to give us an excuse for failed dreams. They must carry the reason we can not harness the resources of our planet.  For we are the real harmers - the ‘social harmers of the self’ – addicted to cutting, punishing, manipulating, hurting the wellbeing of those who will not behave as we wish they would, to suffer in silent passivity to the conceit of adulthood.

Our social harm has turned the language of support into an anthem for doomed youth.  Hear its miserly abuse, see its squalid PR graffiti, and turn your heart away. Fresh words will sing elsewhere.