Posts Tagged ‘poor Britain’

The dalits of poor Britain hate immigration, not immigrants. When will we get that?

28/11/2011, 09:08:01 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Teachers at my school used to try and gee-up indolent pupils by telling them they would end up picking-out burnt cornflakes on the Kellogg’s production line if they didn’t get their acts together.

This warning often fell on deaf ears, and a strong back or willingness to work unsocial hours still pretty much guaranteed you a job anyway. Okay, not a great job, but you could stand there all day, bent over a factory conveyor-belt scouring for errant pieces of breakfast cereal, or lump heavy goods around a dockside or building site. Or perhaps join-up and see the world. You could, in short, earn a living, with or without qualifications.

There was a level of total educational failure we could tolerate as a country and still mop-up the consequences in the foothills of the labour market afterwards. And for those fulfilling these unfulfilling roles, the reward of hard, grinding work was the promise of a job that at least allowed you to secure basic frugal comforts.

The world looks a lot bleaker from those same foothills today. This month’s unemployment figures were especially wintry, indicating, as they do, that at least a million young would-be workers are left without the prospect of any kind of job whatsoever. Not even low-status conflake-picking roles. They simply don’t exist any longer, certainly not on the scale that will soak up the current need. Back in 2006, Lord Sandy Leitch’s landmark report into skills policy warned that by 2020 there will only be 600,000 jobs in our economy requiring no formal skills, down from around 3.5 million today. Some dispute that the numbers are quite that pessimistic, but the broad trend remains correct.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon