Whats Wrong With This Country 2


Following on from my rant (almost a year ago) with regards to student loans, and the lack of support given available to postgraduate students (click here to read), there have been several things which have been getting on my nerves; many of which (in fact all) are out of my control. However I am the strong believer that I am not the only one who shares these views, and as a society we should stand up to make changes; be this simply my making a complaint to our local MP, or writing to the Prime Minister himself.

 

School Leaving Age In the UK, those who are of 16 years have the choice whether or not to remain in full time education. Education is not for all, and there are of course many different routes to success, with key examples being Richard Branson, and Duncan Bannatyne; both of whom left school with little (if any) academic qualifications.

The question I pose is whether or not kids (yes are still considered minors) are able to make such drastic decisions with their lives at such a young age. Those who drop of out education at 16, often do so with the excuse ‘I just couldn’t stand school’ and then proceed to draw upon unemployment benefits, choosing to stay at home watching cable TV day in day out. This is not to say that all follow this route, some do take the path of apprenticeships or enroll in the army; both of which are (in my opinion) viable alternatives to full time education.

With those who are leaving school at a young age increasing, and the level of those claiming unemployment benefits increasing at a similar level, we have to question as whether allowing people to leave education without a plan for the future is in the countries best interests. I believe that the school leaving age should be increased to 18, encouraging all to take their a-levels, for the reason that with employment becoming more competitive, a-levels are the minimum currency required to get a job.

For those who have demonstrated the interest in an apprenticeship or joining the army (and been offered a place), they should be able to peruse this, as they simply have not dropped off the radar.

People of the age of 16, will have an idea of what career they would like to take, however many do not. For those who are unsure, they should not be given the option of claiming benefits and leaving school as an easy way out.

 

Unemployment is an issue that should be tackled with sensitivity, after all, the economic crisis caused many people to be made redundant, making it very hard for them to support their families. Last week I stumbled across a program on Channel 4, The Fairy Jobmother, a program that had me screaming at the TV, even though I was inhabiting the room alone.

The general concept behind the program is to help people back into work, however in order to spice things up, the producers invite people who have either never worked or claimed benefits for many many years. Naturally some of the people who are invited along take all the advice Hayle Taylor (The Fairy Jobmother) gives them, and by the end of the program they are helped back into employment with decent career fulfilling jobs.

However for every person who chooses to accept the help given, several choose to resist it, instead gasping on to their life of daytime TV, relaxation, and free money paid directly into their bank account for the small price of going to the jobcentre each week and signing on. Quotes include “If I choose not to work, its within my human rights” and “If I dont want to work, why should I have to?”

As someone who has worked every summer, I find it very hard to stomach that some people can leach of the state in such a way. As demonstrated by the Fairy Jobmother each week, there are jobs available if people look hard enough. I know its right wing, but for those who are able to work but are simply unwilling to do so should not be prevued to any state support. If that is too right wing to stomach, then they should be given food vouchers and housed in cheap accommodation or halls. Why should those who work pay for benefits that get spent on; alcohol, drugs and Sky TV, especially as those who work are not able to afford Sky TV for themselves!

 

Benefit Cheats/Scroungers read my earlier post here, need I say more?

 

Alcohol/Smoking related illnesses are the biggest drains of NHS resources in the UK. Before the argument of ‘oh but alcohol and cigarettes have a higher tax/duty rate which goes back to the NHS’ true, but by no way does the increased duty/tax offset the cost of treatment for someone who has to undergo treatment for lung or liver cancer.

Whats more people who drink/smoke to excess usually have additional cost that are not first seen.

Drinking of alcohol to excess usually requires an increased police presence at the weekend to ‘clean up the mess’ of those who cant handle themselves, not to mention more doctors and nurses required to ‘patch’ them up after a scuffle. Passive smoking, a real niggle of mine, people who by no fault of their own getting ill and requiring treatment because they breathe in peoples second hand smoke.

Personally these things should be taxed and have so much duty levied on them that they are too expensive for people to abuse them. Alternatively require them to pay a subsidy if they want to be treated. Everyone knows that these things are bad for your health, so why should those who choose not to abuse such things have to pay for those who do?

Just a few of the things I would change if I were PM!

Just a few of the things I would change if I were PM!

  • Michael Stipe

    I am proud of a country that is able to look after its poorest citizens (not just on a monetary assesment) anyone who wanted to alter that paradigm would not recieve my vote. Duties on cigarettes/cigars have helped push smoking to a very low level. Excessive, prohibitive or indeed any extra duty on alcohol would kill pubs extinguishing the crucial role they play in many communities. Moreober that course of action may well increase the amount if home brewed alcohol and may not solve the problem you seek to cure.
    On jobs, are the summer jobs that you had, available for the (selected to shocking in a scripted or stereotypical fashion) individuals on the show you saw? Are jobs available in their area, are there employers willing to hire them? Leaving@16 is all well and good, 20% of my year did, I know of only 2 who bummed around, no way near most, but they have to have opportunities available to them

    • Hi Michael,

      I understand your point, and I to am proud that we look after our citizens, however I do slightly disagree with two aspects, being ‘able’ to look after them, and who exactly ‘they’ are.

      We are all having to make cutbacks due to the economic downturn, so our ability to help those who really do need it will be affected if we help those who so not.

      The point which I am trying to make with regards to increasing alcohol/cigarette duty is that the cost of treating illnesses as a result of the abuse of substances are paid for by everyone, either in a financial sense, or in longer waiting times.

      I have no problem with those who want to have a drink or two, but when police and doctors are having to clean up the mess – that is when the problem arises.

      Jobs wise, yes everyone was given a chance, and yes jobs are available, thousands if people are prepared to look for them rather than give up too easily.