Thursday, February 15, 2007
This news about the state of the UK's yoof culture is pretty emphatically depressing. Just how did we get this low? It reminds me of a post K-Punk did here (scroll down to 'Reflexive Impotence' post) about the state of British youth, and especially chimes with this:
It is not an exaggeration to say that being a teenager in late capitalist Britain is now close to being reclassified as a sickness.
Exactly why Britain has got so bad is a moot point. It's likely a combination of lots of things: the entrenched class system, the long-hours work culture (I'm thinking of France's 35 working hours a week law - then again, they haven't been hugely successful in the table either), lack of decent public services, and a transport and education system that is still crumbling and inequal (especially the latter, as this testifies). But, as K-Punk taps into in that article, there's also a feeling of impotent helplesness in Britian too, in contrast to France where youth go on protests that inspire the government to change drafted employment laws.
What the list does confirm is that, despite Holland being at the top, Scandinavia is pretty much the best place to live in the world, with all four nations in the top (does Iceland count? Anyway, it's not included at all). The fact that they've hit such a right balance in most forms of life while Britain is lumbering behind is depressing indeed. It's 10 years since Blair got into power - hopefully this report will be the straw that broke the camel's back this year.