Cameron’s latest attack on youth

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron has rocked the nation again with his staggering plans to cut all to cut all housing benefit from people under the age of 25 and has attacked the “culture of entitlement”, which he says, “encourages young people to have children and not work”.

These proposals are not for this parliament; Cameron is testing the water as he draws up the Conservative Party manifesto for the next general election. He has been told that policies like this will win him votes and that he must have policies that are clearly distinct from those of the Liberal Democrats, hence the big shift to yet further right. His policy advisers clearly think that young working class people are not likely to vote in general — or any other — elections.

Cameron is playing to the Tory backbenchers, voted for by those who are totally opposed to any kind of state welfare, the ones who believe that their taxes are subsidising feckless young idlers — as their newspapers, like the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express keep telling them.

It is a total fallacy and if implemented would lead to a much higher burden on tax payers. For a start, housing benefit always ends up in the pockets of landlords — it is a subsidy for these parasites, not the poor tenants who are just the intermediary in the money chain. Housing benefit was introduced in 1971 by Edward Heath’s Tory government so that council rents could be raised to “market” levels without having to evict millions of workers. The cost of providing the housing remained the same — tenants just had to pay more for it and most of them — in work or out — could not afford the higher rents. And it helped to put a brake on wage demands — as a tenant’s wages rose, so they lost benefits and had to pay more rent.

This policy helped to trigger the huge rise in house prices and private rents that has happened since. The way to cut the housing benefit burden on tax payers is to bring in a new Rent Act to control rents.

And today the vast majority of people claiming housing benefit are in work but their wages are too low to pay it. In this way the benefit system is shoring up greedy bosses who pay wages too low and greedy landlords who charge rents that are too high. So much for the ethics of the “free market” with no state interference! The answer is higher wages and lower rents, not throwing people out of their homes because then they will lose their jobs, their children will have to be taken into care and it will cost the taxpayers an awful lot more than it does now.

These proposals demonstrate more than anything the truly nasty nature of the Tories’ attitude to working class youth. Cuts have taken away the Education Maintenance Allowance, thousands of youth clubs and other facilities for young people and they are told they must lose their “culture of entitlement”.

It is a very sad world where young people are told they must not expect any place in our society as a right of simply being human — that, to paraphrase Malthus, the table that nature/society sets before us does not contain a place for everybody — some are inevitably going to be turned away to go and starve in the gutter. And will they please do it quietly without moaning or rioting.

No wonder the children and young people of Britain are among the most unhappy in the world.

The contrast with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea could not be more dramatic. That country is not wealthy in terms of capital like Britain but it values its children and young people as its treasures. The DPRK is proud of its children and young people, and they respond by being proud of the country and the culture that brought them into the world. The same is true of other socialist countries: China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam.

The DPRK media if full of praise for the work and achievements of its young and those young people never have to fear being without a home or a job.

Free from these fears they can rise to fulfil their full potential as willing contributors to society and give back — or pass on to the next generation — far more than has been invested in them. That is socialist system of investment and profit and the sooner we throw off the greedy, selfish, spiteful capitalist system and build socialism here the better for our children and all future generations.