The jobless generations


The BBC has a thought provoking article on its website about the depressing lives of a jobless family. Entitled 'No one in our house works', it describes the mundane drama of a family that does not work. The mother is 43 and has never had a job.

It makes sobering reading. Despite the notorious cases of workless families living in palatial luxury at the taxpayers’ expense, this is surely the more usual picture: wasted lives, living on state handouts. We have nothing to envy. As the piece makes clear, this is not the life that this particular mother wanted (or indeed still wants), and it is certainly not the life her jobless children want. They have become like unemployed slaves, devoid of the essential freedoms that come through a life apart from the state.

This family is stuck in the system. This is not to negate her individual responsibility, but sometimes people need a push to step up to the demands of the natural increases in responsibilities that come through ones life: from the protection of childhood to the role of protector and provider in adulthood. For many born into jobless families, there is no imperative from within the family for the next generation to work. Through benefits, the state supports generations of jobless. They never fly the nest and it the rest of us who are left to pick up the bill.

If this generation of jobless are going to be able to escape, the benefits system needs to be radically overhauled so that we offer little or no money to those that can work. If push comes to shove, most will rise to challenge and find work. Perhaps it is inevitable that some need support, but not the numbers that are currently under our patronage, and certainly not through the state but through charities with a human face such as the Salvation Army.

We should be angered that our taxes go towards the support of such an existence, not just because it our money they are wasting, but because it is structured to keep jobless generations in purgatory which is not good for anybody.