Get on with it

2011-05-03T16:19:21+00:00 May 3rd, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |
No Country for Old Men

Image by Vardhana via Flickr

The latest economic monitor report produced by Cork City Council tells us that unemployment in Metropolitan Cork increased by just 1.2 per cent between the end of 2009 and the end of 2010. There was a boost of 3.7 per cent between quarter three 2010 and quarter four (probably largely due to seasonal employment). In December, a total of 26,249 people were signing on in Cork.
It also tells us that business confidence is the highest in two years, as measured by Cork Chamber.
However, no matter how much you want to look on the bright side, there are undeniable truths about the state we are in. Business confidence is aspirational. It’s a step in the right direction, but unless something happens to turn that confidence into cash, nothing changes.
Behind our ‘improving’ employment statistics are the young people who are leaving this country every day.
Last November, as the IMF deal was brokered and huge numbers of my generation decided they were leaving, I wrote about this. I wrote about the fact that they were educated, they were highly qualified, and they were leaving. They are still leaving.
Those of us with jobs know how lucky we are, but the fact is that even people with jobs are leaving. Two friends (one working part-time, one working full-time) told me, separately, in the space of a day that they were going to Canada. They are leaving because this has become no country for young men, or women.
In a globalised world the flow of people is seen as desirable, but this flow should not be a result of seeing no future for yourself in the country that is your home.
The Fine Gael/Labour Government has been accused of being unrepresentative of women, but it has also been charged with being a grey Government.
I’m not sure that this is entirely fair, given that many of the TDs and Ministers have children in their 20s or younger who have much the same prospects as the rest of their generation. They are largely middle-class, of course, but in this recession, middle-class graduates are just as likely to be jobless as working-class early school-leavers.
We voted conservatively in the election and the new Government reflects that.
But the rhetoric and promises of a jobs budget, initiative, or whatever, have so far not come to anything.
Everyone in a new job needs time to find their feet and politicians are no different, but the problem is that we don’t have time.
This country is being bled dry by the debts we are being forced to pay back, and by the constant haemorrhaging of talent, education, and that most precious resource, youth.
Wasting time worrying about blocking candidates for a job that has no function whatsoever (hello, Fine Gael and the Presidential election), or about electing candidates for numerous jobs with no function (Fianna Fáil and the Seanad election), or about internal wranglings over who got what ministry (take a bow, Labour) or about the visit of an elderly lady with a purely ceremonial role that nobody is very bothered about (well done, Sinn Féin and the Queen’s visit), distract from the reality of all of our lives.
We want jobs. We want reform. We want banks that function.
You’ve promised it; now get on with it.

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