Some interesting weekend quotes from Ed Miliband picked up by the Guardian.The full text of his speech to Progress is here, the Daily Mail has painted it as a head-to-head challenge with Cameron on the subject of marriage – although Ed gets spliced on Friday.
• Miliband says that “for the first time for more than a century, the next generation will struggle to do better than the last”. He claims that this is “one of those unspoken truths that people know about – but somehow politicians seem to refuse to discuss”.
This statement taps into a wealth of issues and quality of life indicators. We are told that the computer-literate are the most informed ever generation but to say we’ve never had it so good feels hollow at the same time. French anti-pension reform protestors at the end of last year had placards claiming “we just want to live like our parents” and tea party protestors in the US claim that all they want is what their parents had but there are real structural tangible factors outlined here that mean this argument transcends empty “things ain’t what they used to be” romantic nostalgia.
• He says that this means the young will become “the jilted generation”.
“Some people have called us the Jam generation because of the music we grew up with. But our generation is on course to totally fail in meeting our duty to the next: to uphold the promise of Britain from which we all benefited, which we all took for granted. The current representatives of the Jam generation are on course to create a jilted generation.”
As examples of the problems facing the “jilted generation”, he mentions youth unemployment, higher tuition fees, longer working hours – Britain is the only country in Europe with longer working hours than 25 years ago, he says – global warming and rising house prices.
This is really thoughtful stuff. The pensions crisis too could be a demographic timebomb that needs factoring in. Furthermore the Jilted Generation was referred to directly in the title of the dance-rock crossover hybrid 90s band Prodigy’s second album:
which included the classic anti Criminal Justice bill diatribe “Their law” with the refrain “f*** them and their law”.
Ed has stated elsewhere (I saw him speak in Oslo the other day, a longer post is to follow) that despite all this we need a narrative of hope and to avoid pessimism. I think he’s spot on. Way to go and congratulations to both he and partner Justine (who I was at university with, writing alongside on a mag called CPR) for the nuptials on Friday.