I had a brief chat with my son this evening. He told me that there was some kind of initiative going on where kids were going to learn politics as part of their final year exams. At first I thought it was a dumb idea. Surely, kids could learn about that by picking up a newspaper or watching the news on TV?
But when I thought about it some more, I changed my mind. And it’s not just because of the obvious question: I mean, what kid reads newspapers or watches TV news these days?
Here’s the real problem: our generation and the generation before us have made a complete balls of looking after the world. We have all these really serious issues, like climate change, poverty, inequality, radicalisation, racism, sexism, terrorism, access to medicines and drinking water, overuse of antibiotics, biodiversity decline and ocean acidification, to name but a few. Huge problems. And who have we chosen to solve these problems for us? In the main, a bunch of space cadets.
Our generations, when given a chance, have blown it, choosing instead to elect populist dickheads again and again and again and yet again. Instead of electing someone who might know a thing or two about managing complex problems, we’ve gone repeatedly for the political equivalent of the drug pusher. Yeah man, Pop this Pill and All your Worries will be Gone. The Problem is Not You; It’s Them.
I despair for the future if our kids grow up with no interest in politics, because we’ve left their generation in the invidious position of having to clean up after us. They are the ones who’ll be left with no fish in the seas. They are the people who’ll need to deal with all the carbon dioxide in the air and the oceans. They are the ones who will need to tackle youth unemployment and unrest and desperate social inequality. And all because the incompetents we elected did precisely nothing about it when they had the chance to. In fact, they did worse than nothing: they made these bad situations even more abysmal than they were.
If the next generation grow up in our footsteps, apathetic about the world they live in, they won’t even have the language to tackle the problems we’ve left them with. Instead, if they vote at all, they’ll be left voting for blowhards in the footsteps of Berlusconi and Trump, only because nobody in their right minds would enter politics in a fit. Imagine this: George W Bush is now considered by many commentators to be a moderate. A moderate. My god.
I have one caveat about giving the next generation a sense of political awareness. If they ever realise what our lot did on our watch, they’ll immediately have us all locked up. But then again, it’s nothing more than we deserve.