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What’s Really To Blame?

Posted by | Posted in Society | Posted on 08-10-2008

“Back in my day, we had respect for our elders. And we went outside to play with our friends, not sit at a computer…”

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before; the lifestyle that us youngsters lead these days will ruin our health before we turn 40. I can feel it already. Most days I don’t get enough sleep and wake up for work with a headache of sorts. Aches and pains get more common, stresses of the professional environment build up… the list is endless. I used to get heartburn quite badly a couple of years ago, but thankfully it’s all but disappeared these days.

There must be something we can do about it. I know, I know, there’s the whole “health scene” that can give us endless tips about how to be more healthy, but in practical terms it’s easier said than done. I gues it just annoys me that I find myslf going through a box of Ibuprfen every other week.

But it does make me respect the elder generations that much more. I mean, a lot of them are 60 plus, and they put up with worse medical conditions every day. Then again, I guess I’ve been taught right from a young age to “respect your elders” anyway. But there are plenty of people out there who don’t, which makes the subject one of the things on my pet peeves list.

As I’m sure anyone who lives here will tell you, the UK leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not too bad a place, as places go, but it’s far from ideal. And I don’t just mean that we’re in a financial pickle, or that there are fewer jobs and houses available these days, I mean that society as a whole is disgracing itself with each passing day more than Amy Whinehouse does with each visit to her local (rehab clinic). Speaking of Whining Horse, the whole subject of the fashion/pop culture industry is a massive anger-builder for me, so I’ll be discussing that at a later date. Someone remind me.

But back to the here and now. Yes, as far as I’m concerned, the majority of today’s problems can be attributed to society, or more accurately, to the lack of respect and sense of self-worth that people (particularly the young) have these days. There’s just no respect any more. Nobody gives a flying gahoonas about what other people say, nor do they take any advice given to them by people who know better. The whole chav culture has taken over, although thankfully it’s become the butt of a number of well known jokes by various TV shows and internet websites.

OK, so what impact does wandering around in hordes of 30 have, and how does bunking off school for five years affect the future bread-winners? Badly, I’m afraid. But it’s not just the downright lazy that are affected – it’s everyone else too. Someone once told me about a theory they had regarding the UK benefits system, and how the poor attitudes of society was creating a country where more and more (lazy) people depend on fewer and fewer hard-working people, to the point where the system is just unable to cope.

The main group of people, or the largest demographic if you want to get technical, are adults between the ages of 18 and 60(ish) who are reasonably well qualified and physically able. The people who are on the outskirts of society are the very young, the very old, and the physically/mentally disabled. (If I’m being honest, the very young, and the very old, can be grouped into the physically/mentally disabled category as well for a number of reasons, but without offending anyone, let’s just say that if you’re not able to work  for a living, you fall outside of the main group of people that make up this country).

What we have, is a system whereby the majority of the people (the able-bodied, working-age group of people) have to earn money in order to support themselves, as well as their children (the very young people of society) and their elder relatives (the older echelons of society). But, as we all know, there are people out there who could be categorized as able-bodied, able-minded, and reasonably well qualified, but for whatever reason, they don’t have a job and so cant support themselves. This is where the benefits system comes into play. Being a civilised society, we are bound to support all our citizens through thick and thin, and so the benefits system allows people who are “between jobs” to also maintain a reasonable standard of living while not actually working.

And who pays for this wonderful system? The taxpayer, i.e. the working-age group of people, who have jobs and pay their taxes. This system is OK in theory, but what happens when you take into account the modern-day chav culture, and how it affects the youth of today (who will, eventually, form part of the working-age group, and should be the ones supporting the fringe of society)? Well, it means that you end up with fewer and fewer people going out to work (through laziness more than anything) and so there are fewer people paying taxes, meaning less money for the government. But all the while that this is happening, the benefits system is being pushed to the limits by the extra influx of people taking advantage of it. And take advantage they do.

At the end of the day, unless our attitude changes and people start realising that if we want to live in a better country, we need to sort ourselves out, then things are only going to get worse. We have more and more people relying on benefits to live, while those benefits are provided by fewer and fewer working-age people. The system can’t go on forever, and unless something is done, it will fail. Either that, or the government will simply put the taxes up to cover the extra costs, meaning that the working people of society get poorer, while more people live in relative luxury for doing absolutely nothing. Reminds me of slavery, somewhat…

Immigration is a hot topic at the moment, too. Ask any native of the UK if things have gotten worse in this country generally, and you’ll hear a resounding “yes”. And the reason, according to those people? Immigration. Many people think that the freedom people have to move to this country and find work has pushed the native UK folk to the sidelines, and created a large group of bitter, unemployed people. Well, that’s largely true, except for the sidelining part. Sure, people immigrate here all the time, and people find work here easily, but the native UK peeps have not been sidelined. We chose to be on the sidelines.

It’s our own fault that many immigrants get jobs over those who have lived here since forever. Our own lack of social cohesion, and the laziness and chav culture I mentioned earlier, has meant that while there are still plenty of jobs out there for the taking, many people have simply grown too lazy to do them. That doesn’t mean that the jobs don’t then exist any more though, so somebody still needs to do them. If I were a foreign person seeking work elsewhere, and I saw a country rich with opportunity, but filled with people who were too lazy to take advantage of it, and too unemotional and unattached to even care, I’d sure as hell get my own foot in the door too. And why not? If the English are too lazy to help ourselves when we live in a country that has the potential to provide us with so much, then why should those opportunities not be taken by people who are going to make something of them?

There’s no simply answer to that. The point is, the jobs are there, but we as a country are generally too lazy to bother doing them. So we’re bound to see an influx of people from lands where opportunity isn’t so common come flooding into the country to take our place. And are we bitter about it? Of course we are. We’re so used to living in a country that hands everything to us on a plate that when it gets taken away, we stamp our feet and act like spoiled children.

And then, of course, we look for someone to blame. It’s usually the government, as they’re the ones who “allow any old body into the country to take our jobs”. Tough luck, if you ask me. Those jobs need doing, and so the government is responsible for finding the people to do them. So if they can’t find the people to do the jobs on their own doorstep, they’ll look further afield. And at the end of the day, who voted the government into power? We did. Except we didn’t, because most of us cant be bothered to go out and vote either.

So, the solution is for us to buck up our ideas and sort our own mess out. It’s all very well having a country that does it’s best to cater for the needs of everyone, but when people start taking advantage, things need to be done to sort the situation out.

There is another side to the coin of society though. With the bad comes the good, and with that, comes yet more people who are ready to take advantage. But I’ll leave that discussion for tomorrow methinks.

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