THE AUTHOR: Willie Giles, poet and author from Richmond, N. Yorks. Regular contributor to the Weardale Gazette

WILLIE  GILES adds a plea for the young to decide their own future

SPARROWS: WE ALL love them, and rightly so. Jaunty little chaps, cheeky, opportunistic and brave in the face of adversity while at the same time mildly irritating rascals with their indomitable competence.

Politicians are irritating, but in a different way: more like Westminster’s dopey pigeons than chirpy sparrows, their very predictable characters and thunderously boring countenances smugly hide an intent to preserve power for themselves and their friends at the expense of those who need their help.

I agree with Caro Fentiman’s clever and critical recent analysis [click here] of the need for tactical voting by supporters of left wing parties and of the vital need to mobilise the vote of the young in the upcoming General Election [full disclosure: we are father and daughter – WG]
I long ago left the ranks of The Young, but recognise that they have been ignored and kept on a condescending leash, dully alive but so excluded from the democratic process that they have understandably developed an almost complete disinterest in politics. There are no sparrows at Westminster to make them smile and give them hope.

Perhaps it is time to lift our gaze over and beyond the hedgerow to the far horizon of disaffection, and ask why young people have become the principal losers in our society.

It is all too easy to talk about the dismal, mind-closing primary and secondary educations that they receive, the horrendous loans they are forced to take out to fund an often indifferent university education that handcuffs them to the capitalist system or the expensive cost of living and rent they pay when they get there

Or to bemoan the lack of appropriate jobs and the imposition of zero hours contracts, wiping out any expectation of a future pension and denying them the chance to get on the property ladder.

And how about the way our older generation pays lip-service to the destruction of THEIR planet through global warming, or contributing to the possible destruction of our world by retaining Trident; it is THEIR future we threaten

Instead, let’s start a debate that really excites the young and gives them a responsible platform to reposition nations in a society that supports the under-privileged, is compassionate to the poor and homeless, inclusive of all creeds.

And which still has time to smile at the antics of the cheeky sparrow.


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