We have received news of the following important initiative from Neil Duncan-Jordan, National Officer of the National Pensioners Convention [NPC].
This is a proposal from the NPC to launch a campaign later in the year to link the generations – and show that the division in society is between rich and poor rather than young and old. I’d be grateful of any comments/feedback and an idea if you and your organisation would support the campaign.
GENERATIONS UNITED – For decent jobs and pensions
A growing number of politicians, media commentators, academics and think tanks are beginning to argue that today’s older generation have escaped the austerity measures at the expense of younger people. In doing so, they portray a conflict between the generations that is highly divisive and dangerous to our society. We must therefore respond by linking a number of key policy issues to show that young and old have a common interest.
The National Pensioners Convention has long argued that the campaigns we organise today for existing pensioners, will also benefit future generations. In this sense, we are already committed to inter-generational solidarity and now we plan to build on this work by uniting with young people to campaign for their rights as well. We believe there are some key policy areas where this solidarity can be developed:
- Raising the retirement age adds to the problem of rising youth unemployment and should be set at 65 for men and women
- Everyone should be entitled to a decent state pension in retirement that takes them out of poverty
- Young and older people have both suffered from government cuts, whilst the wealthiest in society have largely escaped. More should be done to ensure that big business and wealthy individuals pay their taxes
- Public investment is essential to re-build Britain’s economy, creating training and employment for young people and improved services for all
We would seek to stage a rally/lobby event in mid to late October 2012 to raise these issues with politicians. The rally could include speeches, music and film – and would be aimed at an audience of both young and older people.
To support the event we could also consider local activities on the same day for those unable to get to London for the rally/lobby.
We could consider producing explanatory leaflets about the campaign, postcards to be sent to MPs and posters, alongside launching an online petition which would seek to get over 100,000 signatures to trigger a parliamentary debate.
The NPC would seek to sign up trade union youth sections, alongside college/university students, young unemployed workers and youth workers/groups across the country.
To form a small steering group of interested parties to organise the event and associated materials/activities. The aim would be to begin in June.
The IDYW Campaign Steering Group is fully supportive of this move by the NPC and we hope all our supporters will spread the word and open up the issues raised with young people. This inter-generational initiative raises important questions about the sometimes problematic character of the emphasis on ‘youth voice’ and ‘youth-proofing’ within youth work circles. The right to vote notwithstanding, in reality the overwhelming majority of the population have little say in the crucial economic and political decisions determining the direction of society. Focusing on age, forgetting its intimate relationship to class, gender and race, amongst other divisions, is an ever present danger within our work. We hope to post a fuller discussion of this dilemma in the coming weeks. For the present thanks again to the NPC for this challenging proposal – even if the demands are somewhat too decent and too mild!