I write this article a week after the Government has launched a budget which will extend the austerity drive our previous Government imposed upon us. It is a budget which targets the poorest of this country, the most vulnerable, the families and the disabled. It is a budget which has targeted students with a €250 rise in registration fees for college (After Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn promised that there would be no rise pre-election) but has there been any hint of a kerfuffle from students. You bet your bottom dollar there hasn’t.
No, students are more preoccupied with the X Factor finals, alcohol and a shitty little video of a boy claiming to be bullied in school that somehow deceived the majority of facebookers into believing was legitimate. With regards to the issue of registration fees students and young people have been audibly silent. This is only one example of a much broader problem that is engulfing society, young people really don’t care anymore.
I speak from experience. I speak as a student who talks with other students on a daily basis. Our country is being fucked over royally by an undemocratic capitalist system in which the working-class and middle-class in society have to cough up for the mistakes of the elite upper class, or the 1% as they have been christened.
But do young people care? Fuck no. Many young people who I have conversed with regarding our political and economic crisis have remarked how they feel FG/Lab are the ‘best of a bad bunch’ or how ‘they are doing their best’. These bland and false statements are endemic of the lack of knowledge young people have for the political situation. If anyone were to delve into the austerity measures our Government is imposing they would see how unfair and unjust they really are.
What’s that I hear someone shout? ‘The cuts have to be made somewhere, people should deal with it, it’s in the national interest’. I have heard these sentiments expressed on countless occasions in the past weeks. If you just thought that to yourself you are a fucking idiot. Seriously, shut the fuck up. The richest 1% in Ireland own 28.1% of all wealth in this country while 5% own 46.8% of the wealth. This means that the top 1% own roughly €131.5bn while the top 5% own €219.3bn. That’s Credit Suisse talking by the way, I didn’t make up these figures. The money is there so that cuts can be avoided but you see the people at the top are quite pally with the politicians and you get by with a little help from your friends don’t you? If this does not make your blood boil then you are either part of the 1% or as ignorant as a panda.
Young people of this country and in particular the working class and middle class need to realise that we will see no change in our woes unless we tackle these issues head on. This means getting off our arses and challenging the government head on by protesting and not just accepting fiscal inequality as the status quo.