What's left for the young?- NI 509 - Jan/Feb 2018
A sobering realization: I have 11 months left of being young. Well, to be more precise, I have 11 months left until my 16-25 Young Person’s Railcard – a little orange voucher that entitles me to a third off ticket prices on Britain’s dysfunctional railways – expires for good. I recently renewed it for the last time with a sense of wistful dread; I’ll soon be cast out into the world of responsible adulthood.
Or will I? Only a few weeks ago, the right-wing Conservative government, desperate to rally young people flocking to the Labour opposition, announced a pilot scheme: the millennial railcard. This would introduce the same fare discount for people up to the age of 30. Just like that, I felt my youth extend by another five years.
The railcard is a telling development: you know the economy is in dire straits when even 30-year-olds can’t be expected to pay adult rates. It relates to an idea that lingered in my mind as I researched this edition’s Big Story: millennials are trapped in permanent adolescence, locked in a strait jacket of youth.
Speaking to and reading about under-empolyed and resourceful young people, from graduates in the Democratic Republic of Congo to migrants in Naples, I saw the outlines of an exhausted generation who want nothing more than to grow up.
The stereotype of millenials as work-shy and molly coddled faded under scrutiny. As I hope this collections of stories demonstrates, they are a cohort who work ceaselessly; both to survive and, crucially, to create the conditions for a better future.
At the back of this issue is a Q&A that evokes another generation of young radicals, as New Internationalist's founding editor, Peter Adamson, recalls how student campaigning in the early 1970s was the springboard for starting this magazine.
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