I WAS glad to read the letter from your young unemployed correspondent, S Baker (February 20), and I compliment him/her for the time and effort put into it. I feel, however, that there is some confusion of thought in it.
For example if he withdraws his Job Seeker’s Allowance from a bank’s cashpoint, without going in and seeing a cashier, he isn’t all that well-placed to ask for an explanation as to why so many bank cashiers are losing their jobs!
Likewise shop assistants, postal workers, librarians, supermarket checkers and railway booking clerks.
He should not join in the depersonalisation of life which is replacing the human contact which gives people a role in the community. I write on Ash Wednesday to say that I am giving up for Lent all the computerised shortcuts to self-centred ‘convenience’ and intend to keep this up permanently, except in real emergency circumstances; for the devices put people on the dole by making them redundant!
Interestingly this mechanisation of commerce was prophesied in the 1930s by C S Lewis, prolific author of both Narnian fiction (“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, etc) and of Christian understanding (eg “The Screwtape Letters”).
His first book was “The Pilgrim’s Regress”, a perhaps over complicated sequel to John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s progress.” Lewis’s hero moves through various scenes of 20th century life, and towards the end he is advised that God’s world is suffering enemy invasion from powerful folk who corner its wealth. Threatened by radical risings by the industrial proletariat they devise mechanical gadgets to escape from dependence on workers who have found that uniting for political and industrial purposes secured fairer wages.
Lewis writes that this distortion of society by division into ‘fat cats’ and disempowered ‘proles’ won’t last; but alas he can’t predict how it will end.
Clearly Cameron and his continental opposite numbers ought to act by ensuring that our young folk are empowered.
His failure prompts suspicion of being in cahoots with the fat cats; and I believe Gordon Brown would have proved a safer pair of hands. But S. Baker is wrong in saying young folk can do nothing to create jobs. Every little counts, and they can at least boycott the temptation to ‘score own goals’ by swallowing the bait of ‘convenience’!