The government is trying to cover up its COVID incompetence by blaming young people
Right now in the UK, it's a not a great time to be a young person. Coupled with all the long-running issues like the greatest period of wage stagnation since the war, hugely inflated house prices, the lack of affordable rentals, a 20 year high for youth suicides, increase in teen use of Heroin and Cocaine, 2020 has made it really fucking difficult to be young in this country.
The last six months have been pretty tough on everybody but it's hard to not look at the way things have been handled and feel that if you're under 30, you've either been blamed or ignored since the pandemic started.
We bore the brunt of redundancies in the early days of the pandemic, were some of the first to go back to font line service jobs and face the chance of getting the virus and then in August, when lockdown was basically considered functionally over for most of the country, we were told to go and 'Eat out to help out' every chance we got. We're being asked to go back to offices to buy coffees we were previously told were the reason we couldn't buy property. But don't worry, because the stamp duty on the houses you still can't afford is zero till next Spring!
We've sustained a precious lost summer, zoom drinks, park drinks, socially distanced-book-a-week-ahead-just-to-go-to-the-pub drinks, all in an effort to follow the government's arbitrary and ever-changing list of rules. The majority of people I see out and about wearing their masks properly are young, probably scared that if a second lockdown comes, they'll be back in their expensive tiny flats working under the fear of redundancy again.
This week, as coronavirus cases in the UK began to tick back up and test centres across the country became overwhelmed, Matt Hancock decided that the real villain in all this wasn't the government and its endless list of arbitrary and constantly complicating rules, the shortage of tests or even the fact that new rules changes are communicated through newspaper front pages at 10pm at night, but young people. Young people meeting up in groups of 30 and not spending money was so dangerous that it simply had to be banned.
These young people are the same young people who have had a formative year of their lives taken from them and seen their future plans disappear, are now being blamed for doing exactly what the government asked them to do this summer. A level students lost uni places to government incompetence, thousands had to book emergency flights or risk a 2 week quarantine as countries they were told were safe suddenly weren't. We ate out to help out, we took holidays to travel corridor countries, we returned to our low paid service jobs to kickstart the flailing economy and we tried to enjoy some semblance of normality in the face of a disease that largely doesn't end fatally for us. And now, in response, the government brands us irresponsible grandparent killers working tirelessly to spread the virus as far as possible.
The reason we've got an outbreak now is because it was inevitable. In opening pubs, shops and restaurants, the government was making the choice to re-open the economy. With that decision comes the inevitability that community transmission would increase, it's not rocket science. So then, if you've made that choice, the only logical step is to make sure that we can handle it when cases do rise. This means more and better testing, enforced local lockdowns and rules that make sense and can be easily followed, all things that the government has so far been unable to get a grip on.
In blaming young people for the most recent outbreak, the Conservatives play to some of their base's strongest impulses. The need for the older generation to make us out to be feckless, irresponsible snowflakes frivolously spending our money on oat lattes and avocados is nothing new, but at a time when a big chunk of the country's economic futures lays in our hands, it just doesn't make sense.