An open letter to Scotland’s youth
Dear school leaver, student and recent graduate,
I’m disappointed for you.
I’m disappointed you have been left with what you have been left with. That you need to look outside of Scotland for better prospects. That the hope for a better standard of life for you and your children exists elsewhere. That you can’t get a job that pays you fairly. That the health service you will depend on is crumbling.
And that you’re not getting the answers you deserve.
For the last 25 years I have seen your situation develop. I’m the offspring of the first generation after World War II, aka the older generation.
The thing about this generation is that they had nothing when they were born. The war had destroyed a lot of the UK. Starting from scratch was the only option.
So they did.
They built and they built and they built and they built.
They created so much stuff that now we have too much of it.
The word “crisis” gets used a lot, so when you hear of the climate crisis, the financial crisis, the food crisis, the water crisis, the education crisis, the NHS crisis – it’s all largely down to building too much stuff.
From the mass production of electronic goods that are designed not to last to the cheap clothes that are ready for the bin after a handful of washes, there is way too much stuff in the world that no-one really needs. And worse of all, it has created incalculable amounts of waste.
Waste that your generation (and mine) will need to tidy up.
And it all started with my parent’s generation. Your grandparents. The post World War II generation.
Of course, it’s not their fault. It was just a different time. A different era. A hard era to live in. They were used to having much less, so having more was their goal. And letting go of that now for them is difficult. Letting go of something that you have worked for all your life is hard. And to be told that in actual fact what you’ve worked for is wasteful or unsustainable or wrong is not easy to hear.
That’s why a lot of my parent’s generation will stick with the status quo. Change is hard. But without change, the status quo – the lack of prospects, a crumbing society, unaffordable housing, continued waste – will just continue to hurt you.
The good news is that you can move on from previous mistakes.
You are not built like previous generations. You realise that more is not necessarily better. More money, a bigger house, a faster car, a better TV, a more fashionable wardrobe doesn’t guarantee happiness. More doesn’t guarantee a better standard of life. Your grandparents have proved this to be true.
You deserve better than what you have been left with.
Your kids deserve better.
And what you might not realise is that you can create a much better Scotland. You can turn it around. You can solve the problems the country faces. You have it in you.
You can get the job you want. You can achieve the goals you set. You can live a happy life.
Sure, the situation is bleak now. But small changes, small steps in the right direction will get you – it will get us – to where we dream of.
Come 18th September, you can start making the changes that you and your friends need and that your dreams deserve.
You can vote.
And after you vote, take a deep breath, look around you, and hold your head up with pride that you made a start. You took the first step to a life you deserve.
The country needs you to do this. YES, the country needs your vote, but most importantly, it needs you to be proud. It needs you to dream. It needs you to succeed. It needs you to be happy.
Without any of this we will not succeed as one.
Go out and vote on the 18th September.
Thank you for reading.
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