The Fear, by Lily Allen
I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever I don’t care about funny
I want loads of clothes and fuckloads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them
And I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
‘Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous.
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track, yeah I’m on to a winner.
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
And when do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cause I’m being taking over by The Fear
Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other
But it doesn’t matter cause I’m packing plastic
And that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic
And I am a weapon of massive consumption
And it’s not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function
Forget about guns and forget ammunition
‘Cause I’m killing them all on my own little mission
Now I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner
Now everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner
This song came out in 2009 and really struck a chord with me there and then. But reading the lyrics fully five years on in this seemingly unending crisis of capitalism makes you realise just how horrible life must be for many of our young people.
First of all they have to PAY to be educated. People will look back at our era and quite obviously ask the question; “You mean that you expected your young, hard working and talented youngsters to actually fork out to be up-skilled, contribute to the progress of the nation, pay tax and fulfil those vital jobs such as teaching, health, and social work? Not to mention science, research and careers that push up our living standards?”
Then there is the fact that the late twenty somethings have been subjected to the madness in education of continual testing and the teachers having any sense of self being knocked out of them by OFSTED and teaching by numbers at training college. There is virtually no work unless you are connected by wealthy parental networks, have money behind you or are prepared to take low paid jobs. And as for a career…. forget it unless the aforementioned things apply.
The pressure on our young people comes from all sides. Be it pressure to excel academically, look good and be cool, or get in to risk taking behaviour the dangers and exposure to poor mental health outcomes are everywhere.
But when fear comes into the equation we have a massive problem, and that is what comes through as the most heartbreaking aspect of this capitalism. Fear is the most corrosive and debilitating of emotions. We must stop the fear. How?
By promoting hope.
We need three things to stop being scared. We need properly paid jobs for all who need them. We need a mass house building programme to provide homes that we can afford and can be proud of, and we need democratic control of all our public services where the workers run things for the benefit of the people, not fat cat public sector bosses or private companies.
This includes Parliament which needs to look and sound like the country it is meant to represent rather than be stuffed with privately educated middle aged men. I don’t want my MP to represent Virgin Healthcare, or a hedge fund in the city. They should be of, and for the people because this country belongs to us, not the Cabinet of millionaires in London, Barclays Bank, Starbucks, or those multi national companies that are holding our country to ransom.
Our young people are the key to this, we owe it to them.