The government needs to stop blaming young people for following the rules they enforced

The Tory government should be begging for our support


Being a young person in the UK right now is a mindfuck. The government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has meant that our entire demographic is being blamed for the second spike – and it’s not fair at all.

Unfortunately for us, being under the age of 30 and not being vulnerable results in either being ignored by the government for months on end, being used to stimulate the economy or being blamed entirely. Media outlets are endorsing the government’s incompetence and finger-pointing at the unruly youths going to restaurants and pubs (as we were told to do), now telling us to go to our rooms and think about what we’ve done.

Yesterday’s briefing was the first time the words “University students” left Boris’ mouth in months. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have had no support at all, we have been entirely shafted by the government and at this point, we’re pretty pissed off.

Over the past summer that we never had, young people have hosted hundreds of Zoom drinks, online socials, distanced picnics, and considerate activities so that we can see our mates without increasing the spread. We booked days out weeks in advance, got spotty faces from wearing masks and dried out our hands from sanitising all the time. We participated in stupid Instagram challenges just so we could stay connected with our friends and family online.

Our overdrafts are in desperate need of an income and we missed out on important internships, grad schemes, and work experience. As a result, students have picked up what jobs they can in hospitality so they can have a source of income to pay for the rent at their student houses, where most of them aren’t even living. Even if you are living there then it’s a life sentence, because you can’t move back home as chances are at least one of your family is vulnerable and needs to isolate. But remember when Dominic Cummings drove 260 miles to visit his parents in Durham and he wasn’t punished for it? Yeah, we remember that too.

Matt Hancock and the British government have taken it upon themselves to villanise every single young person to turn the blame away from themselves. This past week, coronavirus cases in the UK have spiked and test centres are beginning to feel the pressure. Matt Hancock showed us he’s a firm believer that the spike isn’t due to the government’s rabbit hole briefings and nonsensical list of rules, or their invitation that every man and his dog eat out at half price three days a week for a month. No. Of course, that’s not the issue. The issue is those goddamn students who persistently meet up wearing masks and continue to not spend the money they don’t have. It’s a joke – isn’t it Matt.

We were used to boost the economy

There is no doubt about this one. Young people were enticed by the government to go out three nights a week and eat as much as they can for half the price. Sounds like a decent deal, right? Wrong. As soon as this scheme came to an end, young people were shamed for endorsing it. We stimulated the economy as they asked, and then their plan backfired and cases spiked – so they pointed the finger at us. How dare young people actually do as the government tells them!?

‘Don’t kill your gran’ is so fucking insulting

Despite failing to meet the testing targets and then inviting everyone into restaurants like a club promoter on the Ibiza strip but with Pizza Express, in an interview with Radio 1 Newsbeat, Matt Hancock sent a warning out to young people. He stated: “Don’t kill your gran by catching the virus and passing it on.” Sorry if this comes across as rude Matt, but you just invited me out for dinner and offered to split the bill with me? You’re sending mixed messages here.

Baring in mind that Matt Hancock is the same guy who tried to also blame the NHS for not providing enough PPE and saying they were overusing it. I’m starting to think that the government has a thing for blaming people who are doing things to help.

The government’s incompetence stopped students going to their dream unis

Let’s not forget about the A-level results day shit show. This was absolutely horrific to watch unravel on Twitter and the news. It was embarrassing but most of all it was very telling. The British government dragged A-level students through the mud and massively downgraded them on exams they didn’t even take.

So many students had to go into clearing because of the chaos involved in the government’s shitty system. 40 percent of grades were reduced and it was destructive on both national and individual scales. Now unis are oversubscribed and they’re blaming these upcoming freshers for the second spike before they even get a chance to move into halls. What. A. Joke.

 

With the weeks that followed after lockdown slightly eased, young people engaged in the push for movements much bigger than this pandemic, and they blamed us for that too. The active fight for climate change, racism, and gender equality – we have made a difference and we keep going. We wore masks – we protected ourselves and still fought. But the government is still wanting to point their finger for these issues rather than taking accountability.

In the long run, the government has not only done some serious damage to the Conservative party, but to the economy, and our trust. The second spike is on them, not the millions of young people who are working around the clock for the government who keep changing the rules and adding in new schemes. They have singlehandedly ruined the future of thousands of young people, we won’t forget it.

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• ‘It’s ridiculous’: A-level students on the government’s mock result u-turn

• How the coronavirus crisis could keep working class kids locked out of top unis

Meet the students of results day whose A-level grades got reduced