27 September 2015
As a teenager growing up on the mean streets of 1960's Birmingham, young people were getting their own identity, the Mods on their slick Vespa scooters and the Rockers on their high-powered motorbikes. Inevitably things change, but some things unfortunately continue: young men who congregate on street corners and struggle to contain their boredom. So, I was interested to read Hollande's latest venture here in France. This month sees a voluntary scheme to help jobless under-25s gain a new direction and discipline. Yes, they're being offered a chance to participate in an army-like scheme, but with a difference. They'll be paid 313 euros per month, get a free uniform, meals and accommodation but will be taught skills e.g. basic education, social/life skills in community living and technical qualifications recognised by employers. Essentially they won't be given arms training (good!) but will be taught how to live and work in society without causing mayhem. What an excellent idea. I should imagine French youngsters will be queuing up at the first centres opening in Moselle, Essonne and Charente-Maritime. That's what the UK and other countries need to do right now but I don't suppose they will. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.