Letter from the i editor: Something new is brewing


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The Independent Online

I was casting around in an attempt to articulate my view that something new is brewing among an ever more disaffected and politically alienated young, and that the Government’s inert response to the current crisis is sorely lacking. Then I read our young iWriters.

Today, Rosie Birchall attacks the lack of any “big idea” from politicians when we need one. A couple of days ago, Lucy Snow argued there was a generation of youth wanting to be inspired by fresh thinking. Then, in yesterday’s well-received, eloquent contribution, Owen Wilson dared to suggest a big idea. Forget spending £75bn on quantitative easing in the vague (naive?) hope some of it will trickle down to us via those self-same greedy financiers that got us into this mess. Owen’s idea was for the Government to give all of us £1,000 in vouchers to spend.

We’d all get £1k on some posh smart card, and then we’d have to redeem that £1k by a certain date on a wide range of goods and services to be agreed between government and industry, not just retailers. This may not include pornography or fags, but would allow you to buy a ticket for your friend to go with you to Dubai. You snooze you lose. So, if you have not spent your cash by the deadline, it reverts back to the Government. This would at one stroke put £60bn+ back into the UK economy where we can all feel it, in one swoop increasing consumer and business confidence.

It won’t happen, of course. It’s one of those ideas that our politicians and economists, who led us all into this mess, would dismiss immediately as naive, but that make perfect sense to the rest of us. Would you not have loved the Government to have come up with it? Perhaps in the context of the patronising cynicism that advised us to check our fuel tarrifs this week, the naive just got more attractive.