Dear Angela Lambert

Politics leads nowhere, we can't get jobs - yet you expect us to change the world ... Give us a break, gran, says a 16-year-old member of Generation Y
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Having read your open letter to Generation Y in last Friday's Independent, I feel impelled to write a response in defence of myself and my generation. I don't think you quite understand. You told us to "look reality in the eye". But have you followed your own advice?

You blame us for political indifference, and say we should change things rather than complain about them. Fair enough. The problem is, how do we reach this change? The main parties are losing their individuality, and sliding into an indistinct Euro-greyness. The minor parties are, for the most part, silly - the Natural Law Party, for example. And the Green Party, which is neither silly nor nondescript, has no manifesto because it has no intention of entering office. The party is intended as a pressure group for green issues rather than a serious stab at government. We can only choose from what we are given.

As for your question "Who is to make the future a better place but you?", well, why not you? It is acliche that the young must change the world if it is to be changed, but why can't the older generation do their bit? You have more experience of life thanwe do, and a secure place in the world, whereas most of us are still fighting for a toe-hold. Yet you sit still and content yourself with urging us forwards.

You may have been fired for being pregnant, but you now have a good job, and one you are likely to keep. We leave our schools and colleges knowing that we are likely to end up on the dole for years. And even if we do find a job, there is the problem of debts. It would take a miracle to make today's student grants stretch to all the expenses required. Our money problems, you say, "are trivial compared to what they will become". This is more of a death sentence than an encouragement.

I don't know whether to be angry or amused when you recommend giving cannabis to everyone over 70 "to ensure them tranquil, anxiety-free final years", and then claim that drug-taking in 16- to 24-year-olds indicates "a terror of being confronted with reality". There seems to be a bit of a double standard here. Are people over 70 the only ones with anxieties? Aren't we entitled to a little tranquillity?

You say we have fewer commitments now than at any other point in our lives. But think for a moment. At the bottom of the age range we have to juggle A-levels, work experience, extra-curricular activities, and helping around the house. At the top, we are carving out the beginnings of a career - trying to work harder, more impressively, than the rivals around us.

One last point - you've forgotten that the one thing that really sets your teeth on edge when you're young is the patronising, superior, parental-style lecture. Claire Bott

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