Socialist Worker

Letters—No job leaves me asking what was the point of college?

Issue No. 2726

Graduates feel like their efforts at university might has been a waste

Graduates feel like their efforts at university might have been a waste (Pic: Alan Light)

Finally graduating from university after three years is an overwhelming feeling.

For most people, it would probably be a little scary, but mostly exciting. But for those of us who graduated during a pandemic, it is just scary.

Since I finished my course it has felt like one endless scroll down job websites.

I’ve applied for anything that could help me earn a little money so I can move away from home and start the career I spent three years studying for.

But three months down the line with no luck, I feel further away from that goal than when I started. 

At this point I would take any job. My future career in the industry I studied so hard to prepare for seems like a distant fantasy.

But it is not just me.

Most of my university friends are in the same boat—all of us being in the age group which has been hit the hardest by coronavirus-induced unemployment.

Since May, 156,000 16-24 year olds have lost their jobs, and hundreds of thousands more like me are unable to get one.

Of course, coronavirus has hit everybody hard, but especially so for those working in the retail and hospitality sectors—which predominantly employ young people.

In times of economic hardship, we are usually first out the door. 

Us graduates are now unable to access the basic but essential entry-level jobs that we rely on to get a step-up into the careers job market.

It is a major setback that I didn’t account for when planning for my future.

Many of us who attended university did so because we believed it would give us an edge when entering the job market. Despite being expensive, it seemed like a worthwhile investment.

But at this point, it just feels like a colossal waste of time, energy, and money.

Becky Watson


Closed NHS led to more cancers

It is appalling that Breast Cancer Awareness month sees ordinary people being urged to raise money for cancer charities while a chronically underfunded NHS is unable to deliver basic screening and treatment.

As an NHS worker I’m angry about the government’s pandemic strategy to close vital services to deal with Covid admissions, rather than expanding resources. 

That left people with life-threatening conditions without tests and treatment.

The closures mean around a million women in Britain have missed breast screening. An estimated 8,600 women are likely to have undetected breast cancer currently.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women.

In my NHS Trust we recently discussed sobering figures on detection and treatment of all cancers.

Between April and June there were 250,000 fewer urgent cancer referrals in England, meaning signs were not being picked up through screening.

In the same short period around 25,000 fewer patients were able to start their first cancer treatment.

Time matters with cancer and I find it unbearable that the government is focused on whether companies can make profit. 

Meanwhile the preventable death toll of the pandemic rises in ways we will continue to discover.

Diana Swingler

East London

You’ve got it wrong on Cyprus division

Your article on Cyprus (Socialist Worker, 6 September) while informative and interesting, contains a few errors.

To claim that the reason the division of the island was due to British machinations—as the headline “How British imperialism split Cyprus” does—while understandable for a British audience, hides the responsibility of the local ruling class.

They were in fact the main culprit.

The Communist Party wrongly supported Enosis (union with Greece) from 1948 to 1978.

It took them four years after the coup and the war of 1974 to reverse this policy. The article fails to mention this, let alone try to explain it. 

Also, by 1974 nationalist colonel George Grivas was dead. His guerrilla organisation backed the military coup organised by the Greek junta and not the other way round. 

Demetrios Hadjidemetriou

North London

Rishi Sunak is right, art is for losers 

Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak is bang on the money!

Us artists really need to find something useful to do and make a proper contribution to society.

Anyone who expects to be able to sit around scribbling or singing or acting or something like that should take a reality check.

The nanny state isn’t here to help with your pathetic neediness.

No! We need to stand on our own two feet and retrain as something more beneficial to society.

I am personally already working hard retraining as an Etonian. There’s no shortage of jobs for them, and the opportunities are very remunerative.

What’s more you don’t need to be good or even interested in your job.

The downside with the arts is the pesky commitment to doing it as well as you can—and making sacrifices to do that, while having to do other jobs to get by.

And let’s face it there is too much art already, cluttering up our houses and distracting us from working.

So that’s it from me, you’ll probably see me on telly soon telling you about some “difficult choices” that need to be made regarding your hospital or school.

Good luck losers.

Tim Sanders

East London 

...but not a drop to drink

It’s been more than 12 hours since the water stopped running in large parts of east London, mid-pandemic.

A major pipe leak means no water at all for drinking, cooking, washing, flushing toilets.

About a mile from here is the famous Abbey Mills pumping station. It was built in the 1860s when it became clear—because of regular cholera outbreaks—that a supply of clean drinking water and efficient sewage system should be an essential public service.

Thames Water today is owned by an international consortium based in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China and Canada. 

Its new boss is on a salary of £750,000 plus, with bonuses.

It has been pissing rain for a fortnight but there’s none in the taps.

Jack Robertson

East London

Tests where we didn’t Excel

There has been much mocking of Public Health England for collecting data of Covid-19 infections on an Excel spreadsheet. 

That it used a version of that programme that was discontinued 

13 years ago has us all with our mouths open.

But is anyone asking why the public body is using such antiquated software? The answer is years of cutbacks.

John Backus

California, US

We need TV licence protest

British state pensions are terrible but as a sop over 75s have been given free TV licences.

A few years ago the government passed responsibility for that to the BBC. This was clearly uneconomic for the BBC, so now they are taking them away.

In ordinary times pensioner groups could have held meetings to combat this but that is not possible now. 

But a letter to my local paper resulted in nine people phoning me to say they won’t pay.

The best first step is to use the reply paid envelope from the BBC to send them a letter saying why.

George Arthur

Barnsley, South Yorkshire

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