Friday, 16 October 2009

My first ever blog post!

I don't want to sound like a boring old fart (and I promise, you, I'm not), but to start my blog, I want to set down some, possibly unstructured and rambling, thoughts, which may go someway to explain the way I feel about things. Bear with me, please.

I've seen astonishing changes through my life.

I went to school in the 60's and 70's. Through higher education from '75 to '79 - an abortive first year at university, then a second, successful degree course at a "technical college", resulting in a 2:1 honours degree in electronics engineering, and a choice of several job offers.

Computer technology burst into real life during my degree course. I'd done some BASIC programming in the last year or so at school - which meant trips to a local computer centre, and sitting at a Creed teleprinter, typing my program onto punched tape and leaving it to be run for me, and collecting the printed results on the next visit. We never saw the computer itself. I learned machine code programming on a DEC PDP-8 at college, entering the program via toggle switches on the front of the machine. The first microprocessors (such as the Intel 4040 and 8080 and Motorola 6800) came out during my degree, and I learnt more with them - all very basic facilities and technically limited. The first IBM PC came out after I'd been at work a few years. Look where we are now!

I mention this, because in those years, when I was becoming a young adult, the popular view (think back to "Tomorrow's World" on TV) was that we were entering a bold and exciting new age, where automation and computers would increase productivity so much, that in the future, everybody would not have to work long hours, and that leisure time would be abundant for all. I kid you not, if you don't remember those days.

Obviously, the opposite has happened. In those years, even not that long ago, whether a couple both worked was usually a matter of choice - it was possible for a family to get by on one income. Now, life is often a struggle, especially for younger people and new families. I embarked on my career with no debts, and a wide choices of jobs. Now, our children leave university (and HE educational establishments are all Universities now, aren't they?) with typically £10 - £15K of debt, and often little or no choice of an appropriate job. They find it hard if not impossible to get on the housing ladder, and if they do, it's with dangerous mortgages (I remember my first mortgage - I had to be a saver with the Building Society for a year, then join a waiting list for available funds, pay a deposit, and be able to borrow 3X salary max) and now in a volatile housing market. So many people in negative equity - and to me, the current climate appears much worse than the early '90's when the last recession hit.

It seems to me that although there have been countless changes, innovations etc that do enhance life, the quality of life, and general happiness "with our lot" is not better. I find myself repeatedly exasperated at the rubbish that is spewed into our lives in the way of nannying, outright bullying, stupid rules and legislation, just all the intrusion into our lives by government, especially this deceitful, corrupt excuse for a government that New Labour is.

There seems to be no room for common sense or individual responsibility and accountability any more.

Is it just me, or is it all rubbish?


  1. It's easy to get jaded, and I concur with you on the political front (it is depressing without obvious sign of cessation), but it's not all that bad.

    I was born in 1980, which means I grew up with the c64, occasionally faffing with BASIC as well; I too did an Electronic Engineering degree, and then a masters in Microelectronics. And after those 5 years at university, I'm one of these students who left with upwards of 25k of debt. It doesn't bother me; mainly because Engineering pays a decent wage and at some point it will be paid off.
    And, if I was going to rack up debt at any point in my life whilst having a good time of it, I would rather it was in my early twenties.
    I've had my dance and now it's time to pay the piper; it was a fair price. The fact that students who came before me (I was the first year of loans and fees -F*ck my luck) had it better off, doesn't really matter.

    The fact that we don't own a house has left us free to adapt to the changing market, by moving where there is work if need be.
    The internet provides near unlimited information, for bettering oneself, speaking to like-minded people...and finding work; here or abroad.
    If you have the skills (like for example, you're an engineer) it is so much easier to move elsewhere in the world if your country goes to pot. Which it might.

    Ultimately, this country is knobbled. And the knock-on effects from that will either be more of the same, or an emergence of something else. The web/blogosphere has changed the rules significantly for our would-be rulers, and they can no longer disregard us in the manner in which they have become accustomed.

    So I'm *a bit* optimistic.

    And welcome to the bloggy thing. Like what you've done so far.

  2. Awwww - thanks for being the first person to take the effort to respond. I'm touched.

    I do think that we need to take more ownership than ever about our destiny. The times of having a safe environment to coast in are over. The game's changed for ever.