15 June 2007

Sex, Drugs But No Power

Sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll — The 1960s is the decade most people would most like to live in. Now, it seems, today's "youf" are trying to re-create that bygone utopia of sexual and social liberalisation, but I have to wonder whether they have not forgotten one crucial ingredient: flower power.

The Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV (IAG) says there is an indisputable link between alcohol, drugs and risky sexual behaviour, describing the threat as fuel for a sexual health crisis. Given the failure of the Government's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, drug policy, and approach to teenage binge drinkers, this should come no surprise.

Noting that sexual health in the UK has been deteriorating over the last twelve years, the group warns that young people are starting to have sexual intercourse at a younger age, are becoming more promiscuous in their behaviour, and have the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies in Europe. Their report asks, "As adults, are we reneging on our responsibilities?"

Rather than answer what seems a blindingly simple question with a blatantly obvious answer, I want to turn the query around: Are today's youth reneging on their responsibilities? If they've rediscovered the sex (earlier and riskier) and the drugs (stronger and more dangerous), why haven't they stumbled onto rock'n'roll? They've got their Vietnam (Iraq), so where are the non-violent anti-war protests? They've got their nuclear causes (renewal of Trident and next generation of power stations), so where are the sit-down demonstrations? They've got their gun crime and armed police, so why is nobody giving flowers to policemen?

The IAG claims "young people do not engage in risky behaviour: they experiment and explore" but I'm not convinced ... It seems to me that Generation Blair has missed the point.

41 comments:

Lucy M said...

To be fair I think that lots of young people are switched on to global issues, but despite the nostalgia times have changed. They may not be wearing hippy smocks and spontaneously demonstrating outside parliament (oh yes, that's illegal now of course) but that doesn't mean they're not signing online petitions, making a noise in MySpace, and making responsible choices about the products they buy.

MikeC said...

It strikes me Lucy that the actions you mentioned are pretty anonymous ones - internet activity, and consumer choices. What we need are individuals who stand up for what they believe, and act on it - get involved by showing how things can be done differently.

It's too easy to press a few keys, or buy a different brand. It's much more difficult to write directly to your MP, or stand for election in your local council, or organise an event (not necessarily wearing hippy smocks of course).

More difficult, yes, but much more effective.

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