WHAT is Peter Mandelson doing lecturing your parents on how to cope with having an unemployed graduate back living at home?

He is the Business Secretary.

He is NOT a parenting coach, agony aunt or careers adviser.

In the latest crushing disappointment for Dude? – and Dude’s Army of readers – our Business Secretary has proved yet again that he has no idea what you lot are going through – or what he can do to help.

In its latest kneejerk response to the graduate unemployment crisis, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills has just unveiled…

Wait for it…

A guide to help your parents with the stress of you being unemployed.

Forget the ‘nanny state’ – it seems our government has decided that Mary Poppins is so noughties.

Now – as we enter the ‘teenies’ – the politicians are suddenly all about the tough love, suggesting that parents who do their child’s laundry while they seek work could be damaging their offspring’s chances of success on the job market.

(Er, WHAT?!)

But you know what really kills me?

That every minute – and pound – that was spent putting together the new Parent Motivators Guide was NOT spent on thinking up ways to incentivise businesses to create more job opportunities for you, the graduates who working hard to find employment.

Okay, so being the parent of an unemployed graduate isn’t much fun.

But it’s even less fun for you – and it’s you who are going to have to build a plan to get yourselves into employment.

Which is why it’s so screamingly obvious that Mandy’s resources should be focussed on helping you to find work.

NOT on your helping your parents to deal with you being out of work.

In fairness, some of the guide’s advice isn’t bad. (If you ignore its unhelpful – and false – underlying assumption that finding you a job is in some way your parents’ responsibility. It’s not – it’s yours and yours alone.)

More of my thoughts on the guide to come in a later post…

But for now the big question is surely –

WHAT is the government THINKING?

Is someone giving Mandy some really bad advice at the moment?

Or does he just Not Get It At All?

First up, we had the much-slated Graduate Talent Pool (“Wow, a load of unpaid internships – that’ll help pay off my £15k of debt…”).

Next came a muddled proposal of university reforms (complete with gaping hole where Mandy’s attack on the dire state of university careers advice services should have been).

In fact, over the last six months, Mandy and his Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ response to the graduate unemployment crisis has been neither businesslike, innovative nor skilled.

Frankly, it’s been a complete shambles.

All they’ve done is perfect the art of spewing out one costly, kneejerk and pretty much useless initiative after another.

Of which this Parent Motivators Guide is just the latest.

WHEN are we going to see this government produce a cohesive action plan to tackle this graduate unemployment crisis properly? A plan that treats the causes of this problem, not its symptoms?

We wait in hope.

In the meantime, there is some good news.

At least Mandy’s Conservative opponent David (‘Two Brains’) Willetts is showing encouraging signs of grasping this really-not-rocket-science issue.

Is this because our man Willetts has his own personal fears about the current system that so spectacularly fails to help young people move from university into the world of work?

(Of his two grown-up kids, Dude hears one has just started uni while the other is doing a media postgrad).

Is it possible that he realises how scandalously badly you lot are currently being served?

Or is it just that  Willetts ‘gets’ this issue in a way Mandy clearly doesn’t?

Whatever, his response to the Parent Motivators Guide was on the money:

“Young people are driven back home after university out of financial necessity,” Willetts explained to his slow-on-the-uptake Labour rival. “They are finding it hard to get jobs in this recession.”

(Would Mandy like him to write that last bit down, perhaps? Dude would be only too happy to make it into a poster to Blu-Tack to his office wall).

“Peter Mandelson would be much better [off] focussing on improving the performance of the economy than setting himself up as the nation’s agony aunt.”

Too right.

Graduates don’t need tough love from their parents.

They need support from their government.

– Read more about the Parent Motivators Guide here

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