When I read the headline of an article on the remarkable story that an 11-year-old boy managed to board a plane from Manchester airport to Rome without a ticket or boarding pass I couldn’t help but chuckle. What a resourceful little human I thought. Not only did this little human called Liam Corcoran travel for 3 miles from the shopping centre he was at with his mother to the airport, he slipped through the gates and through security to get on a random plane without anyone noticing he was alone and without the necessary documentation. Only after take off – so even the headcount on the plane didn’t raise any suspicion- a passenger noticed he was all alone.
In these rather tense times it is easy to get people into a frenzy about national security. People at the airport have been suspended and the Transport Minister was asked to comment. Although I find Liam’s adventures quite an accomplishment, I do believe serious mistakes have been made. Not only concerning airport security, but especially, since Liam didn’t pose any risk to security, how one looks after one’s young folk. It’s no secret that the current government has been particular harsh on young people. The cuts have affected many community services aimed at the young, the Education Maintenance Allowance has been scrapped, university tuition fees have trebled while youth unemployment is at an all time high and our less than enlightened Prime Minister is keen to scrap housing benefits for the under 25s as another turd on what is supposed to be the next generation. Liam is only 11 so most of these cuts are not likely to effect him directly. However, he is growing up in a time of economic doom and gloom likely to last until Liam hits his late teens, in which people in power are clearly signalling that the young don’t matter. And if they do, it shouldn’t be a concern of the state. Like on a busy airport where those who were supposed to check passports and boarding passes and just general out-of-the-ordinary behaviour thought that Liam was not their concern. Some other adult must be responsible for him. And those other adults, likely having been occupied with their own children, thought exactly the same if they noticed Liam at all.
Today’s young are the ones who are supposed to take us forward when the country is climbing out of economic misery if that is ever going to happen. It is in the interest of older generations that these kids have a good start in life. If this start is fraught with cuts, high costs for education and general disinterest we might reap its sour grapes further down the line. I hope Liam’s adventure is a sign of his and his generation’s resourceful. It’s highly likely that they will need it to have the bright future they deserve.
top image: AFP