Remote Control - Saturday 24 August 2013

The Dee dolphin (below) and the shark bitten by a Great White off Cornwall
The Dee dolphin (below) and the shark bitten by a Great White off Cornwall

I’d prefer to be on the Dole to enjoy nature

Last week Paul O’Grady attempted to get to the bottom of why “the working class stopped working”.

His series attempts to discover why the people once defined by their jobs are now demonised as “hoodies and chavs”, dismissed as lazy, and attacked by the Mail.

He’ll no doubt go into a lack of meaningful training opportunities, a decline in manufacturing, zero-contract hour jobs and the fading hopes of the next generation who are restricted to apprenticeships as supermarket cashiers and baristas.

I can add another factor to the list of why youngsters don’t work.

Sharks.

And I’ll take it further, sharks on National Geographic.

Or, Nat Geo as it’s now known.

There’s Shark Attack Beach, Asutralia’s Dealiest Shark Attacks, Bite Force 2, Sea Serpent of the North, and Shark Battleground: The Red Triangle.

There’s even Sharks in the City.

You’ll never step in a puddle again.

How many’s out there?

And two weeks ago Nat Geo reported how Danish male swimmers had been warned about a fish which confused male genitalia for nuts sparking fears of “testicle-eating fish” invading Scandinavian waters – and even led experts to caution men to keep their swimsuits well tied.

“Male swimmers should keep their pants on in case there are more pacus out there in our cold Baltic waters,” Peter Rask Møller, a fish expert at Denmark’s University of Copenhagen.

Today’s unemployed must be scared of going out.

And any trepidation must have got worse over the last seven days – ‘Jaws’ attempting to bite a chunk out of a blue shark hooked on an angler’s line off Cornwall, then a predatory dolphin leaping out of the River Dee.

And even if they can muster up the courage to step outside, what are they missing on the small screen?

These daytime nature programmes are magnificent and worth staying jobless for.

When I was tossed out of my secondary modern into the biggest post-War youth unemployment queues in the early 80s, there were three channels and no breakfast TV.

And TV was still in public broadcast mode – Protect and Survive films (sample episode: 7. Materials To Use For Your Fall-out Room And Refuge (1:55) Radiation shielding materials).

Nothing approaching entertainment.

Just the end of the world.

In my day you made your roll-your-owns last, read a paper in the library and walked everywhere.

Invariably wet because your caghoule wasn’t waterproof and your trainers had holes.

Not now.

Today’s NEETS, those not in education, employment or training, can go on global adventures in their undies.

I had a mate who we joked would get his 1,000th Dole cheque personally from the Queen.

And he used his unemployment days well; he was brilliant at keepy-ups and head tennis with a footy.

Now the Dolies should be experts on maritime wildlife. And good for them.

Alan Burrows