If “youth is wasted on the young” – as Oscar Wilde’s witticism had it – sometimes I wonder whether history is too.
Not that young people cannot understand history ,when stories of the past are told well (as they must be), it is more that their present is constantly shifting,and becoming the future at light speed.
Leaving little time and energy to reflect on a past which appears increasingly irrelevant to them.
Case in point : The young man in the photograph sits at the foot of the Savage Memorial in Auckland. It commemorates Michael Joseph Savage,New Zealand’s much respected first Labour Prime Minister,and he is buried there.
One of Savage’s government’s great achievements was the establishment of comprehensive state social housing in the 1930s.
The young man and his peers face a crushing reality of totally unaffordable rents and house prices ,totally removed from the vision of affordable housing for all ,even the poorest, expoused by Savage.
That dream has faded in recent times, to the point that it appears to the young that is as dead as the late prime minister, and his memorial is just something to lean your back upon….