He stood at the front door the Sunday before Queens birthday, another foot soldier in the corporate army of door to door callers. The bangle he wore and his name indicated he was Sikh but at this moment ethnicity wasn’t the point. Neither was the time – early evening. Or the fact that it was a Sunday.
This shy, gentle young man was at the front door on an evening when the cold was setting in, to suggest ways we could improve our broadband package.
He was unlike the cold callers from overseas companies where sales people with no idea of timing - partly because they seemed to be working their own time zone - rang just as we were sitting down to dinner.
And it wasn’t just this young man – it was all the young people like him. All the young who face such an uphill battle to get what we came into so easily in our own youth: a section, a group home perhaps, and for some with luck or money, the big OE. Then finally back home to buy a house with kindly governments offering low interest loans and child capitalisation.
Now the Government and banks alike are predators, taxing and exploiting the young at every opportunity. What galls most is that the politicians who created our free market free-for-all paid nothing in the way of student fees; they took advantage of all the assistance the governments of the day offered, then had a remarkable, but by no means uncommon bout of amnesia.
But that bout costs students and families – and eventually society too. Today, young people have to make choices of the kind we never had to consider. Families are deferred. Housing is unaffordable and in short supply - in part because this government, defying history, has said it is not in the business of building houses.
But still they want a knowledge society – cheaply mind you – and one built on the backs of people like the young man at the door. All of it has made our once charitable and easy-going society edgy and tense; one of haves and have nots.
No Cabinet Minister’s kid will be door knocking on Queen’s Birthday weekend for some corporate. They’ll be celebrating the long weekend - along with the other 11 pupils in their private school classes.