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UK Tory Minister Blames Joblessness Crisis on Pornography, Video Games

LONDON — The U.K. Tory government’s Work and Pensions Secretary this week blamed “pornography and video games” for what he called “a mental health crisis among young men” which resulted in them leaving the workforce.

Mel Stride, a career Conservative politician since 2006, used adult content as a way to explain disastrous official figures showing almost a million Brits between the ages of 16 and 24 could not be found in either education, employment or training in the first trimester of 2024.

Stride has held office in three Tory governments since 2015, with duties overseeing matters directly impacting economic and labor policy. He was Lord Commissioner of the Treasury under David Cameron (2015-2016), Comptroller of the Household, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Paymaster General and Leader of the House of Commons under Theresa May (2016-2019), before being appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in October 2022.

The Sunak government has been plagued by accusations of inefficiency, and General Elections have been called this week for July.

Stride himself caused a scandal last month prompted by his callous statements about stopping financial support to the mentally ill, as part of “a full-on assault on disabled people,” according to the opposition.

This week, Stride claimed that it was not the policies of Conservative governments which have ruled the U.K for an uninterrupted 14 years since 2010 that caused this year’s dismal job statistics, but social media and technology leading to “a very worrying” increase in mental health conditions among young people, which was fueling economic inactivity,” the main conservative newspaper The Telegraph reported.

Stride also theorized before a government committee that, while women’s mental health has been suffering “because of unrealistic ideals portrayed on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram,” in the case of young men, “things like gaming, and certainly pornography and things like that, is a more prevalent factor.”

Stride proposed more research into technology was needed to fix the country’s economic and labor decline.

“I do think probably as a society we haven’t explored and fully opened up exactly what this technology means for young people’s mental health because I think the impacts are actually very profound and probably an area where there needs to be more research.”

The Sunak government of which Stride is part has failed to show many political victories since coming to power as a weak compromise choice in late 2022, after the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson government and the brief Liz Truss interregnum.

One of the Sunak government’s few wins, however, was the 2023 passage of the controversial Online Safety Act, which effectively instituted government censorship of all adult content, which the legislation considers universally “harmful to minors.”


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