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Boomers: the luckiest generation that ever lived It's hard not to pity those born around the millennium

Baby boomer Austin Powers in Swinging London before his later career as a Brexit campaigner

Baby boomer Austin Powers in Swinging London before his later career as a Brexit campaigner


September 10, 2021   7 mins

“Never trust anyone over 30” was a sentiment first voiced by a Berkeley activist in 1964, sentiments echoed the following year with The Who hit “My Generation”, with its famous line “Hope I die before I get old”.

The modern world’s cultural divide dates to the Sixties, a sort of second Reformation that was to start with a generational conflict between a cohort raised in sacrifice and patriotism, and one that wanted to change the world with peace and love. And shagging, obviously.

As it transpired, only the Who’s drummer Keith Moon died before reaching middle age, while lead singer Roger Daltrey would go onto become a prominent supporter of Brexit, the biggest generation-dividing issue in British political history.

It’s fitting, for an age cohort which first popularised generational warfare has gone onto become its biggest punchbags. Today the “Boomers” are the subject of intense rage among their impoverished descendants; although just as Henry Kissinger famously said that the Battle of the Sexes can never be won because there is too much fraternisation, so too with generational jihad.

Still, Britain’s twenty-somethings have just spent a year under house arrest, losing money and, even worse, one of their best quality of life years (it doesn’t get better, I’m afraid). This was ostensibly in order to protect that most beloved of baby boomers, the NHS, but in reality the generation most vulnerable to Covid and who account for the majority of NHS spending — those born before 1960. Now they are being asked to put their hands in their pocket once again to help pay for the elderly care of the luckiest generation in history.

Britain might not have leaders as old as America’s but it’s arguably more of a gerontocracy. When in 2017 Theresa May suggested that people’s assets might be needed to fund their increasingly expensive care needs, the proposal, dubbed the “dementia tax”, helped destroy her electoral prospects. Her successor Boris Johnson will not make the same mistake, and so the money to pay for care will instead come from a new, additional form of National Insurance, paid by taxpayers across all age ranges — including the 89% of young people who have no housing assets.

The Tories seemingly have no choice. While British politics has gone through a great realignment since 2016, with political loyalties now based on values rather than economic views, it’s also about home ownership, car use, rural v urban — but most of all age. This latter divide is not only unprecedented in British political history, but is far more pronounced than the age divide among our neighbours; indeed, in France and Italy the young vote more for radical Right parties than the old.

It is most of all in Britain where there has grown a great divide between the Sixties generation and their descendants. It is here where the governing party serves the interest of older voters so devotedly, without any real consideration about what happens next. But then it’s fitting for a generation which never thought about posterity.

“Baby boomer” is an Americanism, first used to denote the enormous rise in fertility that took place in that country from 1945-1960, a result of the unprecedented prosperity of post-war America, and the sexual conservatism that followed the conflict. Britain had a slightly different experience, with a relatively small baby-boom in the late 40s and a later surge that peaked in 1965, five years later than the States (the latter cohort, sometimes referred to as Britpoppers, also have outsize generational weight).

Whatever we call them, those born in the late 1940s or 50s have been blessed with a freakish level of good fortune, something that my generation could never hope to enjoy. As for the group younger than me — doomed to perpetual exclusion from the London housing market, a Black Mirror-style dystopia where everything they do remains on record, and a brutally unequal dating market that resembles the world of Steppes warlords — the idea of paying more tax to ensure that the luckiest generation in history has a smoother exit must be infuriating.

The blessed generation didn’t have it easy to start with. Around 3 in 100 children born in 1950 died before their fifth birthday, compared to about 1 in 100 when I first appeared in 1978 and around 1 in 250 today. (But for the baby-boomers’ parents, 1 in 10 didn’t make it.) Absolute poverty would have been by today’s standards dreadful, with half of all household’s lacking even a bath. Today’s lucky “Zoomers” can of course expect to have a shower in their first flat-share, even if it might be en suite in the kitchen.

Growing up in the 1950s, things like flu and pneumonia would still have been a serious threat, and I imagine that a great deal of generational attitudes towards Covid risk were informed by this relative life experience; the Asian Flu of that decade was far more dangerous to teenagers than Covid, but no restrictions were ever really considered.

But if you survived those early years, you were officially part of the luckiest generation in history – especially since we tend to compare our lives with our parents, and their mums and dads had a terrible time.

Assuming you were born after May 1946 at the latest, you would have avoided losing a father in the war. You would have dodged National Service, abolished in 1960, and so unlike your American counterparts had no fear of being sent to Vietnam.

Your childhood would have coincided with the least violent years in British history, and crime would not reach its catastrophic modern levels until you were out of adolescence (and so most at risk of street violence). Muggings, a ubiquitous misery for the next generation raised in London, would have been unknown to you; indeed, this Americanism was not even popularised until you were already grown-up.

You would have been the last free-range children, able to walk a huge amount on your own, partly because there was far less fear of crime, although much of our urban fabric had already been surrendered to cars and your chance of being killed by one was high.

You might have gone on an extended hippy trail, visiting Iran, Afghanistan and a wider Islamic world that has become increasingly dangerous for subsequent generations (although eastern Europe was largely out of bounds). You would have enjoyed the great satire boom, and the decline of cultural restrictions, before the arrival of their newer — and in many ways more intolerant — replacements.

You would have come of age at the most perfect time in history to be young; although the sexual revolution in reality started a fair bit earlier than the 1960s, it certainly accelerated with the use of birth control and more permissive attitudes. This coincided with a uniquely creative period in music, led by the greatest band of all time.

Penicillin had become widely available during the Second World War, and the first cases of HIV would not be noticed until the late 1970s, so you would have enjoyed a unique period with no real fear of sexually transmitted disease. When I was growing up in the 1980s the Government was busy bombarding us with terrifying adverts featuring tombstones, warning us that if we so much as unzipped our trousers we’d end up with an incurable wasting disease. As it turned out, the risk to heterosexuals from HIV was low, but the same was not true of chlamydia, and today one in 20 young people in some parts of London have the illness.

But then, inevitably, the downsides of the sexual revolution weren’t going to affect those directly involved in it, but rather their children and grandchildren. It was a Ponzi scheme as much as the welfare system serving the baby boomers is a Ponzi scheme, with later generations being left with the bill; already Generation X and Millennials have worse health than their parents, partly due to far greater drug and alcohol use that came about following the Sixties. Similarly, the decline of marriage and the nuclear family only hit Britain in the 1980s, the actual 1960s generation largely unaffected.

As a young baby boomer you probably didn’t go to university, but then you would have lived in cheap, central accommodation surrounded by lots of other young people with opportunities for fun, and complete independence; effectively the sort of setting universities try to recreate today, because it is otherwise unavailable.

A modern-day time traveller visiting Austin Power’s Swinging Sixties, as seen in the 2017 documentary My Generation, would have been startled by how young it felt. Not only was London youthful, but so were its desirable areas. Today the most noticeable thing about high-end London districts like Chelsea or Highgate is the ancientness; few young families can live there, let alone people in their 20s. This is, of course, relates to the real issue at the heart of the generational divide: the catastrophe of housing costs, which means even far less salubrious parts of London are unaffordable.

It was long assumed that rising house prices were a healthy sign, the tabloid obsession with the subject being a running joke. Not enough people cared that it was a bubble, and that with all bubbles it would eventually become too expensive for new players to join. Few pointed out that we should have been saving instead. No one observed that during that remarkable period of growth, late 19thcentury Britain, house prices actually declined. Victorians wouldn’t have tolerated runaway housing costs because they cared about posterity.

Housing inflation is one reason that the percentage of millionaire-pensioners has risen from from 7% in 2008 to 25% in 2018. It’s why, when the baby boomers were young, the average pensioner was much, much poorer than the population while today there are more pensioners in the top fifth than bottom. They have enjoyed immense asset wealth, never to be repeated.

It is not their fault as individuals that the housing bubble coincided with the lifetime of the generation that had everything. But it’s unfortunate for those that follow, and unfortunate for the Tory Party which, being dependent on the support of homeowners, has therefore increasingly come to rely on older voters as a voting block.

I wouldn’t say those born around the millennium are the unluckiest of people – 1895 would have been a bummer. But, growing up after the financial crisis and austerity, and with house prices still increasing 10% per year, it must seem hopeless at times. It is especially frustrating for younger voters who align with the Tories on cultural or economic issues and dread a Labour government, yet see a party entirely devoted towards serving the luckiest generation.

Boomers, the group that got to enjoy the Beatles and the Stones, Hair, the Isle of Wight Festival and the hippy trail, have grown old to become synonymous with an aimless and short-term vision of conservatism, locked in a deathly embrace with the Tory Party, the last chapter in the incredible story of a truly lucky group of people.


Ed West’s book Tory Boy is published by Constable

edwest

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Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago

The fifteen year UK baby boom (1950-1965) increased the population by 4 million people. The five years from 2006-2011 also saw the population grow by 4 million – due to immigration.

Between 1950 and 2000 the population grew by 2m per decade and the average house cost 3 times the average salary. Since 2000 population has grown by 5m a decade and the average house costs 10 times the average salary. In the South East of England where population growth has been highest it is almost 20 times average salary.

It is mass immigration (particularly since the early 2000s) that has stopped Zoomers getting onto the property ladder. Not the rapacity of their parents.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

However the tools are there to fix the situation. Post-Brexit immigration controls can return population growth to its pre-2000 average and the Post-Covid remote working revolution means that young people have the option to move to lower cost areas to buy property and raise families.

Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

What about the argument that politicians use to support immigration – we don’t have enough young people to do the available jobs and also they don’t have the skills? Apparently those coming across the Channel are just what the politicians want.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

It is a seductive argument to bring in ready-made workers from abroad at lower rates but it fails to count the other costs: inflation in house prices, longer waiting lists at the GPs, fewer places available in your local primary school and so on. The problem is worse if they are low-paid workers because they never become net tax contributors. It also depresses the wage rates existing workers receive.
Additionally it has a deleterious impact on the imported worker’s homeland – lots of Eastern Europe have been decimated by their brightest and best leaving for London and Berlin.
I think we are now seeing the UK economy adjust to life without unlimited cheap labour from the EU and there will be some trade-offs. But when you add in the hidden costs, I think it is the right move.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I agree, and of course if our best people move abroad we don’t like it, but politicians think nothing of depriving poorer countries of their best people.

Richard Gasson
RG
Richard Gasson
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I have always thought about this in regards to the sainted NHS. We are often told that it can only function if we syphon off the doctors and nurses of poorer countries, and we are expected to think that this is a good thing. Personally I have never understood how that can be. Surely depriving poorer countries of their essential workers is a despicable act.

jill dowling
JD
jill dowling
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Gasson

The BMA wanted to keep the medical profession “elite” so limited the training of doctors in this country. Nurses trained here need degrees. So now we recruit from abroad. Reap what you sow.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  jill dowling

That’s a good point. The authorities are suddenly able to streamline and staff up the testing of an extra 50,000 HGV drivers a year. Obviously they have been resting on their laurels for years, not examining the status quo and filling the gap with foreign drivers.

Hopefully the same can be done in the other training-intensive professions, like healthcare. And where we don’t have enough people, automation and capital investment should be considered before adding a job to the Shortage Occupations list.

Leon Wivlow
JT
Leon Wivlow
2 years ago
Reply to  jill dowling

Addenbrookes ran a very successful nurse training programme. They took on mainly older ladies, UK nationals, who had grown up children and were looking for a second career. It was immensly successful and they have managed to retain c. 95% of those they trained.

Frederick B
FD
Frederick B
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

”…..but politicians think nothing of depriving poorer countries of their best people.” They boast of it! “We want the brightest and the best to come here”. When what they should be doing is training our own youngsters in all skilled trades.

Ray Hall
RH
Ray Hall
2 years ago
Reply to  Frederick B

Please do not mention this . At all . Reason – some idiot politician /lecturer/ activist/ will then suggest that we help poorer countries by importing their worst people …………
Your discretion is appreciated.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ray Hall
Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Post WW2 vast numbers of craftsmen, foremen, technicians, scientists and engineers moved oversease because of better pay, lower taxes and less strikes caused by shop stewards in the un and semi skilled unions.
Quality is what counts, not quantity.
Post WW2, vast number of high;y skilled German speakers migrated to Germany from foreign countries.

Keith Merrick
KM
Keith Merrick
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I think, rather than adjust to life without cheap labour, we will get that labour exclusively from non-EU countries rather than both EU and non-EU countries as we did before. For those people who voted for Brexit and whose main concern was the erosion of their traditional way of life, things may turn out worse than if we had stayed in the EU (assuming Germans, Spaniards and Poles are more like us than Pakistanis, Somalis and Bangladeshis).

Last edited 2 years ago by Keith Merrick
Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

I hope you are wrong Keith.

The main difference is that we couldn’t stop unlimited immigration from the EU no matter how we voted. Now we have total control over our borders. If our politicians don’t use these controls they will suffer at the ballot box. In other words, leaving the EU was a necessary but not sufficient step towards curbing mass immigration.

Kathleen Stern
KS
Kathleen Stern
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I’ve visited several African countries and some Islamic countries- often they are only educated to primary schools level so it’s hard to see what benefits they give to an advanced country. Many are here to get benefits that working people pay for.

Judy Johnson
JJ
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I think those born during the second half of the ’40s are also boomers; they certainly fit many of the criteria outlined in this article.

Jon Redman
HJ
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I am always quite irritated at 1965 births being classed as “boomer”, partly because it’s leftist hate speech, partly because it includes a lot of people who enjoyed none of the economic advantages that “boomers” at the other end of this year of birth range did. If you were born just after the boom in that way, you’re as badly off as someone born ten years later.
In the UK, for example, someone born in 1965 would have left university in 1987 and bought into housing that had already been bid up into a bubble by older “boomers” which went pop after two years. They’d then have been in negative equity until about 1998 and probably on an inescapable mortgage rate fix at about 12% or 14%. A so-called “boomer” of 1965 did not start to accumulate any of this fabulous property wealth until the age of 35. They’d then have continued to compete to trade up in the same way as younger generations do. A “boomer” born in 1950, or someone born in 1970, would either have had a huge cushion of equity to fall back on 1990 or would never have bought so inopportunely to begin.
The 1950s cohort also still have final salary pension schemes. If you were born in 1965 and worked for any of those firms whose schemes were open to employees aged 35 or more, these schemes were largely gone before you were eligible.
The whole “boomer” thing is got up by the left as a means of fomenting hatred against a demographic it would like to expropriate. The first step is to dehumanise the target. Ed could have written a better article had he stopped to reflect that he has just written something with which that little creep Owen Jones would agree.

Glyn Reed
GR
Glyn Reed
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

“The 1950s cohort also still have final salary pension schemes.”
Really? News to me! Seems you don’t mind corralling some people into a group that can be generally despised so long as it doesn’t include you.
The problem is certain middle class ‘boomers’ (to use that derogatory term) were saturated in guilt and, held aloft by their own fragrant arrogance, decided to trash the inheritance that had been all too easily handed over to them, turn on the lumpen proles of the white working classes, who were getting a little too demanding and initiate a scheme by which their voices would be so diluted no one would be forced to listen. Tony Blair was their hero.
Tony Blair embodied the easy come, easy go attitude of those for whom it had all come far too easy. He championed the expansion of the rapacious consumer economy, that acted like steroids fuelling the rapid, growth of globalism and of corporate capitalism. Needing more workers and spenders, he hit on the idea of mass immigration and the gap between rich and poor widened to a chasm as virtually all class mobility ground to a halt.
This acceptable animosity directed at an entire generation of ‘boomers’ as the perfect repository of resentment and blame is just as bereft of morality and reason as aiming blame it all at immigrants. It kind of reminds me of the hatred and blame directed at the jewish people in Germany in 30s Germany. They too had had it all far too easy for the liking of the national socialists.

Last edited 2 years ago by Glyn Reed
Jim Cox
JC
Jim Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Well put.

Dawn McD
DM
Dawn McD
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I too have always been annoyed by being classified (and villified, of course) as a Boomer, which in the U.S. was supposedly 1946-1964. I come from the very tail end of that range, and there is simply no way my life has resembled that of someone born in the late 40s or early 50s. My actual lived experience is more that of Gen X, as is that of my step-daughter, who is supposedly a Millennial but also feels improperly categorized.
All of this assumes that we cooperate with being categorized anyway. How was I to understand that I grew up in a time of “unprecedented post-war prosperity?” If I had had anyone in my life point that out to me, and if I had known how much the world was going to crumble and the carriage turn into a pumpkin, I would have done things differently. Of course hindsight is a fun tool with which to pass judgement on an entire “generation” of people, who had to live their lives without the gifts of grand historical perspective or a crystal ball.

JR Stoker
JS
JR Stoker
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

There is a danger of confusing house price multiples with affordability. The reason that mortgages used to be 3 times salaries and now are 5 or 6 times (in most areas) is that interest rates have fallen to less than 25% of what they were 30 years ago. (An increase in rates to over 5% base rate would be a disaster, agreed).

Also the mortgage market is now properly competitive, not based on introduction and employers reference, so the lenders are more efficient and competitive, and can take better informed risks; and lend bigger amounts.

Oh, and double income households also push affordability up, and thus mortgage amounts, and thus prices.

Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Cheap money is probably the next crisis for home owners.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

A scary thought!

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

House prices are less affordable by almost any measure. Saving a 20% deposit at the average house price is now the equivalent of two years take home pay, and even at record lows the repayments on the larger mortgages eat up a higher percentage of wages than when interest rates peaked in the 80’s. Back then you also had double digit inflation that effective paid a third of the debt for you within a few years, something that doesn’t happen now

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Yes i was oversimplifying the problem a bit. Other factors – cheap credit, easy access mortgages – all have an impact and bring their own risks too. But I think doubling the speed of population growth is the most significant factor in the the rise in house prices. I also don’t think the population growth figures capture the real picture as seen when the 3m EU citizens supposedly living in Britain suddenly becoming 6m when they need to apply for Leave to Remain. I suspect the true number of people living in the country (and needing somewhere to live) is in excess of 70m.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I remember in the 80s in South Africa interest rates went over 20%. I speculated and had fixed my mortgage at 14% when I bought my first home and that helped me hugely.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Pre 1970 one had to save with a building society for 5 years, pay 10 % deposit and it was 3 to 4.5 x of husband’s salary only.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I think most youngsters would much rather that than the current situation personally

Jon Redman
HJ
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Don’t forget also that until 1988 a wife’s earnings were a line item on her husband’s tax return, she had no personal allowance (he had a larger one instead), and her earnings were taxed at his marginal rate. So under Labour the wife of a higher earner paid 83% on her entire salary. For many women this meant it cost them, net, to go out to work; so they didn’t, which hid unemployment nicely and pleased trade union leaders.
Building societies duly devised the lending formula of 3x main salary or 2.5x main plus 1x second salary. The lower credit extended to the second salary was because most of it was taxed away as outlined above. So it was of demonstrably less value in servicing mortgage than the main salary.
This did not change until 1988, when Lawson sorted it to Labour’s rage. Lenders then moved to 3x joint salary and as rates have fallen they moved to 4x, 5x and even 6x.
In headline price terms, houses do look very expensive, but in affordability terms, i.e. percentage of household income consumed by serving a 0.99% mortgage, they are – while more expensive – nothing like as inflated.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

And why did we have mass immigration, to protect the pensions of boomers.
They are truly the most despicable generation. The seized power from the hands of the 2 previous generations whose confidence and moral assuredness had been thoroughly undermined by 2 world wars, and they clung to it assiduously for the next 50 years abusing the system and mortgaging the future of the country to amass wealth and privilege to themselves.
They have no shame or guilt and little or no care about the damage they have inflicted on future generations or the country as a whole. There main concern is to fight tooth and nail to protect the wealth and privilege they so richly do not deserve.
Growing up I had a ringside seat from which to watch the hedonism, selfishness sloth and dishonesty of my parents generation, which they paraded as virtue, and to contrast it with the basic decency, moral courage and selflessness of my grandparents’ generation which the boomers derided.
I have put this to my parents so they know where I stand.

Caroline Watson
CW
Caroline Watson
2 years ago

I hope they disinherit you and enjoy spending all their money. I would.

Everett Maddox
EM
Everett Maddox
2 years ago

Some of us started in poverty, worked our ass off and raised disciplined children who are more successful financially. We are still taxed and watch as multitudes take all the free stuff they can…and I mean able bodied young who would work. No sympathy for this putz who wants to let his parents know where he stands.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

You see that is the point. My parents squandered not only what they has built up as a result of a rigged system but also what they inherited from their own parents. I on the other hand work like a dog to make sure there will be something for my children

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I think you’re being overtly hateful but there is a kernel of truth in what you are saying. The Boomers didn’t fight the war or go through the Depression, the economic boom of the 50s led to the nihilistic hedonism and ‘individualism’ of the 60s, seeking to find an enemy of their own to fight and deciding to attack their own country instead of Germany or Japan or Russia or Vietnam, preaching about fighting ‘the man’ with all the idealism of youth, in an environment of easy prosperity that was also easy to take for granted, then eventually becoming ‘the man’ and now are the ones whose legacy has led to what we have now. All rights and no responsibilities, all wanting to be heard not no-one actually listening and a secular cult of woke which has replaced the traditional forms of religion the Boomers rejected – complete with heresies, sinners and witch burnings, but without the capacity for redemption and forgiveness. The wheel has turned full circle.

Glyn Reed
GR
Glyn Reed
2 years ago

And so by watching your parents you decide to condemn an entire generation? There is a word for people like you.

Jim Cox
JC
Jim Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

Please tell us the word. Nice post.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Reed

I think I said by watching my parents generation

Dawn McD
DM
Dawn McD
2 years ago

Which means you still don’t get it.

Wilfred Davis
WD
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago

‘They seized power from the hands of the the 2 previous generations’?

Was there a coup that I missed?

Alka Hughes-Hallett
AH
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago

I have upvoted you. I agree with you about the general selfishness of the boomers generation wrt many aspects . I am 56 and I am sad that I might almost be a part of the problem. I do think the boomers started living carelessly and forgot the pains of the past generation . They have passed the problems on to their children the millennials.
But mostly I am struck by the continuing selfishness. The boomers are taking no responsibility for their actions. Mostly they are silent as the young will struggle to find solutions to the problems they created. Where is the responsible behaviour? For example – the Covid controls will leave our children scarred – why are they not up in arms about it? Most are complacent and quietly accepting of such unjust behaviour . And look at the shape of the population. Is health a personal or state responsibility first and foremost ? Who is responsible for the state of earth with its climate change? The boomers don’t care, they will be gone, our children will have to find the solutions. What is your legacy? You are leaving our children with mental health problems and bar has been set for very low moral standards .
I am trying to think out of the mould and take responsibility. I wish the boomers could rise up from their couches and do something … anything to set some examples that will serve the youngsters well.

Last edited 2 years ago by Alka Hughes-Hallett
Julia Wallis-Martin
JW
Julia Wallis-Martin
2 years ago

Re: ‘… The boomers are taking no responsibility for their actions’.

What actions?

I know plenty of ‘Boomers’ who didn’t inherit property. Many of them worked from the age of 16 in poorly paid jobs. Some, especially women whose marriage broke down, couldn’t get a foot on the property ladder. Most couldn’t afford it. Those who could needed three male guarantors until as recently as the mid 1960s. Their pension barely lifts them out of poverty and has twice been delayed on the grounds of equality despite that they didn’t receive equal pay during their working lives. Furthermore, to hold ‘Boomers’ responsible for climate change is beyond ludicrous. Boomers never even heard the subject raised as a cause for concern until the past few years. What, exactly, do you expect them to do about it? Try directing your ire at politicians ‘bought’ by Big Business.

Julia Wallis-Martin
JW
Julia Wallis-Martin
2 years ago

Spoilt brat.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Excellent point but did you really think anyone would want to acknowledge that uncomfortable fact when they can just blame their grandparents?

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

I get to tell my Boomer tale then. During the 60 – 70s I ran the streets of London and other cities alone as a kid / young man like a feral animal. Mid 70s to mid 90s I lived as a poor drifter getting to a lot of places and accomplishing nothing and staying broke. After 40, where I turned 40 living alone in the remote Far North Bush and owned a Pickup truck and dog as my only real asset, I knew I had to grow up.

So I moved to the city and worked 80+ hours a week (2 full time jobs and some extra too, , 1 full time self employed job, and one one actual full time employed job) for 5.5 years. In that time I spent nothing on anything for myself but absolute necessities, as sleep was my whole life after work.

I made a whole lot of money as I also was investing and times for that were also great.

At 46 I had a substantial bit of money, and hit the road till 51 (I still had most of my savings left), then stopped drifting and began construction full time again – for about 10 years, and now am comfortable.

Can one no longer do that? Work 80+ hours a week for a few years and get a load of money? I made pretty good money – in construction, and it is amazing how money streams in if you keep 2 full time jobs for over 5 years as you spend nothing.

But I wonder if this is not kind of Boomer mentality. Self reliant, which has now been taken out of people, and fear and neediness and dependency and softness, and entitlement, replaced it. I think Boomers were the last rugged generation maybe.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Do you not think that shows the difference between then and what the youngsters face now? Despite only being properly employed for around 20% of the time between the ages 16 and 46 (albeit long hours) and having no formal qualifications, you were able to set yourself up comfortably. There are millennials now nudging 40 who have been pulling in 50 hour weeks since they left university who are still handing over half a weeks wages in rent with no hope of buying a family home. Many have horrendous student loans because if didn’t (trades excepted) they’d be on little more than minimum wage with little hope of progression

Last edited 2 years ago by Billy Bob
Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Student loans are the most terrible thing. They make young educated have such huge burden they have to put off marriage and home ownership when they should be doing just that – Society NEEDS the young, educated, achievers, to be having children in stable homes and marriages – to be raised up to keep the chain going. Student loans are one of societies most destructive false economies.

But for working – I always worked as I drifted around, just not much, and mostly minimum wage kind of casual work, a lot of fruit picking jobs kind of thing – which as you say, was not real employment.

But the thing is those decades of 40, 50 hour weeks – if you spend it they are dead end. That was the magic of 80+ hours. After you paid all expenses it was all $$$ savings. It was well more than a year $ saved every year. I had been married for a long time, mostly when I hit the road in really rough ways my wife stayed in the city in a cheap rental and did her work, also saving nothing though as she did stuff instead of working a lot. That meant when I hit the 80+ hour a week she paid all the bills, did my laundry, took care of the dog, paid the truck insurance and so on – shopped, whatever – I worked 7 days a week, usually 12 hours. (One stretch I worked 8 1/2 months of 13 hour days Without one day off – I started to go a bit crazy, it was hard and rough work (that was how long my actual job shift was, and that meant 5 hours of each shift was time and a half – And we often did 13 hour days for months on end – we did factory wiring, so when on a job worked till it was done, and that meant time and a half over 40 hours!.)

See, that was the thing, how you bring in this huge amount, spend Nothing – which went right into a very good investment pot, and grew more. You give up years, and it is ROUGH, but it can set you up for life. (Also I knew nothing of wiring, but hired on as I was right out of the bush and was hard as iron, and as all we did was above ground I had the fitness to always be doing climbing work – I soon learned it, and was crew leader in under a year.) Self employed I did trades as residential repair, I was not great at them, but again very soon figured them out – I had a skilled, retired, old time guy who I hired to help me and he knew everything about every trade, that is how I became a proper ‘skilled tradesman’.

Not saying most would get the chance to get trades work which had big potential for hours – but if someone Really wanted to work 12 hours a day for 5 years – there are ways. Like work full time and drive uber every other hour, or something like it. The difference of 40 hours and getting no where, and 80 hours, and saving over a years income per year is BIG. You said it takes 2 years of take home to get a deposit – well there you are, done in 2 years of 80 hours. Then another 3.5 of 80 hrs, and you buy the house in cash. I left my 5.5 years with enough to buy a typical London house for cash.

The down side is it is mentally super hard – it uses you up, to keep driving yourself so hard – my work was very unpleasant, so I had to drive myself and drive myself, but you get to see the $$ growing every week – and then the reason for your misery makes sense, and watching the $$$$ keeps you going as you see so clearly you are doing something REAL, and I was always extra Macho – and I also liked the fact I was tougher than the normal person could be – and could take it…and it turned my life around as the thought of old age poverty was a horrible thought.

A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It’s a really interesting question.
As a millenial slightly to the older end of the spectrum, I am always astounded at the number of people my age (but especially those younger) who get as far as university not having had a proper job.
Credit to my (boomer) parents rather than myself for instilling the will to work in me, I have been in paid work in some form or other since I was 12/13 – even if it’s just holiday work helping a local handyman for some cash or potwashing etc. So few of my peers, and even fewer of those younger did the same.
However the barriers to them getting jobs are much much higher than before. Fewer employers will take on children nowadays, and industries that used to provide ample jobs for unexperienced and unskilled people have been saturated for years with workers from the EU (and elsewhere).
Anecdotally I had no difficulties finding work in holidays in 2002-3 in bars, restaurants, cafes etc. Come 2004 and the admission of many eastern European countries into the EU and finding a job took weeks – often resulting only getting employed at the end of the holiday. One or two holidays, it was impossible in the time frame to find a job before going back to college/uni. It only got worse for those younger than me.
When it came to getting a more meaningful job after education, I was fortunate to be able to put something down on my CV. Unlike many nowadays, and not entirely their fault at all.

Then to go to construction like yourself – in the EU especially the wages and rates have been completely blindsided with cheap labour for 15+ years now. I am sure there is a similar effect in the US.
This is not to blame Eastern Europeans or others – I have always worked alongside them my entire life, and most have a work ethic that beats ours hands down. But it’s fair judgement of the negative impact that immigration has had on our native workforce at all levels.

Last edited 2 years ago by A Spetzari
Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I spent 1979 working in the UK and I was always employed when I wanted to (even though I was working illegally as I came from a country that was frowned upon). Employers preferred the South African work ethic.

A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
2 years ago

Yes my experience of your compatriots is the same. I enjoy their directness too.
That said, anyone from anywhere with the gumption to leave their home country and seek hard work in another is already going to be a very different sort of person than average in terms of drive and effort.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Good point. I would imagine in the main that is true, but not completely unfortunately.

Riccardo Tomlinson
RT
Riccardo Tomlinson
2 years ago

I think they still do Lesley. My friend’s teenager had done well at the local gastro pub and doing a lot of double shifts. When he was 18 he was looking forward to working behind the bar. He was then told they had taken on two South Africans so they would have the plum jobs, and Harvey was back on the washing up for his double shifts.

People venerate South Africans in this country, and it’s not hard to see why. You walked in believing you had a right to the job because of your superior South African work ethic. Yes you work hard so many Brits do the same. You just think you’re better and hey presto it works.

A doctor friend of mine from South Africa said that all the South Africans he knew in the UK had done well are we’re instantly well thought of. He puts it down to self confidence. He said the Brits he works with were better trained and had more experience at a younger age. They just didn’t think as much of themselves.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

I hadn’t thought of that and I certainly wasn’t super confident starting out, but I definitely became more confident in the UK.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago

I have always found South Africans to be great workers too. Creative, down to earth and hard working. Not met any younger ones so don’t know if you are still turning them out.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

That is true. For most of the 60s, 70s and 80s, the second (Communist) and third worlds, even as their populations boomed enormously, had little impact on the First. Now they compete directly, and win. I’m not even talking about immigrants.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I’ve often wondered what happened to the rite of passage us Gen Xers went through which was, paper round, Saturday job, fruit picking in the holidays etc.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Most aren’t interested in taking on youngsters temporarily unfortunately, they’ve become accustomed to cheap labour so they’ve had no need to train the young

Keith Jefferson
KJ
Keith Jefferson
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

It’s not necessarily due to laziness – employment regulations and the need to get criminal record checks for any staff that might be working with or alongside youngsters make it onerous to employ those under 18

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Credentialism, among other things, has made such a life all but impossible for today’s young ones.
And without credentials, trade qualifications or degree/diploma, I had a similarly adventurous life to Sanford while also managing to have marriage, mortgage and family.

Last edited 2 years ago by Brendan O'Leary
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

The University boom was a massive con for the youngsters. They got themselves into horrendous debt and rather than earning the graduate premium they were promised, all it did was inflate the entry requirements for bog standard entry level jobs that used to offer on the job training

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

So why don’t they push back? Instead during this lockdown we have witnessed the 20 somethings ‘sit back’ and not push back as they have seen their futures go down the drain. It was a golden opportunity for expression. They seem to be more concerned with pronouns and ‘social justice’ which we all know isn’t social justice.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Easy pickings. Fighting for work and rights and actual change is hard. Putting a black square on your profile page and using cardboard straws, is not.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
AH
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago

If the boomers ( who form the government, the academia, parents, grandparents, basically the group that is making the decisions ) it’s hard for even millennials let alone the younger generations to push back. It’s too soon and we are all dazed by how the free world has succumbed to lockdowns and passports tyranny. But when the push back comes, it may be as retribution. I don’t know how young minds compile and form their thinking but if meant all health is any thing of the scale we fear it might be, it might take the form of anger, hatred …. As I look at my own adult young children, I have to tread carefully. I cannot ground them, threaten them , coerce them, that may take a turn for the worse both for them and me. I can talk to them, understand them, encourage them and allow them space & freedom to think …even if differently to me.
The way I see it is that if I put seeds in the ground and nurture the trees, i might get fruit but if I trample them or don’t water the plants in time the chances reduce.
That’s what the boomers don’t get. Our future generations are being compromised and we want to avoid unforeseen consequences.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Logic tells me that most boomers are retired, so I did a quick UK google. The government and academia (professor’s) average age is about 51 – 55 respectively, which is Gen X. The average age of tenure at a university is 39, which is Millennials. You are carping at the wrong grouping.
However, regardless of groupings controlling the narrative, the youth must get off their phones and off their butts.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
AH
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago

Ok I may know have the correct jargon for each grouping but I do consider my generation part of the problem. I am 56.
And why should the youth get off their phones? Isn’t that the wonderful invention that creates social and work opportunities now?

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Logic also tells me that if you are looking for social and work opportunities 24/7, you won’t have time to actually work.

Terence Fitch
TF
Terence Fitch
2 years ago

Too busy playing computer games…

Caroline Watson
CW
Caroline Watson
2 years ago

So what about the boomers who were relegated to secondary moderns at eleven; who weren’t allowed to sit exams and had to leave school at fifteen; who went down the pit or into a factory until the 80s closed them down? They’re the luckiest generation are they? A 70 year old former miner, sitting in a former pit house that he can’t sell, in a village full of junkies and criminals, coughing his guts up with pneumoconiosis; is he lucky? His 63 year old wife, still working as a carer on a zero hours contract and the minimum wage because her state pension was suddenly delayed for six years. Is she lucky?
Only a small proportion of the boomer generation went to grammar schools and even fewer into higher education. Most are like the people above; struggling and grieving for their industries, their villages, their communities and the certainties of working class life as it used to be. Nothing lucky about it.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

All those people would have got on the property ladder and been able to raise families on a single income, something that is out of reach for many graduates now let alone factory workers, labourers or lads working down the pits if they were still open

Caroline Watson
CW
Caroline Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

All adults should work to support themselves and their children. Women should not have an easy ride just because they once gave birth. Every woman who lives off a man undermines the rights of women who have more pride than to prostitute themselves in that way. And those people did not ‘get on the property ladder’. They bought their pit houses when the NCB sold them off and now can’t sell them because they are worthless; no one wants to live in former pit villages full of junkies and rat infested derelict buildings. That’s not a ladder; it’s a massive snake.

Dave Corby
DC
Dave Corby
2 years ago

Seriously? A wife who stays at home to look after their children “prostitutes herself” ?

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

A housewife is a prostitute? That’s a new one on me. But you miss my point, everybody I know of that age bracket has been on the property ladder at some point i their lives even if some have fallen off through illness or divorce. Irrespective of what they did for a living, good or bad work ethic, good or bad with money etc every one of them was able to buy a family home, often on a single income near family and friends. That simply isn’t possible now for large numbers of youngsters

Christian Moon
CM
Christian Moon
2 years ago

Women should not have an easy ride unless they (more than) once gave birth.
FTFY

Judy Johnson
JJ
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

Some women like to look after their children on a full time basis; being able to afford that is sometimes seen as a privilege.

Hilary Easton
HE
Hilary Easton
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s pros and cons then, not all one way, surely?

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Technology is cheaper, so the things you’ll buy once a decade such as appliances and tellys are cheaper, and it’s now just as cheap to holiday abroad as it is to holiday domestically, however I’m not sure that offsets the fact the things the young pay every week such as rent are much more expensive. It doesn’t make up for the fact large numbers are saddled with large student debts simply to avoid ending up working in an Amazon sweatshop, or can’t afford a family home, on average working longer hours and saving a higher proportion of their wages than their predecessors

Last edited 2 years ago by Billy Bob
Claire D
CD
Claire D
2 years ago

Well said. (I mean your first comment, definitely NOT your second comment)

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Julia Wallis-Martin
JW
Julia Wallis-Martin
2 years ago

I couldn’t agree with you more.

GA Woolley
GA
GA Woolley
2 years ago

What a seriously unaware article, summed up by ‘Muggings, a ubiquitous misery for the next generation raised in London, would have been unknown to you;’ And why was that? Because, like all the other misfortunes which apparently fell out of the sky to afflict later generations, the ‘Boomers’ didn’t go in for muggings. Later generations did. And for STDs, drug use, obesity, self-indulgent but otherwise worthless university degrees, and measures which drove up property prices – women entering the job market so mortgages could be based on 2 salaries, women wanting their own homes and independence, and mass immigration. The Boomers were the last generation to balance rights with responsibilities, before the dependency culture reduced current generations, or at least those who claim to speak for them, to whingeing poor little me’s.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  GA Woolley

The Boomers were also the generation that began the divorce boom, and brought us modern feminism (so women then doubled the work force and its spending capacity, therefore competition for houses). Boomers were hedonists, individualists, they voted for Thatcher, they went to work in the City as yuppies, they were ‘upwardly mobile’. Boomers rode the easy wave of the post war economic expansion and globalisation and thought they earned it.

Neil MacInnes
NM
Neil MacInnes
2 years ago

Make them sell their assets to pay for their health care or care home. It’s only their children’s inheritance after all.
Not mentioned in this article – the boomers are also the first generation who will leave, in large numbers, an inheritance to younger generations.
Nor does it mention that army of government employees who retire on an unfunded final salary pension scheme that sucks the life out of the taxation and National insurance systems.

William Murphy
WM
William Murphy
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil MacInnes

I am on a double bonus: inheritance from father in 2003 (father born 1915, bought first house in Cheltenham in 1950, next house in Reading for £2,750 in 1961.). Also on public sector pension and state pension. People like me can’t dump the burden on the under-60s.

I occasionally check out our old family house, 15 minutes walk from the Promenade, when I visit Cheltenham. No way that someone in my father’s job (painter and decorator) could dream of owning such a house today.

Last edited 2 years ago by William Murphy
Judy Johnson
JJ
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil MacInnes

The children’s inheritance is a privilege, not a right. Why should others pay with their earnings?

Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

There’s nothing like envy to bring out the worst in people as it does here. Also a completely biased article that assumes that all the country is like the wealthy southeast.
West is discussing the failure of socialism but does not want to admit it. I was born in 1944 into a poor family, but they knew that the education that they did not have was available to me and they encouraged me to take advantage of it. The wealth I now have didn’t just fall into my hands or others like me, it was due to hard work. Why do I have more assets than perhaps I should have? Because the socialist state has provided by taking from others and removing any need for me to take responsibility for myself. Today, essential needs are provided by the state allowing massive expenditure on trivia, which results in no assets being accumulated. The young complain on social media using mobile phones cost around £1000 and they think they are poor.
The other feature of socialism is that it encourages family breakup so there is more state dependency. The left wing media does its part by encouraging generational divide. I do not know any well off grandparents who are not supporting both their children and grandchildren.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

If you’re so desperate to avoid socialism, then wouldn’t helping the young get a start in life such as assistance to get a family home and writing off the ridiculous levels of student debt be a good place to start, as well as not expecting them to pay for the end of life care of a generation with considerable more wealth than themselves? You’ll no doubt bemoan the fact that large numbers of youngsters are leaning more heavily to the left, however the virtues of capitalism are largely invisible to a generation you’ve priced out of owning capital

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

This is supposedly about the UK, but only one city is mentioned – 7 times.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Boomers had the hippy trail – you had cheap flights, visa-free travel and Eastern Europe.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

So because their summer holiday is now cheaper, that makes up for the other 51 weeks of the year being much more difficult financially?

Last edited 2 years ago by Billy Bob
Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Very funny.
I’ve never met a post-boomer , Gen-X, Y, Z or Millennial who had less than 4 weeks leave a year, plus stag nights and hen parties abroad. Not to mention incredibly low interest rates and easy credit.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

So that’s it, because foreign holidays are cheaper and you get a bit more leave that makes up for the fact they can’t afford houses, have to take on horrendous levels of student debt just to avoid minimum wage dead end jobs, are paying record rents and on average working longer hours than their predecessors? And are now having to endure a tax rise to pay for the end of life care of a generation that have lived through unparalleled prosperity but failed to put any aside for a rainy day. The wealthiest generation on average expects the poorest to pay to look after them?

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Plenty of us boomers are still working and paying taxes, never expected the government care for us, and are, or have already been, caring for our aged parents.
Will you do the same for us? Obviously you don’t want to and that’s what this Boomer-hate rhetoric is all about.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

You’re right in that I do slightly resent doing so. This is simply because your generation has taken away every leg up you yourselves received from the silent generation to get a foothold in life, yet still expect to be looked after at the end of it. Council houses were sold to yourselves and hardly any more built. Infrastructure privatised and not maintained, leaving an upcoming time bomb that will need significant funds to fix in the near future. Further education is now ruinously expensive, while on the job training has all but disappeared. The pension for the silent generation was a disgrace, and it’s only started rising thanks to the triple lock when you yourselves started to hit retirement age. You’ve saved nothing at a national level for your end of life care despite sitting on a disproportionate amount of wealth, and now expect the young to fund it for you when many are already struggling.
Which policies did your generation bring in that would benefit either the preceding or subsequent ones at the expense of your own? What unselfish things have you done as a generation?

Last edited 2 years ago by Billy Bob
Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Rubbish. I personally and many of my colleagues did on the job training for others and because I could not afford university fees I trained on the job as well.

Jim Cox
JC
Jim Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I, born in 1951, am a baby boomer. I was an Army bandsman and my wife worked until our first child, whereupon I moonlighted as a piano technician. We never had a lot of money, but have been happy. While I do agree that the baby boomer generation has benefited from rising house prices, for our working lives we have had to pay a lot for housing and struggle to make ends meet.
Socialism does not work. Venezuela, Cuba, et altera show the end result of socialism. One of socialism’s favorite tricks is to set races, classes, and generations against each other.
The result, predictably, is bitterness, hatred, and war in the streets. What is needed is hearts to care and a willingness for us to help each other.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jim Cox

Hardcore socialism ends up the same way as hardcore capitalism, a wealthy powerful elite and impoverished masses. Most sensible economies try to find the sweet spot between the two

Christian Moon
CM
Christian Moon
2 years ago

Us fifty boomers fund the care and pensions of twenty from the previous generation. Our twenty children will then have to fund the care and pensions of us fifty boomers.
What could possibly go wrong?

Hosias Kermode
JH
Hosias Kermode
2 years ago

I always saw not having to sell your house to fund your care as primarily benefitting the generation coming after. It’s the one way they could get on the housing ladder provided, we gift our houses to them little by little so IHT doesn’t swallow up the inheritance.

Mel Shaw
MS
Mel Shaw
2 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Correct. When I’m dead It won’t hurt me if the local authority sells my house to claw back the money for my accumulated care costs. But it will deprive my kids of money for a deposit to buy their own.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Exactly. People miss that. A house is no good to you when you’re gone, but it’s a nice nest egg for your kids. All parents want to pay it forward – all my friends who have kids are on the mortgage / steady job treadmill ‘for their kids’.

Heidi M
HM
Heidi M
2 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

I agree that is a good and valuable thing to maintain an inheritance to pass on, but the reality is given life expectancy of the boomers, their children will be well into their 50s and 60s at least. Is an inheritance really of benefit at that point, when they are well past the time of having a stable house and income for a family is critical? I think grandchildren (probably more like great grandchildren really) can benefit, but it still leaves a problematic generation in between.

I don’t think that is the responsibility of the current boomers to solve per se, but it is a result of a lot of the policies and legislation they supported and enacted with little vision of the future, particularly in regard to the view of housing as a way to make money in the same way you make money on stocks, rather than as a basic necessity for stability and family. It will be interesting to see how the recent Canadian ban on foreign investment in homes will work out, as it does start to chop away at this problem potentially.

Judy Johnson
JJ
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

But people in the next generation who have no homes to leave their children are paying for you to keep your house for your children.

Mark St Giles
MG
Mark St Giles
2 years ago

I suppose i am not a boomer having been born in1941 but I think technically a war baby. Does that make me different from boomers? I have surfed the housing wave nonetheless. I now have an valuable but useless asset unless I sell it and give the money to my children, to whom I have already given some support to buy homes. But I still have to live and do not have a handsome pension as a state employee or from a big corporation. I inherited nothing. So, although not impoverished, I am by no means well off, and I do not feel particularly sorry for GenX who seem to live pretty well, eating out regularly having long expensive holidays, having lavish stag and hen parties in exotic foreign locations and over the top nuptials.

Chris Mochan
CH
Chris Mochan
2 years ago

doomed to perpetual exclusion from the London housing market

Other housing markets are available, of course.
London is a world city, one of the world’s great hubs and a huge player in international finance and services. It’s housing market is more comparable to New York than Newcastle.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

When our jobs are becoming ever more concentrated in our major cities, pointing out that other parts of the country with less employment opportunities have cheaper housing isn’t really helpful

Matt M
MM
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think jobs are likely to become ever LESS concentrated in major cities due to the move to remote working that has accelerated due to Covid. I don’t think there is any going back to the old ways and this gives our young people a chance to spread out a bit more and take advantage of those lower priced property areas. Assuming we can keep the population growth (i.e. immigration) to a low level.

Graeme Laws
GL
Graeme Laws
2 years ago

Tendentious nonsense on stilts. First of all there are plenty of boomers whose jobs have disappeared and who never had much to start with. There are plenty of boomers who have seen their savings eroded by stupidly low interest rates. There are plenty of boomers who were members of defined benefit pension schemes and were ripped off when they left. There are plenty of boomers retiring now with modest pension pots that won’t buy a decent annuity. And those of us who have benefitted from house price inflation will give it up to HM Government when we die.
And we are about to see inflation rocket, the most effective and most lethal redistribution of wealth known to man.

Last edited 2 years ago by Graeme Laws
J Bryant
JB
J Bryant
2 years ago

Young adults really do have a raw deal throughout the Western world, unless they’re very talented or very well connected. Still, I see hope although it’s a frightening sort of hope.
“…with house prices still increasing 10% per year, it must seem hopeless at times.
As the author repeatedly points out, the housing market is a bubble. That’s true for pretty much all asset classes, certainly stocks. Ten percent annual gains (or more) can’t go on forever. I fear a major crash and asset values will revert to around their historical means. There will be a lot of old people who are suddenly much poorer, but young people might finally have a shot at entering the property market assuming, of course, they still have a decent job and society hasn’t become more unstable than it already is.
Perhaps I’m too pessimistic about the possibility of a financial collapse. Unherd editors obviously don’t agree with me given their minimal coverage of economics.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I think being well connected is a much better indicator of somebody’s life chances than anything else unfortunately. In 80% of cases a child born to a rich family will earn more over the course of their lifetime than one born to a poor family, irregardless of ability, intelligence or work ethic. How many of the top boys at the FTSE 100 companies went to a state school? I’d wager not many.
A poor child only has to make a couple of bad choices to fail, whereas the rich has to mess up continually to ruin their life. Being well connected means most get given a start higher up the career ladder than most people from poor stock will finish

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

People pay their success or failure forward to their offspring, that is a primal evolutionary mechanism. The only way to reduce this is to abolish inheritance. Does anyone really want to do that? Do *you* want to sacrifice giving your kids a headstart, for the benefit of someone else’s who may not have earned it and may not even make the most of it?

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

There’s an argument that if you believe in meritocracy then large inheritance taxes are probably the fairest method of taxation as for the children that receive the money it’s entirely unearned

Terry Needham
PR
Terry Needham
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Well we share something then, as I take it for granted that a mighty financial crash is baked in. The belief has taken hold within our political class that we can build up limitless levels of debt without repercusions, simply because everyone else is doing the same thing, and then equate this debt to wealth. It is the economic equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. Of course if the government truly believed its own assurances to us, it wouldn’t need to introduce tax increases to pay for social care – It would simply print the money, or borrow it at negative interest rates.
One can only hope that the young stay young long enough to pick something out of the wreckage.
A sobering tale: I sometimes rent an old banqueting hall for holidays. The house that went with it was demolished, in the 20s I think. What financial madness ocurred that it made sense to demolish a house rather than sell it, or even give it away? (I have a book somewhere, The Destruction of the Country House by Roy Strong, if memory serves. It probably explains what happened, but it would still be madness).

Last edited 2 years ago by Terry Needham
Patrick Martin
PM
Patrick Martin
2 years ago

Sorry to spoil your narrative a bit, but it requires some qualification.
Until the Covid epidemic, most young people enjoyed the ability to travel abroad. In the 1960s and 1970s, that was still largely the prerogative of the affluent; and even they were constrained by stringent exchange controls. Many more people now enjoy a university education.
In the 1970s raging inflation bit into wages and salaries, which were subject to astronomical levels of taxation.
Housing in London was in crisis. Rising house prices made property purchase increasingly unaffordable. True, those renting property benefited from rent controls, which made it uneconomical for landlords to maintain their properties, while making it all but impossible for those looking for property to rent to find anywhere to live, let alone anywhere decent.
Even taking Covid into account, millennials have not had to cope with anything comparable to the miseries of the 1970s: three-day week; rota power cuts; empty petrol stations; (literally) empty supermarkets; blockaded hospitals; uncollected rubbish; unburied dead.

Lord Rochester
LR
Lord Rochester
2 years ago
Reply to  Patrick Martin

Or, indeed, the everpresent threat of nuclear annihilation, which nobody else or the author has mentioned. That was fun for the boomers and Gen-X.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I’m Gen X and my parents are Boomers. They didn’t have it easy at all but are reaping benefits now that I envy. I’m too young to have benefitted from the boom that has given them such financial secunity in later life, and too old to have time now to have learned the lessons that the youngsters seem to have learned earlier than I did. Every generation has its upsides and downsides.

Hilary Easton
HE
Hilary Easton
2 years ago

I have lost count of articles such as this, lazily extrapolating the experience of largely white, middle class, males in the age-range known as boomer, to the rest of that generation. When I was young and looking for a career, the options most attractive to me were simply not available to women and didn’t become so until I was too old to get started on them, like the law, engineering and even driving a bus or lorry.
When I left school it was hardly possible for a non-professional woman to earn enough to support herself so, although it was wonderful that a family could be raised on one set of wages, that only applied to wages for a male. Meanwhile my unskilled male friends could get a job on a building site, or driving, or factory work that would provide enough to live on from the day they left school.
I could go on.

Christian Moon
CM
Christian Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Against which was the option of stay-at-home-mother, something not on offer to men.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

And something not all women availed themselves of.

Christian Moon
CM
Christian Moon
2 years ago

Or could, and I recognise that.

Claire D
CD
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

The first woman barrister, Helena Normanton was called to the bar in 1922, the first woman solicitor Carrie Morrison went on the roll, along with several others, the same year. Just how old are you ?!!!

Malcolm Knott
MK
Malcolm Knott
2 years ago

In my experience men and women of my generation (b.1940) are keenly aware of just how lucky they have been. Not so our parents and grandparents for whom ‘before the war’ or even ‘before the first war’ were spoken of (in retrospect) as the Augustan age.

jill dowling
JD
jill dowling
2 years ago

Generations evolve, there is no grand plan. This is more a story of expectations. Far fewer people went to university when I grew up. I took the first job I was offered, it was during a recession. I was glad to have work. What I didn’t do was blame others – it’s my life, my world, it’s my responsibility. Millenniums are not victims to be pitied, they are adults who need to start asserting themselves.

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
2 years ago

MAY WAS CORRECT ! It is obviously grossly unfair if one gets to have very expensive medical care paid for by the young without contributing to that cost. it is also unfair to soak up thousands of dollars per week in aged care whilst still having assets (all these evil rich with their TRUSTS).. In NZ the govt takes most of your assets to pay for care unless you have a spouse living in the family home etc and then take the house if that spouse needs to go into care – seems fair enough to me -what is this british model ??. Some humans figured out they could make (often tax free) profits by gambling in property and most govts let them thus depriving those unborn or not equipped for this type of game folk. I beleive Europe mitiigates somewhat against this particular type of gambling ?? Many young are opting out of this pitiless situation where they have to work flat out just to survive let alone get ahead – and the thought of supporting children responsibly is impossible for many. When I hit the workforce in 1974 there was zero unemployment and rents and houses were easily acheivable. Bought a house in 1984 for $40,000 (NZ) . Same house now $1,000,000 so 25x higher whilst wages maybe 10-15 x higher. No control by govts because of the greedy ‘haves’ – same as Britain, same as everywhere – europe ? scandinavia ?. I f there is some kind of revolt by the young I will fully support that – and hope I have something left to leave my son because that is the only way he will get to own a home in NZ. (much better scenario in Aust tho).

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

For some context, in NZ in 1984 the average house price was $56k, and the average salary was $15k. In 2021 the average house price is $825k and the median salary is $53k. Houses are now 15x more expensive than they were back then, whereas wages have only risen 3.5x 1984 levels.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Cunning shift that! Average house price but median current salary! That will minimise the income growth over your comparison period compared to the house price change.
Details, details!

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Cant

The median house price is $826k as of 31-7-21. So it doesn’t actually alter anything I’ve said

Jim Cox
JC
Jim Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Cant

O clever one! Very good distinction there.

Neil MacInnes
NM
Neil MacInnes
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

You bought a house and did well out of it.
So did other people.
Make makes them “greedy” while you are not?

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Yes old people should pay for their care out of their kids’ inheritance if it is being outsourced to the state or private sector instead of their family. Families used to take care of their elderly. If the kids can’t or won’t then relieving them of that burden should come out of their inheritance.

Dustin Needle
DN
Dustin Needle
2 years ago

Wait…if I’m so lucky (which I certainly am), why have politicians since the 60’s and yes the media especially the BBC bless ’em, gone out of their way to deny and even smear the good and hard lessons of how that was achieved by societies such as the UK?
So Ed, please don’t join cheerleaders for Covid inspired inter-generational hate (I’m looking at you Vine and Lineker) on this subject. Peston’s another one, at the outset of all this campaigning enthusiastically for a hard China-style lockdown for God’s sake, now joining the hand-wringers about how beastly it’s all been.
Don’t blame us, guv. As can be seen from the comments, many “boomers” recall what they knew of their parent’s sacrifice. Nobody asked the “Boomers” to lock the country down – because as with Brexit they would not have got the answer they wanted.

John Private
JP
John Private
2 years ago

A couple of points…
Point 1
A major factor in the increase in house prices is that buying a property used to depend on one income, that of the father of the household. Now it depends on two incomes. More money equals house price inflation.
Point 2
It was anything but safe wandering around the area I was brought up in, Toxteth, Liverpool in the 50s and 60s. Basically the chances of being assaulted once I and my friends left our street were quite high.

hugh bennett
HB
hugh bennett
2 years ago

My wife and I are now retired, indeed we choose to retire early to support our childrens growing families and enjoy seeing them grow up and develop.Yes we were of a lucky generation, but no-one handed out vast chunks of cash to us, what we had was opportunity and we took that with both hands. But even then we had to work hard to get where we are.Our grandfathers and our fathers fought wars, our grandmothers and mothers went through turmoil and for what… simply to give me and my wife and our children and grandchildren those opportunities.
Finally, I don’t see or hear many younger folk going around moaning about bloodsucking retired boomers. No, it is rather those with political agendas that seek to stir up another dangerous pot with which to make our lives more complicated and divisive.
And for those millennials who do moan just man up, life can be b**ch sometimes but blaming granny isn`t going to do you any good. Anyway, if they hang on they are going to inherit immense wealth, OK that’s a cheap shot, I know its not that simple, but there is truth to it.

Last edited 2 years ago by hugh bennett
Julie Kemp
JK
Julie Kemp
2 years ago

Great piece, Ed!
Sorry, but i have to respond. I’m 72 and recognise just how ‘lucky’ (am Australian) i was with my dear parents who were not well off, were ‘c’ conservative but with a maternal lean to ‘Labor’.
For me, the eldest of 4, i trained, qualified and later had pg tertiary experience as a mature-age student, made easier by government support allowance and with part-time work in the holidays (Nursing.) Then i had some travel and work abroad. For all that i am deeply grateful and for my long-married and loving parents and grandparents whom i enjoyed and valued.
However i do not see ‘my’ generation as necessarily a fine generation in all respects. I was not a rebel then and only went on one ‘Save the Whales’ march in Melbourne. I’ve made mistakes and lost. But i have learned and experienced some wonderfully uplifting inner and outer moments in my time. It’s all a learning experience on so many levels across time. That’s the value of History (in the best sense) and of actual tertiary (especially) discourse and intellectual rigour framed in a tolerant non-partisan law-abiding nation state owned on all levels by its people who are pleased in general to be there. Now that sounds ‘utopian’! But really it isn’t also. Bless ‘Shakespeare’ (Sir Francis Bacon.)
The much cited “slow march through the institutions” was initiated by a brutish man [km] along with others; their jealousies and psychopathies lie behind much that has transpired in every decade since their corrupting and denial of Western merits. It’s force has been allowed to empower itself through much gormless politicking and cultural naivete born of suborned democratic institutions.
I trust the young especially will find their further years to be one of profound change and realisation for each of them, or at least many of them. If they have no real sense, contact or knowledge of what has transpired in the last 150 years then more’s the pity for sure.

Malcolm Knott
MK
Malcolm Knott
2 years ago

Genuine question: why is the dating market ‘brutally unequal’?

Wilfred Davis
WD
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

It was determined that the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men. The Gini coefficient for the Tinder economy based on “like” percentages was calculated to be 0.58. This means that the Tinder economy has more inequality than 95.1% of all the world’s national economies.

This is from the link ‘ingenious Medium post’ within the article’s link ‘and a brutally unequal dating market that resembles the world of Steppes warlords‘. The subject-matter is essentially comparing Tinder dating statistics with the Gini coefficient for measuring income inequalities around the world.

The rather long title of the piece sums it up: “Tinder Experiments II: Guys, unless you are really hot you are probably better off not wasting your time on Tinder — a quantitative socio-economic study.”

[I applied the italics to the quoted passage.]

Dustshoe Richinrut
DR
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

We’ve never had it so glum!

Martin Smith
MS
Martin Smith
2 years ago

Yes, the NI ratchet is a massive injustice. May’s plan was the right one but announced at the wrong time. The younger generations have also been savaged by lockdowns. I wonder why they have taken them so meekly when those without comorbidities are at microscopic risk? Will they swallow this new injustice in a similar manner?

Jim Cox
JC
Jim Cox
2 years ago

One solution for bridging the wealth gap is for those boomers who have been fortunate financially to share some of their wealth on a voluntary basis with Millennials, or at the very least contributte to organizations devoted to improving decent housing opportunities for the younger generation. This could happen within families, within churches, within cities, towns, and counties. With generosity as its driving force, this approach could change society for the better.

Graff von Frankenheim
GV
Graff von Frankenheim
2 years ago

We could prioritize their vaccination with the crap/lethal Covid shots…that should reduce the need for the tax. Ooops we’re already doing that…let’s move on to Plan B for those elderly Boomers who didn’t die in the first round….booster shots! Ooops also in the works. It seems the problems this article analyzes will soon be a thing of the past.

Jean Nutley
JN
Jean Nutley
2 years ago

The harder I worked the luckier I got. I worked a 90 hour week, and paid 40% tax. Brought up with a strong work ethic by equally strong parents. Taught that the world did not owe me a living, anything i wanted I had to work for.

LCarey Rowland
LR
LCarey Rowland
2 years ago

It was 54

“years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play; they been goin’ in and out of style but they’re guaranteed to raise a smile. . .

. . . take a walk by the old school . . .

. . . nothing to say but ‘what a day, how’s your boy been?’ nothing to do; it’s up to you. I’ve got nothing to say but it’s okay. Good morning. Good morning.”

LCarey Rowland
LR
LCarey Rowland
2 years ago

It was 54

“years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play; they been goin’ in and out of style but they’re guaranteed to raise a smile. . .

. . . take a walk by the old school . . .

. . . nothing to say but ‘what a day, how’s your boy been?’ nothing to do; it’s up to you. I’ve got nothing to say but it’s okay. Good morning. Good morning.”

JILL HUDSON
JH
JILL HUDSON
2 years ago

Very interesting article. I was born in 1949. I didn’t ask to be. I just was. My children are jealous! Goodness knows what my grandchildren will think when they learn about Boomers!

JILL HUDSON
JH
JILL HUDSON
2 years ago

Very interesting article. I was born in 1949. I didn’t ask to be. I just was. My children are jealous! Goodness knows what my grandchildren will think when they learn about Boomers!

David Harris
DH
David Harris
2 years ago

“Boomers: the luckiest generation that ever lived”
Yeah Baby!!!

Last edited 2 years ago by David Harris
David Harris
DH
David Harris
2 years ago

“Boomers: the luckiest generation that ever lived”
Yeah Baby!!!

Last edited 2 years ago by David Harris
omerozener
OO
omerozener
2 years ago

These might be actually the best days of Gen X. With crazy asset bubbles, low growth environment, high inflation, and limited wage growth worse days could come soon for them. Similar scenario already happened in Japan but it didn’t cause a major political change for some reason.

Christopher Chantrill
CC
Christopher Chantrill
2 years ago

The biggest problem Brits face is the universal faith that “there is no room for more housing.” But if you fly into Britland from Yankland of a morning and look down upon that green and pleasant land you see nothing but countryside as far as the eye can see.
Imagine if they’d built the houses for which “there is no room.”
It isn’t hard to do.

Last edited 2 years ago by Christopher Chantrill
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

I don’t begrudge the old people doing well, yes it was lucky but it’s not their fault they were born when they were. What does annoy me is that despite this luck, they steadfastly refuse to consider anything to help fund their later years, something that despite living through unparalleled prosperity they haven’t saved a penny towards.
They’ve scrapped almost every leg up they received to get a start in life (free uni, on the job training, well paid apprenticeships, council houses etc) because they didn’t want to pay for things that didn’t benefit them personally, now they expect the young who have been hamstrung by those decisions to fund their retirement despite being the wealthiest cohort.
I believe the collective term for a group of Boomers is called an Entitlement

Dawn Osborne
AI
Dawn Osborne
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I am a boomer born in 1958 but did not have this entitled upbringing you suggest. I also do not agree with government policy that we should not fund our own care I believe I should sell my house to pay for any care I need and am fully prepared to do so. I wasn’t asked and I’m sure there are many like me. People from the younger generation always think life was easier for us. If you want to go to uni to have fun you can, if you do a waste of time degree like many today are, you won’t have to pay for it the taxpayers will, surely this is just as bad as paying for elderly care. In my day most people couldn’t go to uni that was only for the rich. My husbands career advice was go be a mechanic or work in a factory mine was be a secretary or bank clerk. We didn’t qualify for a council house because we had jobs but on minimum wages it was just as difficult to buy a house. Oh and we started work at 15 and had part time jobs while at school how many people today do that. We didn’t have holidays, we rarely went out, no mobile phones, second hand furniture and one very cheap car between us. We also lived at home until we could afford to buy a house. My husband was born in a slum that was demolished when his parents were given a council house. We were given nothing by our parents, everything we have we worked for. Compare this to our poor children born in the 80s and 90s who we gave everything we could to, including a house deposit and a very expensive wedding. They both live much better lives than we did, holidays every year, new things all the time, eating out or takeaways. We also take care of our parents meaning the burden doesn’t fall on the state as they’re able to stay in their own homes. How many of the younger generation are willing to do this? Yes I am well off now but it’s because I’ve lived on a shoestring my whole life and don’t really want all the things that seem so important to the young. We may seem like we had a great life but unless you’ve walked in my shoes you don’t know. From my perspective it’s your generation that seem to be Entitled and by the way apprenticeships were never well paid, council houses weren’t available if you had a job and no children and uni was only available to a select few. The reason I have money now contrary to your belief is because I have always saved and not bought things before I could pay for them.

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn Osborne

I’d upvote you more times if I could Dawn.

Susan Marshall
SM
Susan Marshall
2 years ago

Me too. That is the life I recognise. My children have all had money towards deposits. I hope not to be a burden to anyone but that is because I still live a frugal life. My holidays are camping in a tent.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn Osborne

Next you’ll be telling us how you used to walk 6 miles to school every day, uphill there and back through the snow, and you and your siblings had to take it in turns to use the family shoe.
The fact is you could leave school and walk into a job that paid enough to buy a home, run a car and raise a family all on a single wage. Youngsters now can only dream of that scenario.
Your opinion of youngsters slays having brand new furniture, brand new cars, eating out every night and being lazy simply doesn’t bear up to scrutiny I’m afraid. By all metrics the youngsters work longer hours than previous generations, save a higher proportion of their income, drink less, smoke less, take less drugs and start families much later, yet still can’t get a foothold in life with homeownership rate among that cohort at record lows. Just because your children seemingly have it easy doesn’t mean they’re representative of that age group.
Finally there were no rules regarding not getting a council house if you had a job. My parents got one despite working, as did almost all those I know who are that generation. It’s how almost all of them got a start in life

Mel Shaw
MS
Mel Shaw
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I do recall walking two miles to primary school in shorts in the snow with my mates back in the 1950s.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes, a single wage. That changed thanks to feminism saying women who stayed at home were slaves to the patriarchy.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

No; just idle spongers and legalised prostitutes. They are.

Andrew D
AD
Andrew D
2 years ago

You seem very angry. Was it something in your upbringing? I wouldn’t dream of describing my dear late mother, who never did a day of paid work, in such terms.

hugh bennett
HB
hugh bennett
2 years ago

you obviously didn`t have enough cwtches, but its never to late to smile first thing in the morning.

Jim Cox
JC
Jim Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You keep on saying that we boomers had it easy. We did not all have it easy. I do agree with your opinion that housing is too expensive. There are common sense ways to address this. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn Osborne

I must agree that my many of my friend’s children born in the 80s and 90s were truly and staggeringly entitled. It was the age of children who had to keep up with the latest brand and trend.

Glyn Reed
GR
Glyn Reed
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn Osborne

Ditto! Thank you for posting your comment.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn Osborne

Well said

Jim Cox
JC
Jim Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn Osborne

Correct!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I lost my father very young and there was little money about. There was certainly not enough money for me to go to university, even though I was an over achiever. I therefore watched average people getting a better education, while I joined the work pool. To get into the work pool, I had to knock on hundreds of doors – physically go to businesses – to get a foot hold.
I don’t know what era you belong to, but I must believe it is a ‘Generalisation of …..s’

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

So if you were born 30 years later, with the same upbringing, how do you think you would have got on? Do you think in that scenario of leaving school with nothing you’d be able to secure a job that paid enough to buy a house, raise a family and enjoy the life you have currently?

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Possibly, yes. Depends on the person, their talents and their work ethic. Nowadays there are opportunities and jobs we could only dream of back in the 70s. Going to uni was a big deal and certainly not to be wasted on a pointless topic like Gender Studies or Colonial Poetry or some other self indulgent cr@p. Smart, hard working people with resilience and talent will usually do ok.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

You fall into the trap of thinking a tiny noisy minority on Twitter are representative of real life. I don’t know anybody that has studied any subjects of that nature personally, and I doubt you do either.
However in the current job market with the exception of going into the trades, a school leaver with nothing very, very rarely will get a job that offers anything above minimum wage or that offers the chance to move up. The entry level jobs where you’d be trained up have largely disappeared from the market. Due to the large numbers going to uni even bog standard jobs now expect graduates, so many are left having to fork out tens of thousands simply to get the jobs the older generation did as school leavers. University hasn’t brought increased wages or better jobs, it’s merely inflated the entry requirements for the jobs that were there already. Therefore I think I don’t believe the original poster would have enjoyed the same prosperity in the same situation if they’d been born 30 years later

Graeme Laws
GL
Graeme Laws
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Some of us are actually perfectly happy at the thought of our assets looking after us, and dread being dependent on our fellow taxpayers.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

You’re in a minority unfortunately. You simply have to look at the howls of anguish whenever pension reform is mentioned to see that most of that generation believe their own money shouldn’t have to go on living costs

Alka Hughes-Hallett
AH
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree with you Billy. I am 56 . Growing up I have never had to worry about : over population, climate change, uncertainty like Covid times, dangerously dishonest educated class (scientists, politicians, doctors, businessmen & practices etc), plastic pollution, air & water pollution etc.
Earlier for boomers there was a sense of clean hardship. Less troubled , less menacing. In many ways there was less money but this very generation that has created unbelievable goods and services and population explosion and at the same time had a disassociation climate change . I became aware of it in my 30s but no one was even looking at this might be something to think about.
The stories I have read here are of good boomer individuals but as a generation it was a hedonistic time. Busy with self serving. One way of life that was to see hardship as character building. That led to a generation that preserves its life over that of it’s children. Something as valuable as resources have been taken from the future to create wealth in the 50-80s. So what if the wealth has been left as inheritance, what should you spend it on when everything is becoming scarce and world is becoming ever so dangerous!

As for values, today I feel it is more open to ever expanding views, they may not be traditional but they are exploratory. I like that. I don’t know from sure but think millennials are less obsessed with stuff, care more for relationships and values. And I am not talking about individuals.

For example people using social media is mostly for social purposes .

I guess the millennials and zoomers and gen x will have to muddle through an increasingly confusing and insecure future . You have no choice.

Last edited 2 years ago by Alka Hughes-Hallett
Susan Marshall
Susan Marshall
2 years ago

I don’t understand why you didn’t worry about overpopulation. It was certainly a topic in our household.

Judy Johnson
JJ
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Their houses should fund their later years rather than people of a later generation who don’t know them from a bar of soap. They were lucky to be able to use their savings by living in them.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

I guess that famous enigmatic line in Easy Rider now finally makes sense — “We blew it”. Arguably, the worst aspect of the whole thing is the fact that the last Boomer will go to their grave STILL completely failing to get it.

Chris Wheatley
CW
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

Boomers have had great lives – I agree.

Jobs, no wars, cheap and plentiful food, cars, unlimited travel, the best years of the NHS (things worked properly), houses to buy and mortgages to help, the emergence of supermarkets to make shopping easier, shorter working hours to allow more leisure…….

The Boomers have been guilty of taking advantage of these riches – like demanding strawberries all the year round, having one car per person, buying too many clothes, demanding food protected by plastic wrapping, eating and drinking too much and putting a strain on the NHS.

Back in the 1970s I read a lot of sci-fi books and they predicted that everybody would be able to live their lives by pressing switches or even just by thought transference. This would result in human beings losing the use of their legs. This has not quite happened yet but we are physically lazy, suffer from ‘mental problems’ when things don’t go well.

Spoilt brats.

jean.winn
JW
jean.winn
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I was born in1951, and I have a civil service pension ( not a full one) , I inherited just £7000 from my parents as my mother had gone into a care home and her house was sold to pay for her care, my sister and I do not begrudge a penny of the money that was spent on her, I get suitably furious when I hear people complaining that they are losing their inheritance to fund care of their parents.
Did you pay for their house, no so tough!
I have no children so hope to leave my assets to charity, in the meantime I have installed an air source heat pump and solar panels in place of oil fired central heating to help the planet and the next generation.
I do think the increase in NI is wrong, there are a lot of comfortable pensioners like me , I would happily pay more income tax to help fund social care, leaving it to the young to pay via NI just to avoid breaking a manifesto promise is frankly appallingl, sorry Boris it is just plain wrong.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  jean.winn

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit
Unfortunately too many of the older generation forgot this old Greek proverb

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Precisely Billy. Very good proverb . I will try and remember it.

William Murphy
WM
William Murphy
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Around 1936, George Orwell predicted such a future in “The Road to Wigan Pier”. In true Jonathan Swiftian style, he declared why should you make any physical effort when machines could do it all for you? Eventually the human being would end up something like a brain in a bottle, all his superfluous limbs totally atrophied.

E M Forster’s “The Machine Stops” also envisages a human species who hardly venture out of their air-conditioned cells, protected and supplied with all needs by astonishing, but eventually failing, automated systems.

Barbara Williams
BW
Barbara Williams
2 years ago

Indeed the entire COVID strategy makes no sense. Our youngsters face a life-time of escalating and devastating climate and ecological collapse. A fairer strategy would have been to allow the virus to help us reduce our population size in a natural way. Pandemics are a symptom of ecological stress. The UK operate at three times their ecological biocapacity. It is a continuation of climate injustice that vaccination was only available in those countries that are more responsible for climate and ecological collapse. We need a Global Aspiration to address Ecological overshoot – Wikipedia

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I agree. We’re living in a very unnatural environment, expecting to live forever. XR and their ilk never talk about managed population reduction. The same people who wail on about climate change are the same ones who think the West should take in all the profligate poor of the world who then, surprise surprise, want to live a first world life.