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The boomers destroyed the Tories Today's by-elections mark the end of the Johnson era

As much jam as he wants (Leon Neal/Getty Images)


June 24, 2022   7 mins

Boris Johnson stands over your hospital bed, mask and medical gown on, forceps at hand, shining a lamp brightly down on your face. There had better be a good reason you’re undergoing this surgery. Pain must have a purpose.

Think back to the early Eighties. We face many of the same pains, again under a Conservative-majority government: Moscow is in the news for all the wrong reasons; high inflation; low growth; widespread industrial action. Britain is a country ill-at-ease, uncertain of its next destination.

The surgeon back then had no uncertainty over what medicine needed to be administered, what operation was required. The 1979 election was a referendum over the direction of the country: more of the same pain, or an operation that, despite its risks, might just jolt the country back to life?

And while you could describe both Conservative prime ministers by their characterful hair alone — Margaret Thatcher: powerful, unyielding, strong; Boris Johnson: chaotic, untidy, silly — there the similarities quickly come to an end. This hasn’t stopped the Johnson cabinet claiming the Thatcher legacy as its own. Hear Rishi Sunak’s speeches and you would assume the Government was on a Lawsonian crusade against high taxes.

The reality is precisely the opposite: taxes are about to reach their highest level since the Second World War, 12 years after the tax-cutting Tories re-entered Number 10. In 1979, the party swept into government with a clear diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan, defined by its ambition to bring down inflation, get Britain back on track, and consign the “sick man of Europe” label to the dustbin.

Today, however, after three consecutive Tory prime ministers, the party seems tired and unsure of what the whole point of being in government is, beyond holding power for its own sake. The by-election results from Wakefield and Tiverton will all but confirm this, covering two completely different demographics and geographies. The likely defeats will be a symptom of the lack of a narrative that holds the Government together — unlike Thatcher’s crusade against inflation, excessive union power, and unfree markets delivering poor outcomes to consumers.

Ostensibly, Levelling Up is the Government’s mission. But with limited cash or ideological rigour underpinning the policy, claims of ambition, drive and determination ring hollow. It didn’t seem this way two-and-a-half years ago, when the party jettisoned austerity and set sail for new ideological waters. What was remarkable, and remarked upon heavily after the 2019 landslide win, was how far the Tories had reached into former Labour heartlands. Wakefield itself is a prime example of one of these “Red Wall” constituencies. For the first time in generations, it bought into a Tory aspirational narrative. These areas were going to get better, and the Conservatives were going to be the party to make that happen.

But what wasn’t sufficiently remarked upon at the time was the extent to which this victory was achieved without the youth of Britain’s cities. Instead, it was achieved with a deep dependence on older voters, with over two-thirds of people in their seventies and over voting Tory.

It is easy to imagine that the cities, London in particular, have always been bastions of falafel-eating, Birkenstock-wearing liberals — impregnable Red fortresses owned by the Labour Party since time immemorial. Yet that is to forget that Thatcher’s majorities were achieved with the enthusiastic support of the cities. In London, a full two-thirds of the seats were won by the Conservative party in 1983, compared with only 29% in 2019. By contrast, the 2019 victory was underpinned not by a vision of growth and ambition, but by home-owning pensioners in ex-industrial and ex-mining regions who didn’t usually vote Conservative for cultural reasons, but finally snapped and voted for their own interests.

The traditional diagnosis for the cities turning against the Conservatives is that this split has happened over social and cultural values. Cities are predominantly young, and the young reject the current social and cultural values of the Conservative Party: values typified by the placement of Nadine Dorries as culture secretary, initiatives such as the Rwanda refugee resettlement policy led by home secretary, Priti Patel, and, of course, Brexit.

While this is certainly a significant part of the picture, what is rarely accounted for is the wholesale fiscal and monetary contempt the modern Tory Party has for anyone who isn’t a home-owning pensioner. Faced with the highest tax burden since the war, the highest inflation in decades, and ever-shifting student loan repayment terms — faced with plummeting rates of homeownership and sky-high house prices that have more than sextupled the time it takes for someone in their late-twenties to save a deposit — why should anyone under-40 vote for the Conservative Party?

And for retirees? As much jam as they want. Pensioner incomes now even exceed working incomes, after tax and housing costs, for the first time in history. The United Kingdom is choosing not to reward those who are building for the future. Instead, the spoils of the Treasury are being diverted to the mediocrity of the already satisfied, whose biggest ambition is driving their Honda Jazz to the local garden centre to buy a plastic lawn they won’t have to bother mowing.

This wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, at an archetypal and electoral level, the urban yuppie seemed the core demographic of the Conservative Party: young chaps with floppy hair in pinstripe suits striding confidently through the City with ears glued to a mobile telephone the size of a small dog, shouting “Buy buy buy!” These aspirational workers could not have been more enthusiastic for the Thatcherite deregulation of the financial markets and the Lawson tax-cutting budgets.

What changed? Simply put, the core value of the Conservative Party is not deregulation, low taxation or free markets. The core value is power.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Being in government means weilding the ability to shape the country in your image and, just as important, prevent the opposition from shaping it in theirs. But what happens if access to power is shaped not by the distribution of “winners and losers” in society, where pressure builds up over time in living conditions to shift voting behaviour, but by the sheer size of a demographic cohort?

The clue is in the name — baby boomers. The huge increase in post-war births resulted in a great demographic bulge. There are millions more baby boomers than in the following and preceding population cohorts. This has granted baby boomers the advantage of a vast, unified voting bloc. This bloc of voters, owing to their similar age, wealth and health needs, are all likely to have comparable public spending and policy priorities.

With this voting power comes responsibility. But like a Labrador with access to an unlimited supply of sausages, the boomer cohort has not been able to help itself — and has gorged itself until it can barely walk. The triple lock on pensions; ring-fenced NHS and social care spending; low taxation on asset wealth owned by the old, combined with high taxation on income, predominantly earned by the young; avoidance of housing reform. And austerity? That was for the young only.

“The facts of life are Conservative,” said Thatcher. And broadly, it holds true. People like to limit the rate of change in their communities. And once people have built assets, they want to see them protected, and taxed lightly, if at all. But what if people can’t even build an asset base in the first place, because of a combination of planning gridlock and loose monetary policy shooting house prices into the stratosphere? What if they remain vagabonds, moving from rental flat to rental flat, not gaining a sense of community to care about, enrich and protect?

Think back to the ambition of the Right to Buy policy. The politics of enabling homeownership to a generation of striving workers wasn’t lost on the party then. It was a central policy of the government: an opportunity for the aspirant individual to buy into the national project. The party has since betrayed its own orthodoxies for political convenience and power. But through this it has set a potentially terminal trap for itself. If the facts of life are no longer conservative, how can the party build a winning coalition? As the boomer demographic declines, all the party will be left with is a generation of resentful, asset-poor millennials who haven’t seen income growth in decades.

The next election is already looming over this parliament, and the need for a radical policy agenda to challenge this inequality is glaring. Young people already overwhelmingly vote against the Conservative Party, which barely mustered a fifth of the 18-29 vote share in 2019, a year in which it won a landslide victory. Labour already can already rely on this demographic. All that’s left for Labour to go after — which means favourable policies, subsidy and controversy avoidance — is the predominantly Conservative boomer vote. Politics by traffic jam. Pork barrel politics divided by age, not by constituency.

Despite this grim outlook, green shoots of ideological rebellion are emerging within Conservative circles. Innovative policy solutions such as Policy Exchange’s Street Votes proposal are being laid down. The party may also seek to focus on building in the cities over the more politically controversial areas with housing shortages in more rural areas. The political risk here is much diminished. What will the heavily Labour city constituencies do if they hate development — vote more heavily against the party that doesn’t hold their seat?

Others in the party are also questioning treasury orthodoxy on investment spending. Abandoned to the Brownites in the 2010s, a perfectly reasonable conservative case can be made for state-spending on infrastructure to lower taxes in the long run because of higher economic growth. The party of business cannot be blind to the fact that businesses require investment to grow and become profitable. If this idea was good enough for Ronald Reagan’s Right-leaning government, it can be good enough for the Tories today.

For now, however, these remain fringe ideas within the party. The discontent is there, and it’s growing, driven by high prices, a decade of stagnant growth and limited policy innovation. If it’s to move forward, the party needs to admit to itself the scale of the ideological tangle it’s got itself into. The national pallor of the late Seventies forced a brave, ideological character to emerge in the form of Thatcher.

Today, after 12 long, tiring years in power, no such figure has emerged. And that doesn’t look like changing. Whether the Wakefield and Tiverton by-elections will serve as a second trigger for leadership challenges is unclear, even with the year-long immunity from a confidence vote that is assured by the 1922 Committee rules. It would only take a rule change from the committee to see Johnson fall. Either way, today’s polls surely mark the beginning of the end of the Johnson era.

Who will follow is anyone’s guess, though it seems likely they will disappoint. After all, which Tory will be brave enough to challenge, let alone destroy, the boomer-led satisfaction with national mediocrity?


James Sean Dickson is an analyst and journalist who Substacks at Himbonomics.

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Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 years ago

It irks me how these terms for generations have been trivialised to suit lazy people.

I am a baby boomer. Born in 1946 when my dad survived and returned from the war.

The term became more commonly known over the next few decades and was something to be rather proud about, though not overstating it’s importance.

We lived through the history of the time, some good and some bad, though not actually creating it as is sometimes imferred.

Over the last couple of decades it appears that everything wrong with the world is the fault of the ‘boomers’

We have all the money, wrong. We are holding back the younger genaration from living in our houses, wrong. It’s all unfair, wrong. Get a life and make it work.

I probably don’t have many years left, though having worked and paid my share for 60 years, I will hold on to what I’ve got thanks.

Alastair H
Alastair H
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

It is certainly true that most boomers don’t individually have “all the money”, but there are major trends that are often brushed off because of that.
Boomers were of peak earning power in a period of historically low Tax Incidence (1985-2000), this is also the period of peak Median household income growth in the last 50 years. So Boomers relatively earned more than ever before and had to pay less of it.
Boomers were also able to purchase their houses before the mass financialisation of the economy lead to the house price asset bubble. If you bought a house in 1995 for about ÂŁ300,000 it’s probably worth about a million now. Best investment you could have made, and you get to live in it.
This isn’t to say that life was pure ease for Boomers, I know most Boomers had much harder childhood years than people now, but their working years were unparalleled in terms of relative prosperity. So telling young people now that they just need to “work harder” shows a lack of awareness about the macroeconomics that made that hard work, work.

Median Real Household Income since 1970s
UK Tax Rates
Real UK House Prices

Last edited 2 years ago by Alastair H
Sam Brown
Sam Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Alastair H

To all the millennials clutching their worthless degrees, and by the way, mine was too, the people that get on are the people that get on. People employ people, not bits of paper. The successful now, and always have and will be, are those that display determination, positivity, a can-do attitude, are up for a challenge and don’t rely on or expect anyone else to do it for them. Accept that there are standards expected of people and fitting in matters; being W O K E doesn’t. I’m sorry if you were sold a dream and expected life to be given to you on a plate. It’s never been like that nor ever will be; sadly, social media lauds those who seem to have found a short cut, most of whom are frauds. And by the way, many of you will inherit from those you now deride; I got nothing. But knowing that I wouldn’t made me self-reliant and prepared to do anything to pay my way rather than sit at home on benefits because I couldn’t get a job doing what I preferred. Have some pride, stand on your own two feet rather than someone else’s and show the world your determination. You at least then are giving yourself the greatest chance of eventually doing what you heart is set on.

Last edited 2 years ago by Sam Brown
Alastair H
Alastair H
2 years ago
Reply to  Sam Brown

Not really sure who this is aimed at, millennials have the exact same unemployment rate as the boomers. ONS
I work a 45 hour week, my wife works a 48 hour week, hardly slacking.
I actually have a lot of respect for the work ethic lots of boomers had. My grandad (Silent Gen) couldn’t read, but he owned his own car repair shop and built his own house. His money was hard-earned.
But my point is simply that hard work was, generally, rewarded more in the late 80s to early 00s than any other period in history. So to mock those who don’t have that generational benefit is a bit myopic.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
2 years ago
Reply to  Alastair H

Ditto! Lived through recessions and clobbered by negative equity and paid sky high interest rates. Single parent and worked full time for 60 years. Little left to fund a private pension. I resent being vilified simply for having ‘had it so good’, still being here and, worst of all – having a voice!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

I think most youngsters would accept high interest rates if house prices were still 3x the average salary

Andrew S
Andrew S
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

People who write about high house prices and low interest rates usually assume, or write as it, these were natural physical outcomes. Ordained exogenously.

Asset price inflation roared away when the Blair government under Brown’s Chancellorship began such massive state over spending. It has accelerated under Cameron-Clegg (remember them?) and the subsequent Conservative governments. Low interest rates are a policy choice which is now coming to an end.

Inflation has been put off until now by a number of factors. Chinese manufacturing costs and prices have held down the RPI/CPI (which excludes capital assets), unlimited low paid immigration has held down wages and therefore the cost of services and changes in the way the indices were calculated have always had an effect in one direction.

Rather than only throwing stones can we please have more analysis of what needs now to be done. “More tax” isn’t going to work, more regulation hasn’t worked and will make it worse, shouting about business profits won’t work. The only solution is growth which can only come from the private sector so the government needs to spend less and do everything for which it has assumed responsibility much much better and cheaper or stop doing it.

David U
David U
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Interest rates and house prices are linked by affordability. I experienced interest rates of 15% in the early nineties and house prices duly fell and bounced along the bottom for eight years. Despite commentators claiming houses are unaffordable they still sell thus negating such statements. The other factor which kept house prices low until the nineties was very tight lending criteria and in fact a shortage of funds to lend. Mortgage famines were common with lenders sending potential house buyers away. I had a six week delay on my first property purchase whilst Bristol and West Building Society replenished their cash reserves from savers.

Terry Davies
Terry Davies
2 years ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

Well said!

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
2 years ago
Reply to  Sam Brown

This has nothing to do with generational fairness.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Sam Brown

Who said young people aren’t working? Your points are all well and good, but there are structural and policy reasons strongly working against young people, particularly in the property market. Despite reams of evidence, a lot of people on UnHerd – perhaps who, like me, benefit from the existing order – seem in total denial about this. Dominic Raab recently re-affirmed the pensions triple lock! Good short term politics (and it is more and more short term with this government), longer term, not so much. Again, whether or not the young are ‘woke’ (maybe many are not so much as may appear), they nonetheless represent the future and the ‘oldies’ do not. The Conservative Party is either going to fade away as a serious electoral force, or need to take a radical re-examination of its trajectory.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  Alastair H

You may well be right Alistair, and thanks for your analysis, which I won’t read thanks, however we all live in the period into which we are born and get on with it the best we can under the prevailing circumstances.

Rod Munch
Rod Munch
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

Currently the “period into which we are born” is shared amongst several different generations, some of whom have done very well out of being born earlier and refuse to admit it.
Tom Scott says “Let them eat cake”.
Whilst nobody asks to be born at a certain time, the earlier generations have deliberately voted for politicians that would preserve their way of life, whilst hanging younger folk out to dry. They account for this by saying “My childhood was hard” or “My dad was in the war”, or even, “We didn’t have any Netflix when I were lad, it was all in black and white.”

Last edited 2 years ago by Rod Munch
Tony Coslett
Tony Coslett
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Munch

Frankly that is a characterisation and generalisation. I’m a boomer and I have never ever voted for the Tories and most of my life have voted Labour. That’s now changed to Plaid Cymru since the Blair years as I couldn’t abide his mild Toryism!

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Munch

What a ridiculous retort Rod Munch, of course we all vote for whoever serves our best interest, otherwise there would be no different political parties! If you like many here, had worked hard and paid your taxes all your life and been lucky enough to get on the housing ladder ( By the way do you own a house? I would say not probably…) why would you possibly support the best efforts of a government to take those advantages away from you? And doing that does not “hang the younger generations out to dry” …explain why it does please?

Last edited 2 years ago by Mark Turner
Martin Butler
Martin Butler
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

Is it beyond a human being to vote for what they think is right rather than what is in their interests? I would never vote Tory but as a pensioner voting Tory is probably in my interests. The possible 10% increase in pensions is an example. I sometimes feel embarrassed by all the perks pensioners seem to get as compared to my millennial children. No housing costs, no commuting costs, no childcare costs. Increasingly this country is run for pensioners as they keep this corrupt government in power.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Hi Martin, no of course not, the beauty of our system is that you can of course vote with your heart , rather than your brain, or your wallet…….if you can afford to……..but your point re the perks does not make sense….the only reason you have those perks, is that you have worked 5 or 6 days a week for 45 years to attain them….the millenial children have not….!!! Would you rather the government stopped paying your pension and taxed you to impecuniousity so your millenial children could benefit? You may answer yes, but most people would not…..You worked hard and paid in all your life, why should you now not get any of the benefits from that? Whats so wrong with that concept???

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

What you miss is that the economy depends on those in employment, and treating them well is more likely to produce a health economy in the future, and after all a healthy economy is what allows our pensions to be more generous. I’m not for impoverishing pensioners but things do seem to be out of balance.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

Yes, but seriously, the state pension is risible….its a 10% rise on something that is tiny….if you had to live on that and that alone, it would be virtually impossible. It is less than half of the salary of the lowest paid minimum wage worker…..There are a huge number of pensioners who have no other income than the state pension, so why should they not get some help?
Treating people in employment well for me, does not mean taxing them till they squeak……which is what is happening under this supposedly low tax conservative government. The problem is not the levels of tax but the crap they spend it on….ÂŁ6 million a day on keeping illegal immigrants in hotels for a start……when our pensioners are cold and hungry….utterly wrong
Its just not right for governments to spend decades encouraging people to save, work hard, go without and buy a house, only to have that final bit of security in old age under threat of being taken from you in pernicious taxes and money grabs, to fund younger people.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mark Turner
Fergus Mason
Fergus Mason
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

the economy depends on those in employment”
Yes. It does not depend on those with useless degrees and a made-up gender.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

What a ridiculous outlook.
You consider it that after a lifetime’s work which may have included hardships, paying off the mortgage, finishing working so not having to pay train fares etc, and your children growing up and leaving home, all of those are “perks” of which to feel embarrassed.
May I therefore suggest that you collect together what you used to pay in mortgage, commuting costs and bringing up offspring, and donate it all to worthy charities.

Tony Coslett
Tony Coslett
2 years ago
Reply to  Alastair H

Perhaps but everything you say is a generalisation. The sociology is correct but it covers opportunities enjoyed by one portion of the boomer generation. Yes 1985 to 2000 was a low tax era and wages higher – for some. And that’s also reality. Not all, by far, were able to take advantage of this period of relative wealth. It’s disingenuous to produce statistics which might be the science but a science based upon a median which cannot possibly factor in those outside of its scope.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Alastair H

What you are saying has a large grain of truth, however, continually demonising a group of people will not win them over to the corner of younger people. By the way, most ‘boomer’ have children and grand-children whom they wish to see thriving, I honestly do not believe that they are deliberately trying to keep eveything to themselves and are happy to watch the next generation suffer. All that this generation did was to do what was expected, get a job, save, marry, get a house, raise children – nothing abhorent about any of this. Circumstances have changed, especially with the massive population growth that had happened over the last few decades leading to a short-fall in housing stock that will probably only be rerctified by paving/building over most of SE England.

Andrew S
Andrew S
2 years ago
Reply to  Alastair H

Well, if it is lower taxes you wanted, why did you vote for any of the Westminster political parties since Mrs Thatcher was deposed by the pro-EU left in her party.

Jane Hewland
Jane Hewland
2 years ago
Reply to  Alastair H

We can’t be responsible for historical timing. Loose money pushed up house prices. That shouldn’t have happened and should have been tackled. Yes my generation has benefited from it, but you cannot blame us for that. You would have done exactly the same in our place. And much of our accumulated savings have gone to securing our children and grandchildren the same access to housing that we had. We WANT our kids and grandkids to soar beyond us, as we did with our parents. It is wrong that this is not happening. But the solution is obvious. The economy as a whole has to be rebooted and enabled to grow. That growth was the key point of Brexit. Hasn’t happened, because even though the prison gates were opened, by then we had become institutionalised. The government has just sat cowering in its cage, too frightened to venture out. What we need now is to abandon this lurch back and forth between left and right, labour and capital, old and young. We need a new party targeted at the consumer/voter which is basically everybody. We are not units of consumption as big business would like to have us. We are individuals and we need greater control over every aspect of our lives, including the ability to accumulate assets. This new party would protect the British people by aiming for greater self sufficiency in the things we depend on. Ditch “set aside” and get farmers producing more, without of course destroying the fertility of the soil. Ditch green nonsense and the punishing costs that go with it. Get oil companies drilling in the North Sea and fracking wherever they can. Invest in technology that might clean up fossil fuels and make them less damaging if such a thing exists. Ditch just about everything about current housing policy. Ditch high rise. It’s no way for families to live. Ditch leasehold. Make home ownership a real thing. Don’t lure people in with duplicitously named “help to buy” schemes that merely turn people into mortgaged tenants at the mercy of offshore freeholders. Halve the cost and size of the state. Tell people home truths about the NHS which is already broken beyond repair. The reforms needed here are too enormous to detail. Ditch intersectionalism. Ban these ideas from school curricula. Affirm the biological facts about sex. There are two. They can’t be changed. Men who want to live and behave and dress as they think women do and women vice versa are welcome to their choices and should be treated fairly and decently. But none of it makes them the opposite sex and those who say so are not “phobic”. Finally with freeing the individual goes requiring the individual to take responsibility for his or her actions. Grand ideas don’t work. Huge state doesn’t work. As the pandemic richly illustrated, people are best left to make the individual decisions that suit their particular needs. Trying to legislate for the immense complexity of human lives does not work and people will not comply with such regimes or respect them for long. Socialism is not the answer. It hasn’t worked in over 100 years. It never will. The answer lies ensuring, by stick and by carrot, that the the infinity of individual choices and actions make life better rather than worse as far as possible. There is no perfect world. There will be suffering. There will be f*** ups. We need to understand that whether our own world a become better or worse place is the result of our own actions. Our choices should come with consequences as they used to. And we need to understand that morality is not about sexual behaviour. It’s about doing what is right. Frankly we’d have a healthier society if we went back to teaching the traditional Abrahamic religions in every primary school in the land. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all have much to contribute in their various forms to our understanding of what is a good life. it isn’t a case of science OR religion. They are not competing truths. They complement one another and together make the world a better place.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

Isn’t it the case that younger generations always blame older generations for their problems? Until they become the older generation when they will be blamed in their turn. It’s probably correct. It’s just the problems which change.
I’m a boomer by the way, 1952.

Last edited 2 years ago by Steve Elliott
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

You can’t deny the selfish policies enacted by that generation however. The silent generation built council houses that the boomers then sold off to themselves cheaply and never replaced. They sold off all the utilities and infrastructure built by the preceding generations and have let it fall into such disrepair it will cost billions to bring up to standard. They enjoyed free further education and on the job training which they then took away for the generations that followed. They failed to put anything away for pensions or end of life care, expect the pension to keep rising yet refuse to pay more tax to contribute, expecting youngsters already saddled with high rents, student loans and stagnant wages to pick up the tab.
Every leg up they received to get a start in life they refused to pay for for those that came after

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

I’m a boomer, 1954, still working , still paying shedloads of tax, supporting myself. “Refusing to pay” my eye.
I suppose the angle of attack then is that I should euthanise myself and give my job to someone who can’t do it, cos they’re younger.
As for “selling off utilities” – it wasn’t actually “the family silver” as mythmakers claimed. It was nationalised industries that made products and services nobody wanted to buy, costing more than they could sell them for, and crumbling state-run infrastructure that a broke country couldn’t afford to invest in or maintain.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

When people talk of utilities they generally mean infrastructure such as water, gas, electricity etc (and to a lesser extent railways) that now cost more than ever, require large government handouts to keep working and have large profits siphoned off by wealthy interests.
Your other point is simply misdirection, I’ve never said older people should be euthanised. However the elderly have used restrictive planning laws to prevent new builds to house young families and demand their pension rise faster than wages, yet if you mentioned taxing wealth or property (which on average they own more of) instead of wages (which on average they no longer earn) all hell breaks loose

Tony Coslett
Tony Coslett
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Such nonsense pal. Such sweeping generalisations! Thousands of us were in the side of the miners and backed Arthur Scargill and none too few were still underground in the pits: boomers and younger men! So try to enjoy a wider view and you’ll find that this false dichotomy between the generations has been engineered by the same people who put Thatcher into power: the existing establishment of the day. Some of whom are ‘Baby boomers’ many of whom are not. The existing government are post the boomer age. They are young.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Coslett

Thatcher was put into power in the late 70’s, by which point the boomers were a powerful voting bloc that largely voted for her so that cohort has to have some responsibility for the actions she took. Whilst of course not every boomer voted for her, when we’re discussing policy at a national level you can’t use individual accounts but have to talk about majority/minority etc

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thatcher was voted in because the country was going to the dogs under Labour. Were you around then? I was.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think you are retrospectively pushing motives on us which we didn’t have at the time. We didn’t know we were boomers, we were just people and citizens of this country who had a vote. We were not a bloc. Everyone had a vote same as now. If we voted to improve our lot then why shouldn’t we? Surely that’s what everyone one does, then and now, including you.
Regarding your previous comments. I’ve always paid my taxes and I saved for my retirement, same as most boomers I think. I’ve never expected something for nothing.
Of course us baby boomers were deprived in those years. After all, we only had 3 TV channels and those not 24 hours a day.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“The silent generation built council houses that the boomers then sold off to themselves cheaply and never replaced.“ I’m beginning to wonder who we’re talking about. I was born in 1944 and always thought myself a boomer. Didn’t we build those council houses? That they were sold off without replacement was an appalling error, but it was done by Thatcher, not ‘the boomers’. I’m not sure this whole analysis in which various named generations are seen as doing things works.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

No you didn’t build those houses, the bulk were built in post war period either before you started working or early in your career. The bulk of the money to do so was put forward by the silent generation

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Many “boomers – especially those in the private sector – had to save hard for a decent pension – and we’re disciplined enough to do so.

Jake Drake
Jake Drake
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

Agree. I’m a Gen X but article uses these generational terms ‘boomer’ lazily. Detracts from analysis and is in itself divisive

Andrew Sweeney
Andrew Sweeney
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

Omg looks like everyone who commented has been down voted by a snowflake aka a loser. Run for your safe spaces folks.

Andrew Sweeney
Andrew Sweeney
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Sweeney

I should have said a pathetic loser victim.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
2 years ago

I read with disgust your comments regarding pensioners and their supposed “luck” and how good they have it…..I am nearing retirement age and have worked hard running my own business all my life, 6 or 7 day weeks, no holidays….I have by virtue of a sensible wife a fairly decent sized pension pot and our best buy was our house in London, 25 years ago, which we sold last year. My parents have also passed on an inheritance. We have paid a fortune in tax the last few years, by way of IHT, CGT, corporation tax, stamp duty, income tax not mention the VAT on everything. Probably nearly ÂŁ600K………We probably have just about enough to last us to age 90, to live reasonably comfortably. Its nonsense to suggest we are treated unfairly, people like me are providing the lions share of the tax income that this government fritter away on migrants, ludicrous money wasting schemes such as track and trace not to mention the stupidity of the furlough scheme that is the root cause of much of the inflation we now face. My state pension will be a lousy ÂŁ10K or so a year, the rest will all be made up of the results of my hard work and good luck. So how do you work out that the government is diverting the spoils to me?
Yes, Johnson the bumbling buffoon is a huge dissapointment to me, he promise dso much but has squandered the chance of a lifetime. As a lifelong conservative voter, I dont think I can bring myself to vote for them this time. And I certainly wont be voting for anyone else…….This is where they have led us…..

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
2 years ago

If only journalists came with responsibility too


peter barker
peter barker
2 years ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

Aye, a fairly shallow (possibly clickbait?) article. Loads of generalisations and assumption, no deeper analysis/insights. Still- it passed a bit of time whilst I lounged in my (presumed) luxury boomer retirement.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
2 years ago
Reply to  peter barker

You are going to to have to be more specific than that. I thought it is was excellent. Of course there are some generalisationd but over all it was on the money. What irks me about the a Tories is they are unpatriotic despite all the patriotic talk. A patriot wants their country to succeed in the future, it is not just about symbolic stuff & and history. But I just can’t see UK thriving anytime soon. We will become a rather sad and unsuccessful backwater with lots of well off pensioners going on about the royal family and WW2 unless those in power change tack radically- or should I say make it clear they have a tack at all!

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Butler
R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

Given that the mass of the Unherd readership are boomers who stilll retain this ‘go out and get a graduate job with just a firm handshake’ outdated view of the world I expect this truth bomb will land to much opprobrium. An entire parasitic class of land speculators reliant on migrants to keep wages down and property prices and rents high. Is if any wonder then that the Tories have never had a real intention then to fix these issues, given that their boomer base relies on these things?

boris karloff
boris karloff
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

I guess in your La La Land no Boomer ever lived on a housing estate in Liverpool. They are all retired ex Oxbridge.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  boris karloff

Correct observation but the modern approach is intersectional. Find some class of individuals (whether they have much in common in fact) and blame them for some current problem. White supremacists, toxic males, etc and now boomers who have little in common but the decade in which they were born. Just pick a scapegoat and save yourself thinking.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Don’t think that is entirely fair. There are some generalisations you can make about boomers. A generalisation is not a claim that everyone in a certain group possesses characteristic X, it is simply identifying a tendency. Most boomers did vote brexit, for example, most millennials didn’t.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Butler

As most governments have been voted in on minority votes it is somewhat absurd to characterise a whole generation of supporting any particular policy particularly since most political parties fail to deliver on their manifestos and are often a grave disappointment to their supporters. I note you have an ideological approach to politics and claim you would never vote Tory presumably regardless of the policies they advance.
The one vote that had majority support from those who bothered to vote was Brexit. While I as a boomer voted to remain there were perfectly reasonable arguments in favour of leaving that were supported in a slightly greater proportion by the boomer generation but also by large sections of the population from other generations so it is absurd to blame boomers for a decision that presumably you disapproved of. Your thinking is infused by stereotypes that simply don’t represent more than a proportion of boomers. It is this stereotype intersectional thinking that bedevils society and prevents rational discussion beyond tribal loyalties.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Through my life time, and I was born in the 50s, Tory governments have espoused low spending and low tax even if that hasn’t actually worked out in practice – Look at the present government! Given I believe that particular ideology hamstrings economic development rather than promoting it, I’m not sure why I can’t say I would never vote Tory. I’m sure there are many here – probably the majority – who would never vote Labour because they disagree with the basic ideology of the labour party. In the 80s I was actually far more sympathetic to the Tories but I have come to the conclusion that Tory governments have not been good for this country. Economically we are not strong, and seem to be heading for the rocks despite the fact that we have had Tory governments for most of the time since WW2.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  boris karloff

My thought entirely. The article is fact free, just full of generalisations assuming a small subsection of the population in question is typical of all.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

A rather trvialised viewpoint. I take it you are not a ‘boomer’ then?
All political parties have benfitted from the votes of that generation!

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

It’s always funny how quickly the comments section here goes nuclear whenever anyone suggests the capture of the Tory party by the grey vote is sawing off the branch both sit on. It’s the conservative’s dilemma in a nutshell for the Unherd editors every time they run a story like this – good on them having the backbone to keep doing it.

Related: https://inthesightoftheunwise.substack.com/p/episode-thirteen-the-performing-monkey

Tony Coslett
Tony Coslett
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

Oh boy do you have some totalitarian tendencies revealed by this I’ll informed and deeply prejudiced and angry response.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Coslett

I no longer believe in the effective power of the British democratic system to remedy any of the major issues afflicting this country. That does not make me a totalitarian; it merely demonstrates how little faith in a system entirely captured by triple pension lock, neo-feudalism abetting over-60s. The hellspawn of the post-war rush to progressivism. I am more of a post-liberal. All totalitarian ideologies have their roots in liberal thought.

john bowes
john bowes
2 years ago

This article shares with the Johnson a lazy non attention to detail, tired generalisations, and poor conclusions, made after multiple factless statements.
National mediocrity surely belongs to the poorly educated, lazy millennials, and their constant bedwetting and whining. The UK is heading downhill fast, and the self indulgent adult children will not be working to head that off, instead they will be at home on a wellness day, expecting everything to be provided for them, without the expectation of hard work
They will be disappointed

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
2 years ago

What a mediocre article, a heap of stale ageism, fantasy dynamism and even faux patriotism.

boris karloff
boris karloff
2 years ago

Well here we go again. Anyone my age knows what a recession is like. We went through it in the prime of our lives 20-30. No work, end of story. Apparently us Boomers who were unemployed in the UK in them years had it good. Chuckles. Buckle up you Woke. You are about to experience how good us Boomers had it under Thatcher….Good Luck. ..Don’t forget to remind us how good we had it after you’ve been through it.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
2 years ago
Reply to  boris karloff

Millennials experienced a recession in 2008, that has seen incomes and growth decline for the past decade.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

The worst recession in living memory which we have structurally never recovered from. The boomer will claim he has lived through three, even though that was in a time where you could buy a house with cash in a handful of years without a university degree.

boris karloff
boris karloff
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

That was a Stock Exchange crash, hardly a recession.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

It was never a handful of years, and never with cash.

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

Not true. We worked hard, bought second hand stuff and refurbished decaying housing stock by hand, and from skips, and junk which we painted ourselves. We bought our first house for ÂŁ18,500. We almost had nothing to eat to pay the mortgage. We actually wanted a house on a less busy road which was ÂŁ19,000 but there was no way we could scrape up the extra ÂŁ500.
Money is relative. My first paycheck was ÂŁ10. Our rent was ÂŁ9. How could we save for a mortgage? Fortunately we were both working and we did, although millions suffered repossession. My children never had a new bike; I bought second hand from our nearby Council estate where all the children had new bikes as they didn’t have to pay mortgages – up to 15% at one time.
There were far fewer people in London then and far more decaying wrecks of houses which we bought by the skin of our teeth and – in my case – one half bottle of gin per month for a drink on Saturdays. This is all true. And I didn’t have a university degree: far fewer people did then. I and both my sisters got degrees as mature students.

Furthermore, I and the NHS were born in the same year – which means I or my father on my behalf (after he’d spent five years at war, posted to North Africa to face Rommel on the nation’s behalf) have spent 74 years paying into the system through NI and taxes in order to be able to live after retiring. If you think ÂŁ8000 a year is enough to live on?

Pensions are not a benefit, nor are they free. We have paid for them ten times over, and they’re only an issue now because Gordon Brown stole our pensions, stole all the pension pot we should now be seeing.

We live in our houses, whatever their value. We won’t see that value because if we sell and disrupt our lives where would we live? We aren’t like millennials, skipping around from place to place. We have communities which we serve. We run charity shops, we volunteer, we are community minded. Once we go, that all goes too.

Enjoy life in your bubble, entitled and protected and benefit-heavy millennials! Because reality is about to hit you. You may even find yourself at war again, Europe is talking about prolonged war in Ukraine and a very real threat to ourselves. My German nephew has been warned to expect to be called up one day.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Thomas

Pensions are a benefit. You’ve paid nothing towards your pension as that’s not how they are funded. You paid for the retirement of the generation that came before you, and the current working generation are now paying for yours.
However the difference is that the generation that preceded you did all they could to give you a start in life such as council housing, free further education and on the job training, whereas you refused to do this for those that followed you

polidori redux
polidori redux
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

a correction, Billy. I did not fund a pension for the generations before mine as they generally didn’t live long enough to collect one. I paid for my own pension and you ain’t stealing it. I will leave what little I have left to my younger relatives.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  polidori redux

No your generation didn’t pay for your own pensions. If they had the country would currently be sitting on a large pension fund paid for entirely by taxation over the course of your working life but that isn’t the case. Your weekly payments come from the tax take of those currently working

polidori redux
polidori redux
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes we did – Through N.I contributions that were forcibly removed from our wage packets, week after week after week. I fully understand that the government, engaging in a typical piece of accounting chicanery, placed those contributions into the general government revenues account, rather than into a dedicated pensions account. Take that up with the government. – We still paid.
PS: This magnificent pension comes to the grand total of ÂŁ640 per month, the last time I looked. Is there no end to my greed?

Last edited 2 years ago by polidori redux
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  polidori redux

All the tax you paid was spent at the time, therefore you haven’t paid for your pension as it’s taken from the current tax take.
Your taxes paid for the retirement of the previous generation, and the taxes of todays workers are paying for your retirement.
However when you had to fund the retirement of the preceding generation you were happy to leave many destitute, whereas now you demand the youngsters increase your pension much faster than their wages

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Your reasoning is totally spurious….

polidori redux
polidori redux
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Not my problem Billy Bob. The contract that was forced upon me will be honoured – whether you like it or not. If you try to break that contract then there will be blood on the carpet, figurately speaking of course, and you won’t like that.

Last edited 2 years ago by polidori redux
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  polidori redux

It wasn’t youngsters that broke the contract was it. They’ve continued to fund your inflation busting pensions even after you’ve taken away every piece of assistance you enjoyed when you began your working life.

Throwaway_d thorny
Throwaway_d thorny
2 years ago
Reply to  polidori redux

There is no contract, only power. And you have none, as you will find out in the coming years.

Only those useful, needed, with the capacity for violence, or credible threats thereof, do so and the retired are de facto categorically excluded from these.

Last edited 2 years ago by Throwaway_d thorny
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Sorry, I dont follow your argument…how has Mary refused to do this? She ( Us) has paid taxes & NI all her life….what is she NOT doing that she should be?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Thomas

Mary, I’m a millennial and I was completely on board with all of your post until the second-last paragraph.
Some millennials skip around for the fun of it, sure (as a lot of your generation surely did too…) – but alot skip around because they have to. With property ownership now a distant dream, they’re going to be renting probably forever and if you don’t have the good fortune to have rent control the rising rents mean you have to move on if your rent exceeds your financial possibilities. And when you’ve got a whole class of people who can’t put down firm roots for that reason, then it is impossible to really invest in/support a community.
That said, I do think the basic urge to be part of a community, contribute to it and volunteer for the common good is far less pronounced in our generation than in the ones who went before.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

You couldn’t if you didn’t have a job. Unemployment has never been near the levels of the early 80’s since then,

Simon T
Simon T
2 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Except housing of course which very few Millennials at the time (oldest Millennails in 2008 would have been late 20’s) had access to.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  boris karloff

You also about to see what it was like under Labour, though hopefully not literally.

David Matthews
David Matthews
2 years ago

I agree the Tories are in danger from younger voters but I think the cultural (Brexit) factor is still significant as well as the housing factor.
I agree that the Tories need policies to encourage house building and the supply of houses, but they also need policies to reduce immigration and the demand for houses. I don’t notice any Labour policies on either topic.
Houses will, however, remain relatively expensive so long as money is cheap. Interest rates that were too low for too long under both parties over the past twenty years have created this housing bubble. How interest rates can be normalised and the bubble deflated without a big recession is the puzzle that needs answering.

Peter B
Peter B
2 years ago
Reply to  David Matthews

There is no puzzle – a big recession is essential – not least because Gordon Brown decided to abolish the necessary small recessions that are an essential part of a functioning capitalist free market economy (the delusional “no more boom and bust”). At this point, hitting the big reset switch is the only way to get back to normality.

Stuart Tranter
Stuart Tranter
2 years ago

Oh dear. A few interesting thoughts and observations but putting an entire generation in the same naughty step is as daft as moaning about the ‘youth of today’ as if they are all the same. The world is infinitely more complex than you realise.

Rod Munch
Rod Munch
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Tranter

Ah the old “It’s more complicated than that” with no further information given. I bet the next line will be “I haven’t got time to explain it to the likes of you”. So when’s the book out, Stuart?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Munch

What a truly stupid response. Do you seriously expect somebody to trawl the internet to prove to you that every generation has a huge mix of social circumstances?

Still, presumable you’re one of those idle millennials, eating avocado toast instead of saving for a mortgage.

No? Prove it.

Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes
2 years ago

At the last general election, only about 50% of 18 to 24 years olds bothered to vote as compared to 80% of the over 75’s. I’ll believe that the young are up in arms about the way the country is run when more of them turn out at a general election.

Throwaway_d thorny
Throwaway_d thorny
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Barnes

Spoiling a ballot is useless, despite how cathartic it may be, and the degree of organisation and resources to found a political party is beyond the capacity of almost all. Real change, improvement, and even survival, does not, will not, and cannot come from democratic means.

Only the exertion of power, which requires organisation, can do so. This will not happen for another 10-15 years until the potential dissident leadership cadre of the millennial cohort has emerged, enabled by obtaining sufficient resources to be secure enough to do so, and by a critical threshold of networking and organisation borne by several decades of mature adult life.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Barnes

Voter apathy is a far worse sign that voter angry. Do you not wonder why so many of the youth are turning towards radical insanity like marxism? It means they have seemingly lost faith in democracy itself.

Joff Brown
Joff Brown
2 years ago

My working class parents, like so many others of their generation, did exactly what was expected of them. They both started full-time work at the age of 15, worked hard, taking whatever jobs they could when times were tough and often working more than one job to make ends meet, bought their own home so as not to take up valuable council housing needed more by others, paid their taxes and NI and invested extra in their pensions. You cannot now blame them for being secure. The fault lies squarely with successive governments of both parties to sufficiently invest in the future of the country.

Throwaway_d thorny
Throwaway_d thorny
2 years ago
Reply to  Joff Brown

Eventually there are no choices, only outcomes.

If I have to eat your parents to survive the winter then I will, and you are going into the pot with them. There is no choice, only survive or die. This is the metaphorical situation that is approaching over the horizon, and you would be a fool to think that not being a direct cause of an issue will save you. Only having power to defend yourself will, and that does not come from voting.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

Inflation destabilises so that a mad scramble ensues to try to stand still in terms of real income. Waffle about being kind disappears and whatever economic power can be deployed is in a mad scramble not to lose out.

The Tory party under Boris has been flaccid in the face of challenges and will not apply the remedies of Thatcher whatever rhetoric they engage in.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Inflation though is a double-edged sword. Curently we have absolutely historically low interest rates which have allowed all asset classes including housing to inflate in price as money to attain them has been cheap. Hence the “I can’t save up for a deposit (although I’m not prepared to take in pain to do so is the reality) but I CAN afford to pay the mortgage” Yes, but ONLY because we have been living in financial cloud cuckoo land since 2008. However, the DOWNSIDE of ultra low interest rates and low inflation as we have had it for years, is that mortgage debt, like any other debt, has to be repaid. Of course, higher inflation, as was the norm until the 2000s (it was 9.5% in 1990), and higher interest rates of 5/6/7%, also the norm then, (I paid 15% on a mortgage in 1990 at one point) meant a degree of pain through rising prices BUT debt was eroded quickly as a result because wages rose and the debt remained the same. You can’t have it both ways. But I bet there are many thousands of people who believe that current interest rates are in some way normal. They are not, and a degree of inflation that will drive up rates nearer to the historic norm may see the economy start to return to a degeree of equilibrium, although the consequence will be that many people will no longer be able to afford to pay the mortgage and be forced to sell, as happened in 1989/90. This may once again create a flood of property on the market and a lack of willing buyers, just as happened in 1989/90 and prices might well fall, as they did then, by 40 – 50%. Suddenly, property becomes affordable again ….even to the ingrates currently blaming the older generation for all of their troubles when, in reality there has never been a better time or a better place to be alive than today in the UK. But I am afraid the W O K E young have no idea how lucky they are to live here.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
2 years ago

The Thatcher Years were Britain’s Last Rally.

Britain is Over now. As a glance at its dreary, self-indulgent and hollow young people makes so clear

Mervyn Taylor
Mervyn Taylor
2 years ago

To this “boomer” (1950 vintage) this article is rendered spurious by its total neglect of the elephant in the room which most fellow boomers acknowledge — immigration.
‘Nuff said.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Mervyn Taylor

Indeed – the incredibly simple law of “supply and demand” seems to pass every young author by.
Presumably the woke SJWs will cancel them if they do 
.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Mervyn Taylor

The boomers wanted mass immigration which is why they kept voting for parties that abetted it. Anything to keep wages down and drive house prices up.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
2 years ago

Whilst I can’t disagree with most of this article, the author misses out a crucial point. Who benefitted from Lockdowns, and cheered them on the most, terrified that all they had would be taken from them by the dreaded Covid? The very old were denied medical treatment, neglected, and many of them euthanised in care homes. Meanwhile the younger generations were denied work or locked up in poor accommodation, and are now facing inflation and huge taxes for their trouble. Meanwhile, I suppose the Boomers were unable do an excursion in their Honda Jazz.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick Wade
boris karloff
boris karloff
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

No, unfortunately we were unable to do an excursion in our Honda Jazz because, apparently, we were all being euthanised in care homes.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

The only ‘boomers’ I know who cheered on lockdowns were journalists (virtually ALL of them), Opposition politicians, Sage/Alt. Sage communists, Mayors and First Ministers. Decisions with catastrophic consequences such as this would normally be subjected to a forensic review of the facts of doing/not doing etc. Our idiot PM just took the line of least resistance.
The young have a lean enough deal as it is – you and I can at least agree on that. So I and many, many other ‘boomers’ weren’t buying what the above mob were selling, as it was guaranteed to make things even worse for those in society who should be helped the most. If we had a functioning health service we could easily have identified the majority of the vulnerable and approached the problem from that direction. The very early analysis from the largely sensible Scandis and South Koreans (who know what an actual pandemic looks like) supported that approach from the off.
Anyway, James the tone of your article was totally off but enjoy the pay-cheque anyway. At least we have you and Will Lloyd fully signed up as members of the Vine/Lineker campaign for inter-generational hate. All due to the consequences of actions for which THEIR professions enthusiastically clamoured.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
2 years ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

Perhaps I’m personally scarred? My village is full of Boomers, and when I went around leafleting against lockdown, there were complaints on the online notice board, and one person even wrote to the local MP to complain!

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Sorry to hear that Nick, and good for you for campaigning against the madness. I’d change things for the young if I could, believe me, just to have the same opportunities I had from 11 upwards; and I was not from a privileged background. The demonisation of the old troubles me. The conspiracy theorist in me (!) feels this is stirred up by people who would rather we blame “the other” as opposed to politicians of the past 50 years, and certainly the last 25, who have largely changed society in such a way as to deny the equality of opportunity that I enjoyed.

Lorna Dobson
Lorna Dobson
2 years ago

Most of the Baby Boomers started their careers during the horrendous ’70’s and early ’80’s when there was rampant inflation, slow business growth, and gas shortages followed by a deep, devastating recession in the early ’80’s. Many Boomers were well into their 30’s before the economy started rebounding in 1983. Because of that, they became ambitious and worked hard to advance themselves in their respective careers and build what fortunes they could. Don’t tell me that things are worse for the Millenials and Z-ers; it may be more a matter of character rather than circumstance that is dooming them.
I’m a Boomer, still working at age 70, when many of the pampered generations are still in their parent’s cellar playing games, spouting woke dogma, and eschewing work. Ask the businesses trying to hire them, or worse, living with their entitled attitudes.

Martin 0
Martin 0
2 years ago

Young people always vote overwhelmingly against the Conservative Party.
Young people are naive and ignorant and idealistic.
Once they grow up and get some experience, a large number of them drift over to realism and wisdom (some don’t) and start to vote Conservative.

Sigurd D
Sigurd D
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin 0

Old people always vote overwhelmingly for the Conservative Party.
Old people are self-centred and incurious and cynical.
Once they grow old and lose their faculties, a large number of them drift over to irrational fear and egoism (some don’t) and start to vote Conservative.

Joff Brown
Joff Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Sigurd D

Old people are self-centred and incurious and cynical.”
Absolute BS.

Sigurd D
Sigurd D
2 years ago
Reply to  Joff Brown

Just like the comment above it.

Tony Coslett
Tony Coslett
2 years ago

A total misunderstanding of a far more complex reality. Firstly, I’m a ‘baby boomer’ home owning pensioner able to buy a house only in the last five years having occupied tithed accommodation up until that point. Secondly, my late wife and I in the early years of our marriage spent most of our single parent in work salary on rent, most of it, taxes, heating and lighting and other mandatory utility bills long before we could afford food and then our very young child came first. Charity shops were our main source of income and most of our furniture was donated by friends and neighbours. ‘New’ was not an option. After 40 years and more together our fortunes had changed and we ended up reasonably well off. But only because we expected little at the start and worked as hard as we could for our daughters sake. Indeed, we both found ourselves working for degrees and qualifications which proved hard graft over a number of years but it paid off. We ate frugally but nutritiously. I’m now 73 but most of my life, from babyhood onwards, has been spent under the dark clouds of the, now renewed, threat of nuclear conflict. My generation knew poverty back then and many of us recall bomb sites and slums still very present until and after the nineteen sixties. We had much in common with those young people today who face housing issues as did we. The difference is we didn’t have a sense of ‘entitlement’ nor did we feel that everything we needed had to be new. Indeed,the world today would benefit from a change of attitude in the West where consumerism has been driving extreme poverty in most parts of the world. It is worth recalling that the advantages the young enjoy today, and there are distinct advantages enjoyed by todays young adults, are theirs by dint of the work put in by the ‘Baby Boomers’ to rebuild this country after two devastating world wars. Those who are not pensioners or who were born this century or towards the end of the last are net receivers from the pensioners who are moving on and handing over a world, despite its tragedies and it’s fears, that is far better than the one we were born into. The advantages you enjoy we gifted to you so forgive us, please, those of us who can, for enjoying some of the fruits of our own labours. In the meantime perhaps now you will seek to build as we built rather than blaming others for your own plight. We know what it’s like but we did something about it! Your current plight is not of our making and there remain far too many pensioners subsisting below the poverty line. The author of this article really does need to mature before he exposes his views to ridicule. By the way: I don’t vote Tory. Never have and never will. I’m fundamentally opposed to most of what they do and cannot see this present administration ousted soon enough. Finally, my working life has been spent trying to enable the young to develop themselves and all of these from backgrounds of some disadvantage.

Steve Pickard
Steve Pickard
2 years ago

It’s not rocket science. It’s very simple.
The Tories gained their landslide on the back of Brexit voters and the white working class with promises of reform and curbing migration.
Instead they gave us green poverty and floods of migrants. Considering these and many other issues they simply haven’t done what they were elected to do.
So people who voted for them in 2019 won’t bother next time unless they actually deliver… fast. Talk and spin won’t cut it any more.

William Jackson
William Jackson
2 years ago

A lazy article relying on a stereotype that does not hold water. A few boomers have done/did very well and hit gold, the vast majority certainly did not.

What is being experienced today is a fraction of the inflation, unemployment, civil unrest and inequality, I, and many others have experienced throughout our lifetime’s.

Example, in the early mid 80ies I was paying a business loan at 5% over the base rate (14%,), which meant I was paying interest of a little over 18%.

Born (the son of Satan), and abandoned in 1956 later adopted, sexually and physically abused as a child (who cared? No one), no educational qualifications (as I was too stupid, many years later my stupidy got a lable, dyslexia), ergo no further or university education. I worked from the age of 15, experienced bankruptcy, no private pension pot, savings (as if), I do not smoke, drink or do drugs.

I am not claiming to be special, typical or representative, mine is just one example of how far removed this article is from an individual lived reality.

A life framed as a fight to survive, without any doubt. Born during the baby boom years, undoubtedly, a boomer, don’t make me laugh. Wishes of Health and Peace to all.

Mark Chadwick
Mark Chadwick
2 years ago

How can you blame anything on an entire generation? The author sounds like another left-wing grievance monger cunningly trying to single them out. Membership of the EU is what’s ruined this country (and all our mainstream political parties for that matter). It’s corrosive effects have far outweighed the advantages.

Alan Birks
Alan Birks
2 years ago

I left school at age 16 and worked for 53 years, so of course I’ll have accumulated more money than a millennial. If they work for 50+ years then they should have more money than they do now too.
Two other things spring to mind. First, from my late teens to my mid thirties I was well left of the Labour Party in terms of my political beliefs. I’m not now. As millennials get older, it’s likely they’ll think very differently. Second, in my early twenties I seem to remember that the U.K. population was around 55 million. In a relatively short space of time, it has probably grown to at least 70 million. There are limits to the extent to which an island measuring around 900 miles by 400 miles, with no real surplus of natural resources or infrastructure can maintain the living standards of a population growing so fast.

Ken Charman
Ken Charman
2 years ago

I agree with any criticism of Johnson but can I recommend the author to Matthew Goodwin to develop an understanding of how his generation will be no different to the boomers who were themselves radical and whingeing as younger adults and grew into asset holding conservatives as their lifeclocks ticked off the years. Young people are always progressive but they dont stay young.

Rod Munch
Rod Munch
2 years ago
Reply to  Ken Charman

Except those asset-holding conservatives are now living 20-30 years longer than before, having benefitted from lifelong medical care and more recent policies that continue to ensure their wealth and comfort. That cohort now enjoy incomes in retirement higher than the working people who are paying tax to support their pensions, like it says in the article. Boomers are benefiting from being a larger voting bloc, voting for their own self interest whilst calling younger folk whingers for attempting to look after their own interests. If there’s one thing that politics has accomplished in this country it’s division. Division of people down every line possible.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rod Munch
Tony Coslett
Tony Coslett
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Munch

I do wish folks would keep talking about the boomers as if we were all the same! I never have and never will vote Tory and any cash I have belongs to my family and is used especially for my grandsons well being. Income in our family has always been family income! But we also support those causes that are specifically directed towards the young: Centrepoint for instance.!

Joff Brown
Joff Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Munch

Boomers are benefitting from their hard work and prudence.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Munch

The b*st*ds? Living longer, how dare they? Compulsory euthanasia is the only answer. Think of all the housing stock that would be freed, and the jobs that those overprivileged boomers are keeping for themselves made available for all those unemployed younger people just waiting for a job to come their way.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod Munch

‘They hated him because he told them the truth.’

Kal Bevan
Kal Bevan
2 years ago

What a load of absolute rubbish! Did this fool do any research at all? Sweeping generalisations throughout the ageist article. Not all pensioners are boomers – many are still around who grew up during WW2. Back in those days there were no private or workplace pensions for most, all they had to look forward to was a State pension. Many pensioners over 70 live on just the basic pension and in real terms it has been getting less and less. Removing the triple lock will see many elderly people struggle to survive this coming winter – my mother got an increase of ÂŁ4 per month, her supported housing rent went up more than that! Her council tax went up, as has food, energy etc
 but this idiot informs us that pensioners are well off. Mr Dickson – I suggest you get your head out of your own a**e and take a look at life outside the affluent south east
.

David L
David L
2 years ago

Compare and contrast the quality of the Cabinet in Mrs Thatcher’s first two terms – it fell off in the third term – with that of Johnson – or his predecessors. The Johnson Government is incapable of treating the problems afflicting the UK. Sadly, neither is the Opposition.

Good article, by the way: and I’m a boomer.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
2 years ago

This article makes for depressing reading. It is a good assessment of the political cowardice and lack of vision of the modern day, mediocre, incompetent political class.

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
2 years ago

Boomers sang the last hurrah for the United Kingdom. The end of Johnson’s Conservatives will be much welcomed, even though it undoubtedly will usher in a fate far worse. The party’s over, and it only leaves historians to document how on earth we fell so far, so fast.

James Kirk
James Kirk
2 years ago

As a boomer, life wan’t all roses until the late 70s. We had Wilson and Callaghan with militant trade unions. They and the accountants doomed the car industry and gave our advanced aerospace technology to the Yanks.
With the years and experience comes promotion, better salaries. My children grew up, enjoyed and eventually expected and achieved a nice lifestyle. They knew they had to work for it. Millennials aren’t all bad but many waste three years listening to Marx or rap at Uni instead of becoming plumbers, builders and electricians; with second homes with pools in the Med. More recent arrivals can’t knock a nail in, nor would dream of doing so, like, I imagine, this author above. Isn’t there a little man to do that?
If Putin does get nasty it’ll be boomers with plans to organise and rebuild dragged out of retirement by the phone controlled Love Island Macchiato feckless. Thank heavens for the Armed Forces. Download practical Youtube videos now and store them in a Faraday case against EMP.

George Marshall
George Marshall
2 years ago

Great article.
For those older folk in the comments resistant to this critique – imagine you were transported in the body of a young person today starting from the bottom, with a degree, middle class parents and a decent CV with work experience. So a relatively strong economic foundation…
I have no doubt that your generation’s social attitudes and wisdom of experience would benefit you in your efforts to build up a good life and income. No doubt.
However, I also know just how much of a shock grappling with the new realities of this economy and the modern work environment would be for you.
You might succeed where a self absorbed, or lazy millennial would fail, but you would also realise how little of a chance there would be of replicating the financial status and stability of your parents within the same time frame.
Merit and hard work is not rewarded in the same way within the contemporary knowledge economy. It’s not simply graft that nets you a salary that can beat out inflation and rent/mortgage payments. It’s a lottery of finding yourself plonked in the right sinecure. Sinecures that go to people who talk the right kind of talk and can parse through the grind of red tape, bureaucracy, (and in certain public institutions, radical political correctness).
This office political savvy requires intelligence for sure, but you aren’t going to brute force your way to savings – whilst at the same time having your own home, a family, and a social life in keeping with the standards of your peers. Things which the millennials recognise their parents as having been able to have all together – aspirations which, unlike them, they now have to choose between.
You might think there are some hacks or sacrifices you could make to get ahead, but what you don’t realise is how those kind of sacrifices are often actively prohibited by society. We are dealing with an economy that punishes saving and provides endless nudges to spend. It’s an economy that well suits pensioners with disposable income. When you’re a young worker today receiving a significantly worse trade off for your efforts, and even having your efforts restricted in ways that earlier generations wouldn’t recognise, it’s understandable why they would come to feel aggrieved. Especially considering the abundant graphs outlining the generational wealth disparity that you can’t fail to have seen.
This disparity is descriptively and simply not going to even out if we follow the same economic track that boomers tend to vote for.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

Excellent post

Hugh R
Hugh R
2 years ago

It’s the Ponzi collapse of BTL.
Yep, and Boomers played their part.

Steve Pickard
Steve Pickard
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh R

BTL started because the government raided peoples pensions and made their savings look unsafe. This caused a massive shift of private, small money into property. Also, as long as they keep the ponzi migration going the ponzi housing shortage will remain. All the government are looking to do is change who owns the property, enter Blackrock, SERCO, etc..

SIMON WOLF
SIMON WOLF
2 years ago

Agree with much of the article but it misses out the way the left have taken control of the education system and culture since the 1980’s and the influence that has.The typical left wing activist nowadays is a school teacher or a disgruntled graduate with an arts or social sciences degree.

harry storm
harry storm
2 years ago

RE: This bloc of voters, owing to their similar age, wealth and health needs, are all likely to have comparable public spending and policy priorities.
Not sure what planet the author lives on, but here on planet Earth, boomers are as divided with regard to politics (i.e. public spending and policy priorities) as any other population cohort.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
2 years ago

There is a kind of meta reason for the modern Conservative party to be in power: to facilitate the transfer of wealth “upwards” from one section of society to another. We know who those sections are. To achieve this, staying power is literally all they need to do. They don’t need “ideas” or a “vision”. They’re basically an organised crime group. And dividing ourselves into groups with silly names like “Boomer” and then fighting each other over the scraps they allow us to keep is just following their gameplan. Divide/rule – it’s a cliche because it’s true.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
2 years ago

Is this click bait? The boomer generation were grafters. Many too proud to go on the dole. Who did pocket money jobs,, holiday jobs, and worked as soon as left school. They were the first generation where ordinary people bought a house, thus consolidating Tory values. On top of which they did not waste resources nor bung up the NHS.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

Are we as a nation not now in exactly the same climate of political sentiment, dissatisfaction and anger that saw the creation of the SDP, then Lib Dems? We desperately need a new demi-equivalent, but to succeed it must major on freedom of expression, and the eradication of the nanny state, and last but not least, re shaping Britain’s economy and tax/ investment laws on a Swiss/Liechtenstein hybrid… Just imagine a country in which politicians can tell people who do want to work that they will keep 90 odd percent of their earnings, as well as those who cannot work have what is left of the state bureaucracy, rich enough to pay them ÂŁ30 k a year for life, because such vast amounts of capital, investment and new revenues have flocked to New Britain?

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
2 years ago

I agree that young people are getting hammered. But isn’t that the point of big government, spending right now about 40 percent of GDP?
It is, of course, monstrous that housing prices have vaulted into the stratosphere. But believe me, there is plenty of room for houses in the UK. Get caught circling waiting to land at Heathrow and see the fields from horizon to horizon. Drive from London to Brighton and watch the sheep gambol in the meadows and the occasional mansion with a fashionable electric car outside. There Is Lots of Room for More Houses!
Seriously, when the government is spending 40 percent of GDP that means 40 percent of the economy is up for sale to the highest bidder in terms of subsidy and carve-outs and planet-sainv renewable energy. The only way for young people to get ahead is to destroy the welfare state. But, since they have been carefully taught to believe that the welfare state is the best thing since sliced bread, then young people will in fact vote to Make Things Worse. It’s a shame.
Hmm. I just checked the numbers. Money supply is up 7 times since 1990; the FTSE is up 3.2 times the level in 1990; Homes are up 5.2 times the level of 1990. So really, things are really bad on the economic “accumulation” front, but home prices are not increasing as fast as the money supply. Still, the numbers in the US are better. Money up 8 times; S&P up 18 times; homes up 4.4 times.

Last edited 2 years ago by Christopher Chantrill
Andrew Sweeney
Andrew Sweeney
2 years ago

Another whinge. The problem with victim politics is that despite the multitude of expressions of solidarity and sympathy everyone secretly knows and thinks (apart from the self declared victims themselves) is that the real word is “losers”. Get a life yourself instead of envying the people who managed to achieve something.

James Kirk
James Kirk
2 years ago

As a boomer, life wan’t all roses until the late 70s. We had Wilson and Callaghan with militant trade unions. They and the accountants doomed the car industry and gave our advanced aerospace technology to the Yanks.
With the years and experience comes promotion, better salaries. My children grew up, enjoyed and eventually expected and achieved a nice lifestyle. They knew they had to work for it. Millennials aren’t all bad but many waste three years listening to Marx or rap at Uni instead of becoming plumbers, builders and electricians; with second homes with pools in the Med. More recent arrivals can’t knock a nail in, nor would dream of doing so, like, I imagine, this author above. Isn’t there a little man to do that?
If Putin does get nasty it’ll be boomers with plans to organise and rebuild dragged out of retirement by the phone controlled Love Island Macchiato feckless. Thank heavens for the Armed Forces. Download practical Youtube videos now and store them in a Faraday case against EMP.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

Thatcher understood the importance of home ownership giving people a stake in capitalism. Cameron, May and Johnson have not understood. They deserve to go down in history as incompetent politicians.

James Kirk
James Kirk
2 years ago
  • As a boomer, life wan’t all roses until the late 70s. We had Wilson and Callaghan with militant trade unions. They and the accountants doomed the car industry and gave our advanced aerospace technology to the Yanks.
  • With the years and experience comes promotion, better salaries. My children grew up, enjoyed and eventually expected and achieved a nice lifestyle. They knew they had to work for it. Millennials aren’t all bad but many waste three years listening to Marx or rap at Uni instead of becoming plumbers, builders and electricians; with second homes with pools in the Med. More recent arrivals can’t knock a nail in, nor would dream of doing so, like, I imagine, this author above. Isn’t there a little man to do that?
  • If Putin does get nasty it’ll be boomers with plans to organise and rebuild dragged out of retirement by the phone controlled Love Island Macchiato feckless. Thank heavens for the Armed Forces. Download practical Youtube videos now and store them in a Faraday case against EMP.
Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
2 years ago

I like Boris’s cup. I have one like it. Whether he should go or not, I do not know. He is still a booster for our country. Time will tell.

Paul Harris
Paul Harris
2 years ago

I must protest at the characterisation of boomers voting for the Tories uniformly.I never have and don’t think I ever will.However a democratic vote revealed the selfish side to Thatcher’s generation.I do remember Thatcher proclaiming that ’wealth would cascade down the generations’ and given the reliance upon the bank of Mum and Dad, she may have a point for the few.

boris karloff
boris karloff
2 years ago

Remember that song by UB40 “I’m just a one in ten”
Written and sung by Boomers about the Boomers young life. Only thing they got wrong was that the figures were much worse.

Paddy O'Plenty
Paddy O'Plenty
2 years ago

Gosh, I am so glad to be Gen X, in the great civil war between Boomers and Millennials no one ever notices us sitting in the corner chuckling.

john mcgill
john mcgill
2 years ago

I wonder how Labour is gong to use its opportunities to sway voters? Not with current leaders, perhaps? The shell game that is Toryism is finally coming to an end but what replaces it? Whining, “poor me” syndrome and very few policies. Reverse the Brexit train? Too late for that?

Mike MacCormack
Mike MacCormack
2 years ago

+’It would only take a rule change from the committee to see Johnson fall’
They’d better move quickly or else ‘the commitee’ will be held responsible for Johnson’s survival yet again. It’s unedifying to see the Tories’ naked calculations; bums to the country, what’s best for me? All those one nation Tories who fail to act now will in the end be deemed as scurrilous as the carpetbaggers who make up Johnson’s handpicked governmental team – undoubtedly the least talented, sleaziest, most selfish bunch of chancers since the civil war.

N T
N T
2 years ago

It’s fascinating that the situation in The Colonies was the reverse, then, and is, now, with the Democrats in charge.