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The Tories have lost their millennial converts They have alienated a post-materialist generation

The iron law of Conservatism has broken. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

The iron law of Conservatism has broken. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)


June 14, 2023   5 mins

“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.” This iron law of conservatism, falsely attributed to Winston Churchill and countless others, has nonetheless held true for decades. But that appears to be shifting: not only have Tory millennials become an endangered species, but Brits are no longer moving to the Right as they get older. According to one recent YouGov poll. just 6% of 18-24 year olds would vote Tory if an election was held tomorrow, a figure that rises to a measly 10% for 25-49 year olds.

Two explanations are offered for this trend. The first has its roots in 2010. Since then, this theory holds, we have seen the end of Education Maintenance Allowance, the doubling of student fees, the growing inaccessibility of the housing market to those without inherited wealth, and, of course, Brexit. The under-50s neither voted for this Tory policy platform nor stand to benefit from it. They are unlikely to reward a party that appears to want to prolong their insecurity; their refusal to drift Right with age, then, is a result of their material conditions.

The second explanation is longer term and comes down to shifting values. Its roots are much deeper, dating back to the battle for Hampstead during the general Election of 1966, when the north London constituency returned a Labour MP for the first time. “In an earlier era, it would have been unthinkable that Labour could win so middle-class a seat,” writes the geo-demographic expert Richard Webber in The Predictive Postcode. In the 50 years since, “there has been a huge growth in the size, confidence, and influence of this particular geo-demographic group. A radical minority, once fabled for its eccentric habits — shopping at Habitat, reading Private Eye, wearing sandals, eating muesli, and supporting human rights — 
 has now come to dominate large swathes of inner London.”

The academic study of values looks at the underlying motivations and unmet psychological needs which drive individuals across societies. A range of different models exist, but all identify a similar long-term pattern: as economies grow and education levels rise, the values of the population edge towards some variation of “post-materialism”. This term was coined by Ronald Inglehart, founder of the World Values Survey, to describe the tendency to prioritise principles such as self-expression and personal autonomy over financial considerations. The 1966 Hampstead result was an early indicator of post-materialist values taking root in the UK, and since then, they have become far more widespread.

What does this shift mean in practice? Those with post-materialist values often place ethics and inner fulfilment ahead of more obvious economic interests at the ballot box. Their values are expressed through concerns about equality, freedom of speech and the environment; through a dedication to larger-than-self causes and to internationalist or universalist ideas about national borders; and through a tendency to agree with statements along the lines of “ideas are more important than money”.

The idea here is not simply that everyone who reaches a certain level of resource security will immediately move towards post-materialism. People’s values are rooted in both psychology and life experiences, and they change only slowly, over time. A pensioner raised in an era of poverty and rationing may see politics in terms of protecting and conserving resources, despite now having the material security of home ownership. Conversely, a graduate who has spent their formative years in social circles which emphasise ethics and freedom of expression will usually retain these values, even as they struggle to pay the rent.

Even so, post-materialists now comprise a large part of the electorate — rising, according an IPPR paper from the early 2010s, from 19% of the population in 1973 to 38% in 2012. This has created a headache for all mainstream politicians, but especially for those on the Right. Of course, post-materialists are not all social justice activists, nor are they all explicitly Left-wing; they may not even be that exercised about party politics. But progressive parties do represent a far more natural home for them, and so Right-of-centre movements have to work harder to win their votes.

David Cameron’s Conservative Party appeared to acknowledge this. And while few post-materialists will have had much love for the coalition government, there was a concerted effort in to keep them on board. Mainly this came down to tone, but it was also clear in specific policies, such as support for gay marriage.

The Leave vote in 2016 changed this. The Tories realised they could use the large and highly visible presence of post-materialists as populist leverage. They could aim their guns at liberal elites or “woke” youngsters and build a new voter coalition, containing everyone who felt abandoned or confused by the post-materialist shift. Strategists such as Dominic Cummings reasoned that post-materialists were an electoral minority, and an inefficiently distributed one at that, prone to congregating in cities. There was little to be lost by antagonising them. Indeed, getting a reaction was part of the point.

This plan had no immediately obvious downsides from a Conservative perspective. And it was easy for them to exploit it thanks to the antics of some on the progressive Left, who were often happy to take the bait. Their success was such that the average post-materialist will have spent the past decade feeling that their values were in decline rather than in ascent.

But this Faustian strategy could not last. To begin with, post-materialist values are becoming increasingly common, and so attacking them will bring diminishing returns in the long term. The harder the attacks, the more ground the Conservatives will ultimately have to row back on. If they have nothing positive to say to post-materialists, then they are building in their own obsolescence.

Moreover, there will have been a significant group of more cautious post-materialists who, up until a few years ago, were willing to vote for a liberal or One Nation iteration of Toryism. The loss of these voters since 2016 appears to have been treated by the Conservatives as collateral damage. But this means they have had to lean even more heavily on Leave voters and other groups who, while culturally at odds with post-materialists on issues such as crime, will have been just as horrified by raucous lockdown breaches followed by a Budget which caused the economy to collapse.

The plot against the post-materialists, then, now seems to be reaching its endgame, and many are doubling down. Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith’s recent call on voters to buy own-brand beans is a perfect illustration: it speaks to the most basic concerns about resource protection and scarcity, and ignores the big picture altogether.

Ultimately, the rise of post-materialism is a gradual, organic process, taking place in most developed countries as societies become more materially comfortable. This is not to say it doesn’t come with challenges. Helen Lewis’s excellent radio series, The New Gurus, illustrated that a society where everyone is in search of meaning rather than money carries perils of its own — and may not always be an especially nice place to live. But this doesn’t mean the rise of post-materialism is an elite plot or an institutional “capture”, as figures on the populist Right such as Matthew Goodwin have interpreted it. Nor is it a mass surrender to “Marxism” or “paganism”, contrary to what some of the speakers at the recent National Conservatism Conference reportedly believe.

Can the Right tempt young and middle-aged voters back into the fold? Policies which improve childcare provisions, fix the housing market, or create economic stability could, hypothetically, make a difference. There are few people so concerned about inner fulfilment as to not care about paying the mortgage. But if you look at the age gap data, what is striking is that the voting divide really kicked in after 2015, when the Tories began to signal at every opportunity that they were not just opposed to liberal and post-material ideas, but, in many cases, that they actively hated them.

From Suella Braverman talking about an “invasion” of migrants to Lee Anderson backing the death penalty, the Tories have used language and taken positions which have damaged their brand far more than the sum of their individual policies ever could. Starting to back policies which advance the interests of younger voters would of course be a start. But if the Tories continue to go to war with the values which many younger voters hold, then this “lost generation” will be the first of many.


Chris Clarke is a social researcher and former political press officer, and is the author of The Dark Knight and the Puppet Master

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Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

Having read all this, what jumps out at me is this: to be post materialistic and swan around saying “ideas are more important than money”, you have to be able to afford it. Middle class millennials who have never known anything except material comfort take it for granted and think it will always form a foundation to their post-material world of pronouns and open borders.
People without that basic financial cushioning will understand that the post-materialistic positions set out in this article are contradictory: being in favour of open borders but then complaining about a lack of affordable housing? Come on, think a bit! And you can only waffle on about how “ideas are more important than money” if you have enough money not to have to worry. I can’t really picture someone relying on a food bank saying this.
I think this whole development is a sign of a society which has been comfortable and wealthy (and coddled by the state) for so long that an understanding of where that comfort and state provision has come from and what it takes to sustain it has ebbed away. It will take hard times to get that understanding back.
In short, I think we millennials are going to lead a kind of charge of the Light Brigade down the valley marked “Post-Materialism”, get slaughtered to a man when the Boomer cash is all used up and we realise that trying to live on love and air isn’t sustainable and have to limp out and rebuild in a more realistic fashion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Great comment. Even my boomer generation grew up thinking the way the West is, is some kind of natural order. It is a fragile thing, built over centuries and may yet be brought down by vague ideas of virtue.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I fully believe that Millennials (and also Gen Z) will end up going down in history as the most feckless generation of all time.
Not to go all “Mike & the Mechanics” on you, but every generation really does blame the one before, and there is a reason for that. I grumble about Boomers for sure.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that, in a few decades’ time, the next generation-but-one after us Millennials are going to have a much saltier slogan for us than “OK, Boomer”.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Although I still recall just about an era when young people also emulated their ancestors. Boys wanted to be like their dads or other heroes or if I’d had my way, an officer (obviously) in WW2.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

This article somehow misses the central shift in values which first impacted the Blairite Post 97 Children..aka Millennials. They have been drenched in a supposedly modern progressive Leftist way of thinking from primary school onwards, poor saps. The ‘old’ conservative values of personal responsibility, family, community liberty and enterprise which made our history great have all been assaulted, replaced and rejected by the new progressive credos. Absolutist Me Me human rights and ever expanding entitlements of the individual (furlough bail out/rental bail out/energy bail out/5m anxious Welfarists) have seen the Big Brother State take primary responsibility for our prosperity and livelihood…and they buy into this, having gorged on the BBC’s identitarian equality mad propaganda for 20 years. They wail at the discriminatory notion of tax cuts (evil!) and will scream for a mortgage bail out given they got unlucky with the inevitable unravellimg of the post 2008 Zero Interest Rate & Timebomb. This turmoil will indeed turn them politically toward the promise of an NHS First authoritarian Race Obsessed Progressive state. But the greater disaster is the deliberate and sustained cultural assault on those core traditional conservative values under the EU/Blair New Order in all the under 40 generations. But older Propetocrat Boomers cannot claim any virtue. The way they let naked greed and self interest direct their dirty fight to preserve the EU status Quo and so hang on to their unmerited million pound property gains showed no example to the younger generations. All now will reap the bitter harvests of the last 30 years of misrule and cultural atrophy

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Although I still recall just about an era when young people also emulated their ancestors. Boys wanted to be like their dads or other heroes or if I’d had my way, an officer (obviously) in WW2.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

This article somehow misses the central shift in values which first impacted the Blairite Post 97 Children..aka Millennials. They have been drenched in a supposedly modern progressive Leftist way of thinking from primary school onwards, poor saps. The ‘old’ conservative values of personal responsibility, family, community liberty and enterprise which made our history great have all been assaulted, replaced and rejected by the new progressive credos. Absolutist Me Me human rights and ever expanding entitlements of the individual (furlough bail out/rental bail out/energy bail out/5m anxious Welfarists) have seen the Big Brother State take primary responsibility for our prosperity and livelihood…and they buy into this, having gorged on the BBC’s identitarian equality mad propaganda for 20 years. They wail at the discriminatory notion of tax cuts (evil!) and will scream for a mortgage bail out given they got unlucky with the inevitable unravellimg of the post 2008 Zero Interest Rate & Timebomb. This turmoil will indeed turn them politically toward the promise of an NHS First authoritarian Race Obsessed Progressive state. But the greater disaster is the deliberate and sustained cultural assault on those core traditional conservative values under the EU/Blair New Order in all the under 40 generations. But older Propetocrat Boomers cannot claim any virtue. The way they let naked greed and self interest direct their dirty fight to preserve the EU status Quo and so hang on to their unmerited million pound property gains showed no example to the younger generations. All now will reap the bitter harvests of the last 30 years of misrule and cultural atrophy

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I fully believe that Millennials (and also Gen Z) will end up going down in history as the most feckless generation of all time.
Not to go all “Mike & the Mechanics” on you, but every generation really does blame the one before, and there is a reason for that. I grumble about Boomers for sure.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that, in a few decades’ time, the next generation-but-one after us Millennials are going to have a much saltier slogan for us than “OK, Boomer”.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

This would be the millennials that have massive student debts, came of age after the credit crunch and endured over a decade of stagnant wages, pay record rents, record taxes and face record house prices, not to mention expensive privatised utilities and poorly performing underfunded public services? Doesn’t sound very financially cosseted to me personally

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes, Millennials have had (and will continue) to face headwinds for which we weren’t (entirely) responsible. But your comment expresses another characteristic of the Millennial generation which Gen Z are only to pleased to carry on: the inability to take responsibility and tendency to retreat into a sort of “woe-is-us, blame everyone else” victimhood mentality…if that remains so widespread and persistent then I do not have any hope for things getting better.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

So they just need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and all their problems would disappear? This is despite the fact that they on average work longer hours than previous generations, save a higher proportion of their income, drink less, smoke less, start families later and paid to give themselves a higher education. They’ve done everything society told them that was required to get ahead and yet found themselves with nothing to show for it, why shouldn’t they complain about the hand they’ve been dealt?
For most of their lives they’ve also been vastly outnumbered by the older generations, it’s only now they have the numbers to be a strong enough voting bloc to turn society in their favour. It will be interesting to see what they do with it going forward

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m not saying they/we shouldn’t complain. It’s totally understandable to think “thanks a bloomin’ bunch!” about certain issues previous generations have caused and left us to deal with. I’m advocating a bit more awareness of how our own failures and weaknesses have fed into the malaise and that whinging will make precisely nothing better.
Like it or not, Millennials are starting to be in the driver’s seat now (Rishi Sunak is a millennial for example) and are responsible for ensuring that things do get better for those coming up behind us. They will not thank us for just curling up in a sorry little ball in the corner and giving up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Turn society in their favour? What by taxing others more and spending even more? The very problems that got us into this mess. Good luck with that.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m not saying they/we shouldn’t complain. It’s totally understandable to think “thanks a bloomin’ bunch!” about certain issues previous generations have caused and left us to deal with. I’m advocating a bit more awareness of how our own failures and weaknesses have fed into the malaise and that whinging will make precisely nothing better.
Like it or not, Millennials are starting to be in the driver’s seat now (Rishi Sunak is a millennial for example) and are responsible for ensuring that things do get better for those coming up behind us. They will not thank us for just curling up in a sorry little ball in the corner and giving up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Turn society in their favour? What by taxing others more and spending even more? The very problems that got us into this mess. Good luck with that.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

So they just need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and all their problems would disappear? This is despite the fact that they on average work longer hours than previous generations, save a higher proportion of their income, drink less, smoke less, start families later and paid to give themselves a higher education. They’ve done everything society told them that was required to get ahead and yet found themselves with nothing to show for it, why shouldn’t they complain about the hand they’ve been dealt?
For most of their lives they’ve also been vastly outnumbered by the older generations, it’s only now they have the numbers to be a strong enough voting bloc to turn society in their favour. It will be interesting to see what they do with it going forward

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Under funded public services, are you being serious; we have the biggest tax take in living memory and we borrow another 12 % annually on top of that. There is plenty of money going into public services, it’s their productivity levels that need to be improved.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

The only service that’s close to being funded properly now is the NHS. The massive recent increases in its budget only now brings the healthcare spend up to its European counterparts as a % of GDP. As recently as 6 years ago the Germans were spending an extra 25% per head of population, and almost triple on hospital infrastructure, it will take many years to catch up the deficit.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

You know why that tax might be so high? Because do you know where else plenty of public money is going? Directly into the pockets of national rail shareholders (despite record losses) and of the government’s pals (baroness Mone etc) and others who helped provide a useless track and trace service for more than ÂŁ37bn. Not to mention all the rip off retns *WE* the taxpayers are giving directly to landlords because so many millenials cannot afford their rent because we’re supposed to keep paying for rising housing costs off the back of wages which (for most people) have been stagnant for 40 years
And because of Thatcher’s short-term opportunistic throwing away of state assets which ensured good income streams for the government (a strategy all politicians since have followed), we now need to tax more than ever. Here’s Harold Macmillan (a true Tory in my view) on Thatcher’s privatisation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1ssGrq5S3w&t=13s

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

What are you talking about? The railways are sh*t!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

‘They’ have been since 1945 if not 1914.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

‘They’ have been since 1945 if not 1914.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

The only service that’s close to being funded properly now is the NHS. The massive recent increases in its budget only now brings the healthcare spend up to its European counterparts as a % of GDP. As recently as 6 years ago the Germans were spending an extra 25% per head of population, and almost triple on hospital infrastructure, it will take many years to catch up the deficit.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

You know why that tax might be so high? Because do you know where else plenty of public money is going? Directly into the pockets of national rail shareholders (despite record losses) and of the government’s pals (baroness Mone etc) and others who helped provide a useless track and trace service for more than ÂŁ37bn. Not to mention all the rip off retns *WE* the taxpayers are giving directly to landlords because so many millenials cannot afford their rent because we’re supposed to keep paying for rising housing costs off the back of wages which (for most people) have been stagnant for 40 years
And because of Thatcher’s short-term opportunistic throwing away of state assets which ensured good income streams for the government (a strategy all politicians since have followed), we now need to tax more than ever. Here’s Harold Macmillan (a true Tory in my view) on Thatcher’s privatisation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1ssGrq5S3w&t=13s

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

What are you talking about? The railways are sh*t!

P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Compared to which golden age? Conditions are never perfect.
Many more go to university than they previously did. The generation before them (Generation X) also suffered in the credit crunch and came of age in the dotcom bubble bursting after 9/11. Wages were rising until 2019. Interest rates weren’t much fun for the baby boomers and rental accommodation was notoriously shoddy but more people shared or stayed together as a family. Despite the rhetoric, the utilities are performing much better than their nationalised predecessors. Public services are always underfunded because demand is unlimited. That problem is never going away but now you can get a sex change on the NHS whereas the previous generation just had to live in the body nature intended.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  P N

‘Wages were rising until 2019.’
How do you counter this (from the mail no less)? https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11880433/Workers-11-000-worse-year-stagnant-wages-Resolution-Foundation.html
‘the utilities are performing much better than their nationalised predecessors’
And wondering how you square that with the s*** our water companies are pumping into our rivers, rising gas prices (despite record shareholder profits) and the fact that we the taxpayers have shelled out more than ÂŁ64m to privatised train companies since the pandemic? In return for what? For record losses? If we at least owned the railways again, same as we used to own so much of our housing – all the money going into those services would be going straight back to the government whom I’d much rather have our money than some disinterested profit-maximising shareholder with no concern for the future of our country.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  P N

‘Wages were rising until 2019.’
How do you counter this (from the mail no less)? https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11880433/Workers-11-000-worse-year-stagnant-wages-Resolution-Foundation.html
‘the utilities are performing much better than their nationalised predecessors’
And wondering how you square that with the s*** our water companies are pumping into our rivers, rising gas prices (despite record shareholder profits) and the fact that we the taxpayers have shelled out more than ÂŁ64m to privatised train companies since the pandemic? In return for what? For record losses? If we at least owned the railways again, same as we used to own so much of our housing – all the money going into those services would be going straight back to the government whom I’d much rather have our money than some disinterested profit-maximising shareholder with no concern for the future of our country.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes, Millennials have had (and will continue) to face headwinds for which we weren’t (entirely) responsible. But your comment expresses another characteristic of the Millennial generation which Gen Z are only to pleased to carry on: the inability to take responsibility and tendency to retreat into a sort of “woe-is-us, blame everyone else” victimhood mentality…if that remains so widespread and persistent then I do not have any hope for things getting better.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Under funded public services, are you being serious; we have the biggest tax take in living memory and we borrow another 12 % annually on top of that. There is plenty of money going into public services, it’s their productivity levels that need to be improved.

P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Compared to which golden age? Conditions are never perfect.
Many more go to university than they previously did. The generation before them (Generation X) also suffered in the credit crunch and came of age in the dotcom bubble bursting after 9/11. Wages were rising until 2019. Interest rates weren’t much fun for the baby boomers and rental accommodation was notoriously shoddy but more people shared or stayed together as a family. Despite the rhetoric, the utilities are performing much better than their nationalised predecessors. Public services are always underfunded because demand is unlimited. That problem is never going away but now you can get a sex change on the NHS whereas the previous generation just had to live in the body nature intended.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Post-materialism = luxury beliefs. Money = power = imposing your silly beliefs on others.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Three things in this comment I heavily question:
1) ‘being in favour of open borders but then complaining about a lack of affordable housing? Come on, think a bit!’
I’ve said this before but I guess I have to keep saying it: there are more houses than households in the UK – that fact alone is one you can’t explain by claiming that houses are all getting crammed with immigrant families. They are not. They are being hoarded by an asset class which sees them as a safe investment, all the safer in the face of enfeebled local authorities which are not able to build enough houses because of inadequate land purchasing powers. All the while, private developers and landlowners can sit on land (which, if near any growing city, will inevitavly appreciate in value – not through any effort of their own, but from the work and effort of the community around it from which the land derives its value). In other words, it isn’t hordes of immigrants pushing house prices, it is the hoarding of the super rich, and of private developers building to meet demand, not need.
2) ‘I think this whole development is a sign of a society which has been comfortable and wealthy (and coddled by the state) for so long that an understanding of where that comfort and state provision has come from and what it takes to sustain it has ebbed away. It will take hard times to get that understanding back.’
Well, hard times they are getting, as BB points out, and what is that doing to them? The article also accounts for the fact that people’s values don’t always reflect their present material conditions, reflecting instead those of their early years. It gives the example of boomers who, growing up with rationing, still see their financial situation as precarious, despite often being among the most secure.
Is it also necessarily counter-intuitive that being poorer might make you care less about ideas? If you don’t have much money at your disposal might that make you care even more about ideas? I’m thinking in particular of the highly literate working classes around the turn of the 19th century who would read socialist literature and whom conversation and organisation was the only way out of their misery, or of politicians like Bernie Sanders for whom, without any corporate backing for his campaigns has to rely more than most on ideas and policies and conversations with ordinary people rather than the positive PR barrages from the press which those who’ve flattered the right donors can rely on…
3) ‘Having read all this..’

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Can you provide a link showing the number of houses compared to households please.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yes of course:
Top of second paragraph, where it says that in ‘2021 there were 1.4 million more dwellings than households in England.’
https://positivemoney.org/2023/01/more-than-building-new-houses/#:~:text=However%2C%20census%20data%20released%20last,than%20households%20to%20fill%20them.
Now of course, this statistic alone doesn’t refute that immigration must be putting some pressure on house prices, it just seems that if we want to get angry about the role of foreigners in this regard, we’d do better looking to Russian oligarchs than refugees running for their lives. And if we are looking for the biggest cause in house price inflation, that has very little to do with regulations (9/10 planning request permissions are accepted) or foreigners (consider how many second properties are owned by British pensioners) but an inactive state, that is not delivering on housing for those who need it, as the Tories used to so proudly do (the first council houses were built by Tories after all, with the The Housing of the Working Classes Act in 1890 – three years later the first council estate, Boundary Street, was finished on the border of Shoreditch and Bethnal Green).
And here’s an interview with Tory MP Bim Afolami, where at around 7.30 he talks about 20% of pensioners (understandably btw – I know they’re not evil etc) having second properties:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avy_uJrzluk

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

There is typically always a proportion of vacant properties in any housing market. In fact the UK has what maybe be the lowest rate in Europe at 1%, a far more typical rate is 5-10%, this occurs for a variety of reasons. Rental flats looking for tenants, second homes for commuters, holiday homes, population movement away from undesirable areas, mismatches between property size and quality and demand. It’s normal.

The other problem is using the number of households to measure demand. Children are leaving home later and multiple occupancy has also increased meaning that the number of people per household in the UK is 2.4, compared to our economic peers, who are more around 2.0-2.2 (yes the small difference is significant, you’d create almost 3 million more Households to bring us into line with France at 2.2.)

The point is that by international standards the UK housing market is as tight as a drum and the number of homes owned by rich speculators, tiny in comparison to demand.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Interesting points I hadn’t actually considered. But I still stand by the fact that vacant homes are an issue, and one that isn’t going in a good direction (on the rise since 2010), I also stand by my conviction that greater purchasing powers for local authorities and not more streamlining of the planning process is what’s needed to get us out of it. And I also agree, with Roger Scruton, that the Tory party’s links with landed interests are part of the reason we cannot achieve these changes.
Now as to immigration, always put forward as the first and foremost reason on here for house price increases – I think it must play a role but I’m not convinced that cutting off our supply of an (almost invariably?) productive labour force is the first route out of the housing crisis. Better to sort the housing issue out first (reinvigorating the house building industry may even require more immigrants) and then look at how we can lower immigration and try and encourage more people born here to have children who will hopefully have a fairer, less wage-depressed future ahead of them.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Interesting points I hadn’t actually considered. But I still stand by the fact that vacant homes are an issue, and one that isn’t going in a good direction (on the rise since 2010), I also stand by my conviction that greater purchasing powers for local authorities and not more streamlining of the planning process is what’s needed to get us out of it. And I also agree, with Roger Scruton, that the Tory party’s links with landed interests are part of the reason we cannot achieve these changes.
Now as to immigration, always put forward as the first and foremost reason on here for house price increases – I think it must play a role but I’m not convinced that cutting off our supply of an (almost invariably?) productive labour force is the first route out of the housing crisis. Better to sort the housing issue out first (reinvigorating the house building industry may even require more immigrants) and then look at how we can lower immigration and try and encourage more people born here to have children who will hopefully have a fairer, less wage-depressed future ahead of them.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Great stuff. Counter intuitive at first. Thanks

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Interesting statistics. The detailed ONS report adds more information – first glance suggests second homes in holiday areas are part of the effect (including caravan parks). https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/articles/housinginenglandandwales/2021comparedwith2011

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

There is typically always a proportion of vacant properties in any housing market. In fact the UK has what maybe be the lowest rate in Europe at 1%, a far more typical rate is 5-10%, this occurs for a variety of reasons. Rental flats looking for tenants, second homes for commuters, holiday homes, population movement away from undesirable areas, mismatches between property size and quality and demand. It’s normal.

The other problem is using the number of households to measure demand. Children are leaving home later and multiple occupancy has also increased meaning that the number of people per household in the UK is 2.4, compared to our economic peers, who are more around 2.0-2.2 (yes the small difference is significant, you’d create almost 3 million more Households to bring us into line with France at 2.2.)

The point is that by international standards the UK housing market is as tight as a drum and the number of homes owned by rich speculators, tiny in comparison to demand.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Great stuff. Counter intuitive at first. Thanks

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Interesting statistics. The detailed ONS report adds more information – first glance suggests second homes in holiday areas are part of the effect (including caravan parks). https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/articles/housinginenglandandwales/2021comparedwith2011

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m rather anti immigration (hypocritically fir an ex pat) as I believe it’s been abused in order to keep wages suppressed, however I know in NZ the ratio of people to dwellings is largely unchanged from 40 years ago. However average house prices in that time have risen from 4x the median salary to around 13x today so immigration alone here can’t be solely responsible for the increase in house prices.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yes of course:
Top of second paragraph, where it says that in ‘2021 there were 1.4 million more dwellings than households in England.’
https://positivemoney.org/2023/01/more-than-building-new-houses/#:~:text=However%2C%20census%20data%20released%20last,than%20households%20to%20fill%20them.
Now of course, this statistic alone doesn’t refute that immigration must be putting some pressure on house prices, it just seems that if we want to get angry about the role of foreigners in this regard, we’d do better looking to Russian oligarchs than refugees running for their lives. And if we are looking for the biggest cause in house price inflation, that has very little to do with regulations (9/10 planning request permissions are accepted) or foreigners (consider how many second properties are owned by British pensioners) but an inactive state, that is not delivering on housing for those who need it, as the Tories used to so proudly do (the first council houses were built by Tories after all, with the The Housing of the Working Classes Act in 1890 – three years later the first council estate, Boundary Street, was finished on the border of Shoreditch and Bethnal Green).
And here’s an interview with Tory MP Bim Afolami, where at around 7.30 he talks about 20% of pensioners (understandably btw – I know they’re not evil etc) having second properties:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avy_uJrzluk

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m rather anti immigration (hypocritically fir an ex pat) as I believe it’s been abused in order to keep wages suppressed, however I know in NZ the ratio of people to dwellings is largely unchanged from 40 years ago. However average house prices in that time have risen from 4x the median salary to around 13x today so immigration alone here can’t be solely responsible for the increase in house prices.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

*I meant: ‘counter-intuitive that being poorer might make you care more about ideas? ‘

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Can you provide a link showing the number of houses compared to households please.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

*I meant: ‘counter-intuitive that being poorer might make you care more about ideas? ‘

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

What a superb comment, such a wonderfully expressed and coherent set of ideas. And so spot on!

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Great comment. Even my boomer generation grew up thinking the way the West is, is some kind of natural order. It is a fragile thing, built over centuries and may yet be brought down by vague ideas of virtue.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

This would be the millennials that have massive student debts, came of age after the credit crunch and endured over a decade of stagnant wages, pay record rents, record taxes and face record house prices, not to mention expensive privatised utilities and poorly performing underfunded public services? Doesn’t sound very financially cosseted to me personally

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Post-materialism = luxury beliefs. Money = power = imposing your silly beliefs on others.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Three things in this comment I heavily question:
1) ‘being in favour of open borders but then complaining about a lack of affordable housing? Come on, think a bit!’
I’ve said this before but I guess I have to keep saying it: there are more houses than households in the UK – that fact alone is one you can’t explain by claiming that houses are all getting crammed with immigrant families. They are not. They are being hoarded by an asset class which sees them as a safe investment, all the safer in the face of enfeebled local authorities which are not able to build enough houses because of inadequate land purchasing powers. All the while, private developers and landlowners can sit on land (which, if near any growing city, will inevitavly appreciate in value – not through any effort of their own, but from the work and effort of the community around it from which the land derives its value). In other words, it isn’t hordes of immigrants pushing house prices, it is the hoarding of the super rich, and of private developers building to meet demand, not need.
2) ‘I think this whole development is a sign of a society which has been comfortable and wealthy (and coddled by the state) for so long that an understanding of where that comfort and state provision has come from and what it takes to sustain it has ebbed away. It will take hard times to get that understanding back.’
Well, hard times they are getting, as BB points out, and what is that doing to them? The article also accounts for the fact that people’s values don’t always reflect their present material conditions, reflecting instead those of their early years. It gives the example of boomers who, growing up with rationing, still see their financial situation as precarious, despite often being among the most secure.
Is it also necessarily counter-intuitive that being poorer might make you care less about ideas? If you don’t have much money at your disposal might that make you care even more about ideas? I’m thinking in particular of the highly literate working classes around the turn of the 19th century who would read socialist literature and whom conversation and organisation was the only way out of their misery, or of politicians like Bernie Sanders for whom, without any corporate backing for his campaigns has to rely more than most on ideas and policies and conversations with ordinary people rather than the positive PR barrages from the press which those who’ve flattered the right donors can rely on…
3) ‘Having read all this..’

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

What a superb comment, such a wonderfully expressed and coherent set of ideas. And so spot on!

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

Having read all this, what jumps out at me is this: to be post materialistic and swan around saying “ideas are more important than money”, you have to be able to afford it. Middle class millennials who have never known anything except material comfort take it for granted and think it will always form a foundation to their post-material world of pronouns and open borders.
People without that basic financial cushioning will understand that the post-materialistic positions set out in this article are contradictory: being in favour of open borders but then complaining about a lack of affordable housing? Come on, think a bit! And you can only waffle on about how “ideas are more important than money” if you have enough money not to have to worry. I can’t really picture someone relying on a food bank saying this.
I think this whole development is a sign of a society which has been comfortable and wealthy (and coddled by the state) for so long that an understanding of where that comfort and state provision has come from and what it takes to sustain it has ebbed away. It will take hard times to get that understanding back.
In short, I think we millennials are going to lead a kind of charge of the Light Brigade down the valley marked “Post-Materialism”, get slaughtered to a man when the Boomer cash is all used up and we realise that trying to live on love and air isn’t sustainable and have to limp out and rebuild in a more realistic fashion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Personally I still believe it’s more economic than anything else. Whilst I don’t doubt those in the big cities are more comfortable with immigration and environmentalism, the fact remains that people aren’t going to become conservative if they’ve been given nothing to conserve.
The older generations could get an average job straight from school and as long as they didn’t pi$$ their money up the wall it was enough to buy a basic family home and raise a family. Now if you left school with no qualifications you’d struggle to find a job paying much more than minimum wage. Instead youngsters are lumbered with large student debts simply to get a foot in the door, unscrupulous landlords take ever high percentages of their stagnant wages meaning they’ve little opportunity to save the monstrous deposits required to buy a family home. If they have children then both parents have to work simply to keep the wolves from the door, which in turn leads to eye watering childcare costs. On top of this they really being heavily taxed to fund the end of life care and triple locked pension of a cohort much more wealthy than themselves and who put nothing aside to pay for their retirement.
Is it any wonder they’re so reluctant to support the status quo?

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That is indeed an excellent point, but are you eating avocado’s and have a Netflix account?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

I now live in NZ and that tired excuse is even trotted out over here, where avocados are 3 for $1 when they’re in season. You’d have to forgo a lot of avocado at those prices to buy yourself a home

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

I now live in NZ and that tired excuse is even trotted out over here, where avocados are 3 for $1 when they’re in season. You’d have to forgo a lot of avocado at those prices to buy yourself a home

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Some good points, but what on earth do you mean by “…who put nothing aside to pay for their retirement” ?
That’s just nonsense.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why is it? As a whole did that generation put money aside or pay higher taxes in order to build up some funds to put towards the end of life care, or did they expect the subsequent generations to fund it out of taxation?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

A bit of both.
I think your argument is that they didn’t put enough away. And so relied on a bailout from younger generations.
I’m with you. That’s an appalling system.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You referred only to retirement, not end of life care. You also stated they’d put nothing aside. But in fact – and of course i’m speaking only from a UK perspective – the generations you’re referring to paid huge amounts of tax and National Insurance to fund both their retirement and the NHS.
The system may be slightly different in NZ, but overall, that generation (MY generation) have pretty much paid their dues. Of course, those pension and healthcare systems were developed during an era when average life expectancy was a fair bit shorter, and the means of keeping people with illness alive less well-developed – but that’s hardly their fault is it? Your characterisation is entirely unfounded.
In addition, most retirees are having to work longer than they’d originally expected, especially women who were expecting a pension at 60 but now have to wait until 5-7 years later to equalise their retirement age with men. Your argument is therefore ill-thought through.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s not how National Insurance works.

You pay for your parents and grandparents retirement and care and your children and grandchildren pay for yours. The issue is that because birth rates have declined the ratio of workers to dependants was much better in the past and that’s before, as you noted, you take into account increased life expectancy, reduced rates of economic growth and the increasing complexity and cost of medical care.

Over all, this means that the current generation of workers are proportionately paying much more of their income to support the current generation of retirees, than those retirees ever did for their own parents generation.

Given this, it hardly seems fair to just say, “well that’s the luck of the draw” when practical measures such as increasing the retirement age, amending the the triple lock, means testing pensions and reforming social care could redress the imbalance and give the same opportunities to the younger generation that were enjoyed by their parents.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Except… i didn’t say “well that’s the luck of the draw”.
What i pointed out, correctly, was the generation berated by BB paid the dues that were asked of them, which he very clearly stated they didn’t (“they’d put nothing aside”).
Those measures you’re referring to in your final paragraph are all either happening (as i’ve clearly specified regarding the pension age) or they’re being actively considered – and rightly so. None of that deflects from the fundamental point that BB badly mischaracterised the generation who’re now of, or nearing, retirement age.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You’re right on the specifics, that the issue isn’t primarily a lack of adequate private saving, though that does contribute, but it doesn’t change the fact that policies voted for those currently in and around retirement heavily disadvantaged the younger generation, who are paying for it, whilst they themselves paid no where near the same proportional amount for their own parents retirements.

The measures I mentioned are being considered now but needed to be enacted 20 years ago to redress the issue but have been opposed whenever they were brought forward. As it is, the inequitable entitlements enjoyed by the current generation of retirees will only be withdraw just as those who spent a lifetime paying for them reach retirement age themselves, only to be denied the same benefits as they are no longer affordable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You’re right on the specifics, that the issue isn’t primarily a lack of adequate private saving, though that does contribute, but it doesn’t change the fact that policies voted for those currently in and around retirement heavily disadvantaged the younger generation, who are paying for it, whilst they themselves paid no where near the same proportional amount for their own parents retirements.

The measures I mentioned are being considered now but needed to be enacted 20 years ago to redress the issue but have been opposed whenever they were brought forward. As it is, the inequitable entitlements enjoyed by the current generation of retirees will only be withdraw just as those who spent a lifetime paying for them reach retirement age themselves, only to be denied the same benefits as they are no longer affordable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Except… i didn’t say “well that’s the luck of the draw”.
What i pointed out, correctly, was the generation berated by BB paid the dues that were asked of them, which he very clearly stated they didn’t (“they’d put nothing aside”).
Those measures you’re referring to in your final paragraph are all either happening (as i’ve clearly specified regarding the pension age) or they’re being actively considered – and rightly so. None of that deflects from the fundamental point that BB badly mischaracterised the generation who’re now of, or nearing, retirement age.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You are nit-picking a bit though, if I may be so bold. The rest of BB’s points seem to me very valid. Whenever I talk to people in their 20s they come across as vehemently anti- monarchist too, largely for similar reasons. I remember well one of them saying to me ‘why should I pay for the king’s castle when none of us can even afford a house?!’

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

You may be so bold, since i also mentioned he’d made otherwise good points. However… his reference to the retirement age groups was a generational slur, and that’s part of the problem with discourse on this matter, therefore not “nit-picking” at all.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

A fair point – it can be very generational this sort of thing, although I quibble with the categories, mainly because I’m labelled a ‘gen x’er’ which seems to me shorthand for ‘90’s slacker/raver’ and is generally sandwiched in between boomers and millennials. TBH if I hadn’t met/married/bought a house when I did I’d probably be living in a tent.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

A fair point – it can be very generational this sort of thing, although I quibble with the categories, mainly because I’m labelled a ‘gen x’er’ which seems to me shorthand for ‘90’s slacker/raver’ and is generally sandwiched in between boomers and millennials. TBH if I hadn’t met/married/bought a house when I did I’d probably be living in a tent.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

You may be so bold, since i also mentioned he’d made otherwise good points. However… his reference to the retirement age groups was a generational slur, and that’s part of the problem with discourse on this matter, therefore not “nit-picking” at all.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s not how retirement is funded. The taxes you paid were used to pay for the retirement of those that came before you, nothing was/is put aside for future payments. However the pension did rise considerably (and the triple lock introduced) once your generation started to reach retirement age. Also every assistance your generation received from the previous one (council houses, free further education, on the job training etc) seemed to disappear once it was your turn to pay to help those that followed.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s not how National Insurance works.

You pay for your parents and grandparents retirement and care and your children and grandchildren pay for yours. The issue is that because birth rates have declined the ratio of workers to dependants was much better in the past and that’s before, as you noted, you take into account increased life expectancy, reduced rates of economic growth and the increasing complexity and cost of medical care.

Over all, this means that the current generation of workers are proportionately paying much more of their income to support the current generation of retirees, than those retirees ever did for their own parents generation.

Given this, it hardly seems fair to just say, “well that’s the luck of the draw” when practical measures such as increasing the retirement age, amending the the triple lock, means testing pensions and reforming social care could redress the imbalance and give the same opportunities to the younger generation that were enjoyed by their parents.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You are nit-picking a bit though, if I may be so bold. The rest of BB’s points seem to me very valid. Whenever I talk to people in their 20s they come across as vehemently anti- monarchist too, largely for similar reasons. I remember well one of them saying to me ‘why should I pay for the king’s castle when none of us can even afford a house?!’

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s not how retirement is funded. The taxes you paid were used to pay for the retirement of those that came before you, nothing was/is put aside for future payments. However the pension did rise considerably (and the triple lock introduced) once your generation started to reach retirement age. Also every assistance your generation received from the previous one (council houses, free further education, on the job training etc) seemed to disappear once it was your turn to pay to help those that followed.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

A bit of both.
I think your argument is that they didn’t put enough away. And so relied on a bailout from younger generations.
I’m with you. That’s an appalling system.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You referred only to retirement, not end of life care. You also stated they’d put nothing aside. But in fact – and of course i’m speaking only from a UK perspective – the generations you’re referring to paid huge amounts of tax and National Insurance to fund both their retirement and the NHS.
The system may be slightly different in NZ, but overall, that generation (MY generation) have pretty much paid their dues. Of course, those pension and healthcare systems were developed during an era when average life expectancy was a fair bit shorter, and the means of keeping people with illness alive less well-developed – but that’s hardly their fault is it? Your characterisation is entirely unfounded.
In addition, most retirees are having to work longer than they’d originally expected, especially women who were expecting a pension at 60 but now have to wait until 5-7 years later to equalise their retirement age with men. Your argument is therefore ill-thought through.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why is it? As a whole did that generation put money aside or pay higher taxes in order to build up some funds to put towards the end of life care, or did they expect the subsequent generations to fund it out of taxation?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

By coincidence I referenced Pip Fallow https://unherd.com/author/pip-fallow/ in a comment on Mary’s article. His book is even more relevant to this topic.

His early politics were as hard left as it’s possible to be and his background very disadvantaged. Now a successful small businessman, and author, he retains a visceral hatred of Thatcher but has some very right wing views, particularly on progressives and the welfare state.

He doesn’t say this explicitly, but it is clear his own success owes a lot to just personal hard work. Something that is still available to all of us.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The fact he’s famous though implies that he’s the exception rather than the norm.
When I started my working life my politics in regards to finances were fairly right wing, thinking everything should be user pays and that everyone ended up where they deserved to be. 20 odd years down the track however my personal experience shows that it’s absolute nonsense. The majority of those I’ve worked/dealt with who have been “successful” have done so due to coming from wealthy backgrounds, going to top schools and having good family contacts. Their ability or work ethic, unless it’s abnormally bad, has had almost no bearing on where they’ve ended up. Likewise I’ve seen hard working people stuck at the bottom of the pile through sheer bad luck or events outside of their control, and whether people are comfortable or struggling often seems to come down to luck more than anything else, myself being a prime example. I was fortunate with my job in that as I joined lots of those directly above me fell out with the boss and quit, automatically putting me towards the top of the pecking order.
It’s for these reasons, along with watching many hard working families struggle along with little to no chance of buying a home and building wealth that my financial politics have become much more left wing as I’ve got older

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The fact he’s famous though implies that he’s the exception rather than the norm.
When I started my working life my politics in regards to finances were fairly right wing, thinking everything should be user pays and that everyone ended up where they deserved to be. 20 odd years down the track however my personal experience shows that it’s absolute nonsense. The majority of those I’ve worked/dealt with who have been “successful” have done so due to coming from wealthy backgrounds, going to top schools and having good family contacts. Their ability or work ethic, unless it’s abnormally bad, has had almost no bearing on where they’ve ended up. Likewise I’ve seen hard working people stuck at the bottom of the pile through sheer bad luck or events outside of their control, and whether people are comfortable or struggling often seems to come down to luck more than anything else, myself being a prime example. I was fortunate with my job in that as I joined lots of those directly above me fell out with the boss and quit, automatically putting me towards the top of the pecking order.
It’s for these reasons, along with watching many hard working families struggle along with little to no chance of buying a home and building wealth that my financial politics have become much more left wing as I’ve got older

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You get it.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree.

How could we expect generations unable to accumulate capital (and assets) to be capitalists? – to vote for an economic system they feel (and indeed are) increasingly locked out of?

The prosperous west was built on the notion of aspiration and meritocracy, which created innovation and social mobilty …and then a healthy middle class that lent stability to the national character.

That’s gone now. We have a vastly oversized, corrupt, sclerotic bureaucratic state, and it’s tentacles reach everywhere, smothering the avenues for innovation and social mobility. When that happens, it’s easy to get stuck in a downward spiral of statism and into collapse, where the citizens are increasingly dependent on the state (and resentful about that, and the poor quality of the state’s provisions, and indeed of their lives) …so they become tribal, and seek to vote for a bit more for *themselves* and their faction. And so it goes, the spiral into socialism.

Britain has become very Soviet, and we are now suffering from the same problems that plagued the Soviet Union.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That is indeed an excellent point, but are you eating avocado’s and have a Netflix account?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Some good points, but what on earth do you mean by “…who put nothing aside to pay for their retirement” ?
That’s just nonsense.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

By coincidence I referenced Pip Fallow https://unherd.com/author/pip-fallow/ in a comment on Mary’s article. His book is even more relevant to this topic.

His early politics were as hard left as it’s possible to be and his background very disadvantaged. Now a successful small businessman, and author, he retains a visceral hatred of Thatcher but has some very right wing views, particularly on progressives and the welfare state.

He doesn’t say this explicitly, but it is clear his own success owes a lot to just personal hard work. Something that is still available to all of us.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You get it.

JJ Barnett
JJ Barnett
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree.

How could we expect generations unable to accumulate capital (and assets) to be capitalists? – to vote for an economic system they feel (and indeed are) increasingly locked out of?

The prosperous west was built on the notion of aspiration and meritocracy, which created innovation and social mobilty …and then a healthy middle class that lent stability to the national character.

That’s gone now. We have a vastly oversized, corrupt, sclerotic bureaucratic state, and it’s tentacles reach everywhere, smothering the avenues for innovation and social mobility. When that happens, it’s easy to get stuck in a downward spiral of statism and into collapse, where the citizens are increasingly dependent on the state (and resentful about that, and the poor quality of the state’s provisions, and indeed of their lives) …so they become tribal, and seek to vote for a bit more for *themselves* and their faction. And so it goes, the spiral into socialism.

Britain has become very Soviet, and we are now suffering from the same problems that plagued the Soviet Union.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Personally I still believe it’s more economic than anything else. Whilst I don’t doubt those in the big cities are more comfortable with immigration and environmentalism, the fact remains that people aren’t going to become conservative if they’ve been given nothing to conserve.
The older generations could get an average job straight from school and as long as they didn’t pi$$ their money up the wall it was enough to buy a basic family home and raise a family. Now if you left school with no qualifications you’d struggle to find a job paying much more than minimum wage. Instead youngsters are lumbered with large student debts simply to get a foot in the door, unscrupulous landlords take ever high percentages of their stagnant wages meaning they’ve little opportunity to save the monstrous deposits required to buy a family home. If they have children then both parents have to work simply to keep the wolves from the door, which in turn leads to eye watering childcare costs. On top of this they really being heavily taxed to fund the end of life care and triple locked pension of a cohort much more wealthy than themselves and who put nothing aside to pay for their retirement.
Is it any wonder they’re so reluctant to support the status quo?

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

It’s funny how “post-materialists” have a happy knack of finding causes which just so happen to benefit them materially in the end.

Like internationalists, who preach open borders and the universal brotherhood of mankind but also rely on a steady supply of cheap labour suppressing wages in the service sectors they use to maintain their living standards. Environmentalists, who block housing developments because a rare newt has been miraculously spotted for the first time, where the new homes that would devalue their own were to be built. Or the bloated and inefficient charity and N.G.O. sector, where a million graduates find gainful employment “really making a difference” living increasingly not off public donations but government funding, corporate sponsorship and billionaire trust funds, where, like the idiot sons of aristocrats who were sent off to the church, now primarily the daughters of the middle classes, can find lucrative employment for the formidable skills they’ve acquired at university.

It’s a great coincidence this outbreak of idealisms really kicked in after the material deprivations of Covid and the war in Ukraine destroyed the Tories polling numbers, almost too hard to believe. But then, I’m not an idealist.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

100% with you re those internationalists gaining through globalisation.And there are also those (even worse?) like Jacob Rees-Mogg who claim they care about local or national interests whilst gaining more than ÂŁ7m through their hedgefund from the falling of the pound since Brexit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

‘Environmentalists, who block housing developments because a rare newt has been miraculously spotted for the first time, where the new homes that would devalue their own were to be built.’
How much housing has been blocked due to environmental concerns do you know? All I do know is that for a while 9/10 planning permission requests are accepted so really intrigued to know how much housing you think is prevented in this way.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

It’s more an illustration of the hypocrisy of those who claims to be post-material in their concerns but are really motivated by self interest. I would caution against taking the number of planning requests accepted at face value. Local councils are very adept at at granting permission but with so many caveats and additional requirements that the project becomes impossible.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

That’s a good point re the reality of planning permissions – I’d have to look into it. Though what I do know is that there seems hardly any correlation between units approved and actual outbuilds. Check out this graph:
https://twitter.com/danielbentley/status/1170953261765013504
I also wouldn’t equate the ‘self-interest’ of an environmentalist trying to block housing (if this is even significant, which you implicitly admit isn’t?) to protect bio-diverisity with the self-interest of landowners and developers whose hoarding of land truly does nothing for the wider community and so is behaviour which can be more purely considered as ‘self-interest.’

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

That’s a good point re the reality of planning permissions – I’d have to look into it. Though what I do know is that there seems hardly any correlation between units approved and actual outbuilds. Check out this graph:
https://twitter.com/danielbentley/status/1170953261765013504
I also wouldn’t equate the ‘self-interest’ of an environmentalist trying to block housing (if this is even significant, which you implicitly admit isn’t?) to protect bio-diverisity with the self-interest of landowners and developers whose hoarding of land truly does nothing for the wider community and so is behaviour which can be more purely considered as ‘self-interest.’

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

It’s more an illustration of the hypocrisy of those who claims to be post-material in their concerns but are really motivated by self interest. I would caution against taking the number of planning requests accepted at face value. Local councils are very adept at at granting permission but with so many caveats and additional requirements that the project becomes impossible.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

100% with you re those internationalists gaining through globalisation.And there are also those (even worse?) like Jacob Rees-Mogg who claim they care about local or national interests whilst gaining more than ÂŁ7m through their hedgefund from the falling of the pound since Brexit.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

‘Environmentalists, who block housing developments because a rare newt has been miraculously spotted for the first time, where the new homes that would devalue their own were to be built.’
How much housing has been blocked due to environmental concerns do you know? All I do know is that for a while 9/10 planning permission requests are accepted so really intrigued to know how much housing you think is prevented in this way.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

It’s funny how “post-materialists” have a happy knack of finding causes which just so happen to benefit them materially in the end.

Like internationalists, who preach open borders and the universal brotherhood of mankind but also rely on a steady supply of cheap labour suppressing wages in the service sectors they use to maintain their living standards. Environmentalists, who block housing developments because a rare newt has been miraculously spotted for the first time, where the new homes that would devalue their own were to be built. Or the bloated and inefficient charity and N.G.O. sector, where a million graduates find gainful employment “really making a difference” living increasingly not off public donations but government funding, corporate sponsorship and billionaire trust funds, where, like the idiot sons of aristocrats who were sent off to the church, now primarily the daughters of the middle classes, can find lucrative employment for the formidable skills they’ve acquired at university.

It’s a great coincidence this outbreak of idealisms really kicked in after the material deprivations of Covid and the war in Ukraine destroyed the Tories polling numbers, almost too hard to believe. But then, I’m not an idealist.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago

To those who believe ideas are more important than money, I have an offer: let me give you all my ideas, and you can give me all your money. Any takers… anyone… ?

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago

To those who believe ideas are more important than money, I have an offer: let me give you all my ideas, and you can give me all your money. Any takers… anyone… ?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

The ‘woke’ generation are not post-materialistic. What they have rejected is a form of market economy that is stacked in favour of the already wealthy. The various ‘victim’ groups are all calling for some form of materialistic reparations to be made to them. The disinterest of the graduate class with the problems of the working class is because they want to be guaranteed better paid jobs that reward them for the currently often worthless piece of paper called a degree certificate. This generation are anti-Brexit because they want to be able to travel openly through the EU – an understandable desire but not one afforded by the poor. This generation is likewise pro-immigration because refugees and illegal immigrants do the jobs paid below the legal minimum wage such as cab driving and fast food delivery that make life easier for the ‘woke’ generation that would otherwise have to walk, use public transport and cook.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

People from the UK can travel all over the world.
You just need a passport.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

You are taking the word ‘travel’ a bit literally. You can go to places but you can’t stay for long, or get a job.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

You are taking the word ‘travel’ a bit literally. You can go to places but you can’t stay for long, or get a job.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

People from the UK can travel all over the world.
You just need a passport.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

The ‘woke’ generation are not post-materialistic. What they have rejected is a form of market economy that is stacked in favour of the already wealthy. The various ‘victim’ groups are all calling for some form of materialistic reparations to be made to them. The disinterest of the graduate class with the problems of the working class is because they want to be guaranteed better paid jobs that reward them for the currently often worthless piece of paper called a degree certificate. This generation are anti-Brexit because they want to be able to travel openly through the EU – an understandable desire but not one afforded by the poor. This generation is likewise pro-immigration because refugees and illegal immigrants do the jobs paid below the legal minimum wage such as cab driving and fast food delivery that make life easier for the ‘woke’ generation that would otherwise have to walk, use public transport and cook.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago

Similar to Billy Bob’s excellent comment, I think economics has a large part to play in this. As I’ve got older, I’ve moved more to the right on social issues. Whether that’s because things have moved so far to the left or experience has taught me this (or both) I can’t say for certain, but on economic issues, I have moved much more to the left. Granted, I did start out on the libertarian side of things so it was hard to move even more rightwards there, but nor am I a borderline Marxist either.

Even though I’m married and own my home with my wife, we still can’t afford a family sized home. Heck, without the geneorosity of a deceased uncle with no dependencies, we’d probably still be renting some dump in London. The sad reality is that our generation is reliant on gavelkind inheritance to afford property for the most part and nothing in the short term tells me this will change anytime soon.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago

Similar to Billy Bob’s excellent comment, I think economics has a large part to play in this. As I’ve got older, I’ve moved more to the right on social issues. Whether that’s because things have moved so far to the left or experience has taught me this (or both) I can’t say for certain, but on economic issues, I have moved much more to the left. Granted, I did start out on the libertarian side of things so it was hard to move even more rightwards there, but nor am I a borderline Marxist either.

Even though I’m married and own my home with my wife, we still can’t afford a family sized home. Heck, without the geneorosity of a deceased uncle with no dependencies, we’d probably still be renting some dump in London. The sad reality is that our generation is reliant on gavelkind inheritance to afford property for the most part and nothing in the short term tells me this will change anytime soon.

Paul Ten
Paul Ten
1 year ago

I endorse the points made by other commenters, that ‘post-materialism’ is a false concept. Firstly, as a conservative-voting boomer ideas are important to me: freedom, tolerance, patriotism, Christian values, etc. To suggest that I and my cohort are purely motivated by money is a gross and false caricature.

It’s also the case that the Habitat-shopping, sandal-wearing, human-rights-proclaiming people among my own acquaintances (and I admit it is not a huge sample) are just as materialistic and money-oriented as everyone else. They maximise their income, avoid tax and track the value of their property as enthusiastically as the rest of us. They just combine it with a sense of grievance and entitlement. Progressivism can be a virtue-signalling veneer.

I recall many years ago a family friend who was an ardent socialist, bemoaning the fact that once working-class people reached a level of prosperity and, say, bought a council house, they thought they were Tories. Perhaps this is playing out again, but in reverse. Those sitting with million-pound property portfolios in well-paying public-sector jobs think they can afford to parade their un-materialistic values. I wonder where they will go after a few years of Labour fails to deliver.

Paul Ten
Paul Ten
1 year ago

I endorse the points made by other commenters, that ‘post-materialism’ is a false concept. Firstly, as a conservative-voting boomer ideas are important to me: freedom, tolerance, patriotism, Christian values, etc. To suggest that I and my cohort are purely motivated by money is a gross and false caricature.

It’s also the case that the Habitat-shopping, sandal-wearing, human-rights-proclaiming people among my own acquaintances (and I admit it is not a huge sample) are just as materialistic and money-oriented as everyone else. They maximise their income, avoid tax and track the value of their property as enthusiastically as the rest of us. They just combine it with a sense of grievance and entitlement. Progressivism can be a virtue-signalling veneer.

I recall many years ago a family friend who was an ardent socialist, bemoaning the fact that once working-class people reached a level of prosperity and, say, bought a council house, they thought they were Tories. Perhaps this is playing out again, but in reverse. Those sitting with million-pound property portfolios in well-paying public-sector jobs think they can afford to parade their un-materialistic values. I wonder where they will go after a few years of Labour fails to deliver.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

They are the first Western generation to have had analytic, rational thinking bred out of them by the Radical Left. When I started working in the post-Soviet countries, around 2000 it was common to encounter people who basically thought in slogans, and were quite unable to follow quite simple trains of thought which did not comply with this mindset. Earlier Soviet generations had been inculcated to habitually condemn the previous generation, but by 2000 there was no living memory of pre-Revolutionary days, very little of WW2 and not much of anything pre-1965 or so.

Orwell described the “streamlined men of Left and Right” (he was probably the one of the first to correctly identify both the infinite factions of the Left, and that Left and Right were in many ways, little different). This was their legacy; people trained as toddlers to march around the room chanting “five in four, and not in five” – an attitude clearly visible in the continual advancement of timetables for green energy.

Those Soviet citizens didn’t, couldn’t learn from the sudden, catastrophic collapse of their society. The biggest single lesson – that assuming that a fairer, more just society would automatically rise from the wreckage could not have been more wrong – made no impression on them; they literally could not conceive of it, even among their quotidian struggle to survive amid economic collapse, endemic anarchy and blatant corruption.

This will be the fate of the Millenial generation – to find themselves adrift amid a disaster they cannot comprehend, even as it overtakes them and leaves them in its wake.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Hell! I hope you are wrong.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Hell! I hope you are wrong.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

They are the first Western generation to have had analytic, rational thinking bred out of them by the Radical Left. When I started working in the post-Soviet countries, around 2000 it was common to encounter people who basically thought in slogans, and were quite unable to follow quite simple trains of thought which did not comply with this mindset. Earlier Soviet generations had been inculcated to habitually condemn the previous generation, but by 2000 there was no living memory of pre-Revolutionary days, very little of WW2 and not much of anything pre-1965 or so.

Orwell described the “streamlined men of Left and Right” (he was probably the one of the first to correctly identify both the infinite factions of the Left, and that Left and Right were in many ways, little different). This was their legacy; people trained as toddlers to march around the room chanting “five in four, and not in five” – an attitude clearly visible in the continual advancement of timetables for green energy.

Those Soviet citizens didn’t, couldn’t learn from the sudden, catastrophic collapse of their society. The biggest single lesson – that assuming that a fairer, more just society would automatically rise from the wreckage could not have been more wrong – made no impression on them; they literally could not conceive of it, even among their quotidian struggle to survive amid economic collapse, endemic anarchy and blatant corruption.

This will be the fate of the Millenial generation – to find themselves adrift amid a disaster they cannot comprehend, even as it overtakes them and leaves them in its wake.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago

The Tories have lost their base because they aren’t a conservative party.
They are just another corporatists, high tax, high regulation, nanny state, anti-property rights, anti-growth, unapologetic about the ruinous lockdowns, indifferent to rule of law party, pushing the same old economically suicidal Net Zero malarkey as all the rest.
What is their unique selling proposition? Damned if I know. All I can think of is that unlike Labour, they’re not as happy to tolerate anti-Semites, which I suppose is something at least. The Stupid Party don’t actually stand for anything.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Hole in one!

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

The Tories have lost their base because they have identified as part of the Woking Class elite!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Hole in one!

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

The Tories have lost their base because they have identified as part of the Woking Class elite!

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago

The Tories have lost their base because they aren’t a conservative party.
They are just another corporatists, high tax, high regulation, nanny state, anti-property rights, anti-growth, unapologetic about the ruinous lockdowns, indifferent to rule of law party, pushing the same old economically suicidal Net Zero malarkey as all the rest.
What is their unique selling proposition? Damned if I know. All I can think of is that unlike Labour, they’re not as happy to tolerate anti-Semites, which I suppose is something at least. The Stupid Party don’t actually stand for anything.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

I won’t vote Tory and I never have because the Conservative party has not been remotely conservative since Mrs Thatcher.
The remainers inside the Conservative party should have been hosed out of the door decades ago.
You cannot be a Conservative and a Europhile at the same time.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Precisely, in the “ good old days” if you’d tried that, it would have been off to Tyburn for vivisection, no ifs or buts.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Thatcher wasn’t conservative, she didn’t conserve anything. She was a turbo charged financial liberal

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s a long time since conservatives conserved anything except their own wealth and privilege and that of their friends.

P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Are you trying to pretend that conserving wealth is a bad thing? No wonder this country is ruined when people think like you do and then get to vote.

P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Are you trying to pretend that conserving wealth is a bad thing? No wonder this country is ruined when people think like you do and then get to vote.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s a long time since conservatives conserved anything except their own wealth and privilege and that of their friends.

P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

What nonsense! Of course you can. There is nothing unconservative about being a member of the EU.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Precisely, in the “ good old days” if you’d tried that, it would have been off to Tyburn for vivisection, no ifs or buts.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

Thatcher wasn’t conservative, she didn’t conserve anything. She was a turbo charged financial liberal

P N
P N
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

What nonsense! Of course you can. There is nothing unconservative about being a member of the EU.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

I won’t vote Tory and I never have because the Conservative party has not been remotely conservative since Mrs Thatcher.
The remainers inside the Conservative party should have been hosed out of the door decades ago.
You cannot be a Conservative and a Europhile at the same time.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Well Mr Clarke you are quite correct in mentioning the terrible repercussions from the 1966 Hampstead Election.
The consequences of that awful event not only led to the birth of QUISLINGTON* but also haunt our political arena to the present day.

One of the progenitors of that event was the communist Philip Toynbee**, but by 1978, and with delicious irony, he seems to have acknowledged the futility of his life’s work when he confided this frank admission to his Journal/Diary on the 5th August 1978:-

“ A splendid (TV) programme on Chichester yesterday evening by Alec Clinton-Taylor.*** All that geological, archaeological and architectural knowledge combining to reveal the town in its fascinating depth. Whereas I’m lucky if I see even the surface, so much does seeing depend on understanding. What a lot of time I’ve wasted which I might have spent acquiring this kind of knowledge!
Those thousands of hours devoted to reading newspapers and agitating myself with issues over which I never had the least control. This was seldom due to any heartfelt concern for human suffering: I’m quite sure that I’ve read the papers, daily and weekly, far more in anger than in pity.( Kept awake at night for weeks on end in 1956/7 by my bilious rage against Eden, Selwyn Lloyd , etc.)”

What a splendid heartfelt confession.! He died less than three years later.

(* North London.)
(** Father of Polly Toynbee.)
(*** England’s foremost architectural historian.)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Well Mr Clarke you are quite correct in mentioning the terrible repercussions from the 1966 Hampstead Election.
The consequences of that awful event not only led to the birth of QUISLINGTON* but also haunt our political arena to the present day.

One of the progenitors of that event was the communist Philip Toynbee**, but by 1978, and with delicious irony, he seems to have acknowledged the futility of his life’s work when he confided this frank admission to his Journal/Diary on the 5th August 1978:-

“ A splendid (TV) programme on Chichester yesterday evening by Alec Clinton-Taylor.*** All that geological, archaeological and architectural knowledge combining to reveal the town in its fascinating depth. Whereas I’m lucky if I see even the surface, so much does seeing depend on understanding. What a lot of time I’ve wasted which I might have spent acquiring this kind of knowledge!
Those thousands of hours devoted to reading newspapers and agitating myself with issues over which I never had the least control. This was seldom due to any heartfelt concern for human suffering: I’m quite sure that I’ve read the papers, daily and weekly, far more in anger than in pity.( Kept awake at night for weeks on end in 1956/7 by my bilious rage against Eden, Selwyn Lloyd , etc.)”

What a splendid heartfelt confession.! He died less than three years later.

(* North London.)
(** Father of Polly Toynbee.)
(*** England’s foremost architectural historian.)

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

“ideas are more important than money”.
Well it’s a nice comfortable self-exculpatory trope to live by if you can afford it, which most of these people can’t, it seems to me.
I wonder where they all think they’re going to live? Not in my house I hope, because I own it – being a “materialist” rather than a “post materialist”. They could rent one from me if they want to – which always helps with my retirement income. I wonder what they’re planning to use for retirement income too, come to think of it.
I expect they’ll all grow up. I remember vividly the profound and rather terrifying moment when it hit my idealistic younger self, that no one in the entire world owed me a living or anything else, and that apart from my dear old parents, no one really gave a shit whether I lived or died – because all the fine words are just flim-flam, in the end.
I grow up then. In that seminal moment, I became a “materialist”, and I must say, 10 years into an early retirement, it is really most agreeable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

“ideas are more important than money”.
Well it’s a nice comfortable self-exculpatory trope to live by if you can afford it, which most of these people can’t, it seems to me.
I wonder where they all think they’re going to live? Not in my house I hope, because I own it – being a “materialist” rather than a “post materialist”. They could rent one from me if they want to – which always helps with my retirement income. I wonder what they’re planning to use for retirement income too, come to think of it.
I expect they’ll all grow up. I remember vividly the profound and rather terrifying moment when it hit my idealistic younger self, that no one in the entire world owed me a living or anything else, and that apart from my dear old parents, no one really gave a shit whether I lived or died – because all the fine words are just flim-flam, in the end.
I grow up then. In that seminal moment, I became a “materialist”, and I must say, 10 years into an early retirement, it is really most agreeable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Frederick Dixon
Frederick Dixon
1 year ago

Long, long ago (it was the sixties) I was traveling into work on the bus while perusing my Daily Telegraph when this caught my eye “only 11% of young people say that they will vote Conservative.”
That was the generation which went on to give Mrs. Thatcher three election victories. Perhaps things are different sixty years on, as the author appears to suggest, but I don’t know why they should be.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago

Good point. There have always been a lot of secret Tory voters.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago

Good point. There have always been a lot of secret Tory voters.

Frederick Dixon
Frederick Dixon
1 year ago

Long, long ago (it was the sixties) I was traveling into work on the bus while perusing my Daily Telegraph when this caught my eye “only 11% of young people say that they will vote Conservative.”
That was the generation which went on to give Mrs. Thatcher three election victories. Perhaps things are different sixty years on, as the author appears to suggest, but I don’t know why they should be.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago

I think a bigger problem is that the Conservatives no longer stand for prosperity. Having adopted policies calculated to crush economic growth, they can’t count on support from either the prosperous post-materialists or those who aspire to be prosperous.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago

I think a bigger problem is that the Conservatives no longer stand for prosperity. Having adopted policies calculated to crush economic growth, they can’t count on support from either the prosperous post-materialists or those who aspire to be prosperous.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

The elephant in the room (having read down the comments) here is systematic wealth extraction from the middle and working classes by that tiny minority of people who already own almost everything and for whom no amount of wealth will ever be enough. Millennials and Gen Z (and whoever’s next) have been born into debt slavery. Equity release is already starting to mop up property at the other end of the age spectrum. In the future, everyone except the super class will rent.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

The elephant in the room (having read down the comments) here is systematic wealth extraction from the middle and working classes by that tiny minority of people who already own almost everything and for whom no amount of wealth will ever be enough. Millennials and Gen Z (and whoever’s next) have been born into debt slavery. Equity release is already starting to mop up property at the other end of the age spectrum. In the future, everyone except the super class will rent.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 year ago

The idea that material conditions are inevitably going to improve, as they did across the course of the last century, is wrong. Hence the whole article is nonsense. We are not moving towards a post scarcity utopia. Material conditions are coming back to bite

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 year ago

The idea that material conditions are inevitably going to improve, as they did across the course of the last century, is wrong. Hence the whole article is nonsense. We are not moving towards a post scarcity utopia. Material conditions are coming back to bite

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago

“Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith’s recent call on voters to buy own-brand beans is a perfect illustration”. Of what? This was the point at which I gave up on this article, which seems a confused jumble. Pity as I suspect its trying to say something useful.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

Of how out of touch those MPs are. Saving 40p on a tin of beans isn’t going to help people save 6 figures for a house deposit

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

Of how out of touch those MPs are. Saving 40p on a tin of beans isn’t going to help people save 6 figures for a house deposit

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago

“Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith’s recent call on voters to buy own-brand beans is a perfect illustration”. Of what? This was the point at which I gave up on this article, which seems a confused jumble. Pity as I suspect its trying to say something useful.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Arguably the upper classes are more Whig than ToileTory… especially now, as the conservatives are the rise from behind the green baize door party.. step forward in rustling man made fibre Shapps and Raab….

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Arguably the upper classes are more Whig than ToileTory… especially now, as the conservatives are the rise from behind the green baize door party.. step forward in rustling man made fibre Shapps and Raab….

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Really good and just feels intuitively where we are and heading. Whether everyone likes that of course a different matter

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Really good and just feels intuitively where we are and heading. Whether everyone likes that of course a different matter

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

This article is a load of absolute drivel. The Tories spent a decade pandering to the urban progressives that the author praises, handing them gay marriage and mass-migration to keep their coffee shops staffed with lowly paid wage slaves. They should have leant the other way instead. Cameron’s revolution was a failure and its consequences fatal for the Tory party, piling up the firewood beneath itself and handing the tinder to its political rivals.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

This article is a load of absolute drivel. The Tories spent a decade pandering to the urban progressives that the author praises, handing them gay marriage and mass-migration to keep their coffee shops staffed with lowly paid wage slaves. They should have leant the other way instead. Cameron’s revolution was a failure and its consequences fatal for the Tory party, piling up the firewood beneath itself and handing the tinder to its political rivals.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
1 year ago

What utter rot! This article is naive at best. Most of the trendy leftie liberal millennial types are the most materialistic people I have ever come across. It is just that they don’t want to work for a living, or want to rely on mummy and daddy’s money instead.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
1 year ago

What utter rot! This article is naive at best. Most of the trendy leftie liberal millennial types are the most materialistic people I have ever come across. It is just that they don’t want to work for a living, or want to rely on mummy and daddy’s money instead.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

I don’t accept the central premise of this article, the concept of post materialism. The millennials want the same as previous generations – affordable housing, good schools, affordable childcare and they worry about the poor state the NHS and social care are in, as much for their parents/ grandparents as for themselves. They worry about the cost of living, use public transport and are unhappy about taking their kids to a beach where the sea is filled with sewage. They also think they pay too much tax.

The problem for the Right, as represented by the standard bearers, the Tory Party, is that they don’t think the Tories care about these things after the last 13 years. They didn’t vote for Brexit and see it as a failure.

I got taken to task yesterday for suggesting that the narrative being pushed by Jake Berry, and other Johnson supporters, that Brexit had been blocked by ‘the establishment’, and he was kicked out of Downing St by ‘the establishment’ was factually incorrect. Fair enough, I disagree, but allowing the narratives of ‘Brexit betrayal’ and ‘Boris betrayal’ to build, Lost Cause style, will appeal to some but isn’t remotely a majority view, likely to win elections. The public have largely made up their minds on both. It will though be toxic for the Tories.

Culture Wars and Suella Braverman type performative nastiness also has a constituency but a strictly minority one. What plays well in the Daily Mail or on GB News doesn’t necessarily translate to the real world.

If all the data is to be believed then the Anyone-But-The-Tories vote will be decisive at the next election, then it will up to both Labour, if they form the government, to work out how they keep those voters, but also the parties on the Right on whether they change the narrative or head off further down the rabbit hole.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Murray
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I have to agree with you about Boris.

I think the Roman historian Tacitus put well when he said:-
“Consensu omnium, capax imperii nisi imperasset”.

Which loosely translates as “ Everyone agreed he was capable of ruling until he actually got the job”.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Ironically, the general view, among those who followed politics or knew him, was that he was utterly unfit for the job even before they gave it to him. I’ll quote Matthew Parris, the Times columnist and former MP, but there’s no shortage of people to quote, Parris talked of “the casual dishonesty, the cruelty, the betrayal; and beneath the betrayal, the emptiness, the lack of ambition to do anything with the job once it is attained”. I’m just reading Seldon’s “Johnson At 10”, which confirms this, in spades.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

There were those who presumably thought differently, particularly in the so-called ‘Red Wall’.

A Triumph of hope over expectation perhaps?

tom j
tom j
1 year ago

Or maybe just the usual talking at cross-purposes. People who didn’t like Boris before he was PM, now telling us nonsense like ‘everyone agreed he was capable until he got the job’. Whoever becomes PM in the next general election, will not even get 50% of the votes cast in that election. We don’t, however much commentators fantasise, somehow move from consensus to consensus.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  tom j

When he replaced the wretched May there was a glimmer of hope!
Whether he believed in Brexit or not he executed it. So far so good!

Then came COVID, the supreme test of leadership and he failed dismally!

Instead of following both the national Pandemic Plan and what appeared to be his natural instincts, and doing absolutely NOTHING, he buckled to the malign influence of Mr Cummings and a horde of so called ‘scientists/experts.
For that feebleness there can be NO forgiveness!

In mitigation the overwhelming bulk of the once great British public seem to also to have wanted to DO something, but they were WRONG and Boris should have had the strength and audacity to overrule them.

Thus this fiasco will hang around Boris’s neck like a putrefying Albatross, just as surely as Iraq does around the necks of Mr Blair and his murderous cohorts.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  tom j

When he replaced the wretched May there was a glimmer of hope!
Whether he believed in Brexit or not he executed it. So far so good!

Then came COVID, the supreme test of leadership and he failed dismally!

Instead of following both the national Pandemic Plan and what appeared to be his natural instincts, and doing absolutely NOTHING, he buckled to the malign influence of Mr Cummings and a horde of so called ‘scientists/experts.
For that feebleness there can be NO forgiveness!

In mitigation the overwhelming bulk of the once great British public seem to also to have wanted to DO something, but they were WRONG and Boris should have had the strength and audacity to overrule them.

Thus this fiasco will hang around Boris’s neck like a putrefying Albatross, just as surely as Iraq does around the necks of Mr Blair and his murderous cohorts.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

As you’ll know CS the German industrialists thought they’d control the Corporal and just use him to crush the communists before re-exerting themselves, but it got badly out of control. Bojo clearly not a comparison with the Corporal but there is historical antecedents for the danger in going with a charlatan for short term political advantage. Was it worth it in the end? I suspect even those who voted for him increasingly thinking it wasn’t but public admittance of Buyers remorse tends to only come to some.
Now of course by time it came to a match up against Corbyn the dye was cast. The interception point was earlier when he deliberately outflanked May, garnered support for his further lies and mendacities etc. I’m no fan of May, but she wasn’t a liar and without Bojo would have landed a more sensible approach to Brexit from which one suspects we’d have moved on.

tom j
tom j
1 year ago

Or maybe just the usual talking at cross-purposes. People who didn’t like Boris before he was PM, now telling us nonsense like ‘everyone agreed he was capable until he got the job’. Whoever becomes PM in the next general election, will not even get 50% of the votes cast in that election. We don’t, however much commentators fantasise, somehow move from consensus to consensus.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

As you’ll know CS the German industrialists thought they’d control the Corporal and just use him to crush the communists before re-exerting themselves, but it got badly out of control. Bojo clearly not a comparison with the Corporal but there is historical antecedents for the danger in going with a charlatan for short term political advantage. Was it worth it in the end? I suspect even those who voted for him increasingly thinking it wasn’t but public admittance of Buyers remorse tends to only come to some.
Now of course by time it came to a match up against Corbyn the dye was cast. The interception point was earlier when he deliberately outflanked May, garnered support for his further lies and mendacities etc. I’m no fan of May, but she wasn’t a liar and without Bojo would have landed a more sensible approach to Brexit from which one suspects we’d have moved on.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

There were those who presumably thought differently, particularly in the so-called ‘Red Wall’.

A Triumph of hope over expectation perhaps?

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

Ironically, the general view, among those who followed politics or knew him, was that he was utterly unfit for the job even before they gave it to him. I’ll quote Matthew Parris, the Times columnist and former MP, but there’s no shortage of people to quote, Parris talked of “the casual dishonesty, the cruelty, the betrayal; and beneath the betrayal, the emptiness, the lack of ambition to do anything with the job once it is attained”. I’m just reading Seldon’s “Johnson At 10”, which confirms this, in spades.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I have to agree with you about Boris.

I think the Roman historian Tacitus put well when he said:-
“Consensu omnium, capax imperii nisi imperasset”.

Which loosely translates as “ Everyone agreed he was capable of ruling until he actually got the job”.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

I don’t accept the central premise of this article, the concept of post materialism. The millennials want the same as previous generations – affordable housing, good schools, affordable childcare and they worry about the poor state the NHS and social care are in, as much for their parents/ grandparents as for themselves. They worry about the cost of living, use public transport and are unhappy about taking their kids to a beach where the sea is filled with sewage. They also think they pay too much tax.

The problem for the Right, as represented by the standard bearers, the Tory Party, is that they don’t think the Tories care about these things after the last 13 years. They didn’t vote for Brexit and see it as a failure.

I got taken to task yesterday for suggesting that the narrative being pushed by Jake Berry, and other Johnson supporters, that Brexit had been blocked by ‘the establishment’, and he was kicked out of Downing St by ‘the establishment’ was factually incorrect. Fair enough, I disagree, but allowing the narratives of ‘Brexit betrayal’ and ‘Boris betrayal’ to build, Lost Cause style, will appeal to some but isn’t remotely a majority view, likely to win elections. The public have largely made up their minds on both. It will though be toxic for the Tories.

Culture Wars and Suella Braverman type performative nastiness also has a constituency but a strictly minority one. What plays well in the Daily Mail or on GB News doesn’t necessarily translate to the real world.

If all the data is to be believed then the Anyone-But-The-Tories vote will be decisive at the next election, then it will up to both Labour, if they form the government, to work out how they keep those voters, but also the parties on the Right on whether they change the narrative or head off further down the rabbit hole.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Murray
P N
P N
1 year ago

Post materialists sound like a bunch of people who think that wealth is distributed rather than earned. They think that they are owed a living (or branded baked beans) or they are comfortable and never questioned how they and everyone else around them got comfortable over the last 250 years. They are simply people who don’t understand how the world works.
It is easy to see why the Conservatives are now filled with second and third generation descendants of immigrants. They are ethnic minorities who have seen their parents work hard and understand how wealth is accumulated; they do not take their comfort for granted.
I would recommend Konstanin Kisin’s book, An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West, in which he takes aim at those who take our Western freedoms and wealth for granted and see fit to criticise the very things which mark us out as the luckiest generations in the history of the world.

Last edited 1 year ago by P N
P N
P N
1 year ago

Post materialists sound like a bunch of people who think that wealth is distributed rather than earned. They think that they are owed a living (or branded baked beans) or they are comfortable and never questioned how they and everyone else around them got comfortable over the last 250 years. They are simply people who don’t understand how the world works.
It is easy to see why the Conservatives are now filled with second and third generation descendants of immigrants. They are ethnic minorities who have seen their parents work hard and understand how wealth is accumulated; they do not take their comfort for granted.
I would recommend Konstanin Kisin’s book, An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West, in which he takes aim at those who take our Western freedoms and wealth for granted and see fit to criticise the very things which mark us out as the luckiest generations in the history of the world.

Last edited 1 year ago by P N
Mark V
Mark V
1 year ago

I thought it was “if you’re not a socialist…”

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
1 year ago

Word.

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago

Cities aren’t ‘inefficient’ distributors of population. They’re efficient, by concentrating facilities, homes and workplaces in a few places without the need for long-distance movement.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Amies

I think the author meant ‘efficient’ in electoral terms – i.e. Tory voters, in being scattered across low population constituencies are more efficiently represented in elections than progressive voters who tend to be clustered in more populous urban constituencies in a first past the post system which downplays their presence i.e. progressive constituencies have more excess votes which in a PR system would result in more progressive seats.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Oh I see. Because you only need a certain number in any place to make it work, so it’s better if they’re evenly distributed. Makes sense.

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Oh I see. Because you only need a certain number in any place to make it work, so it’s better if they’re evenly distributed. Makes sense.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Amies

I think the author meant ‘efficient’ in electoral terms – i.e. Tory voters, in being scattered across low population constituencies are more efficiently represented in elections than progressive voters who tend to be clustered in more populous urban constituencies in a first past the post system which downplays their presence i.e. progressive constituencies have more excess votes which in a PR system would result in more progressive seats.

Last edited 1 year ago by Desmond Wolf
Chris Amies
Chris Amies
1 year ago

Cities aren’t ‘inefficient’ distributors of population. They’re efficient, by concentrating facilities, homes and workplaces in a few places without the need for long-distance movement.