Monday, 10 January 2022
The Generation Game
Today, even the House of Lords has had to admit that Help to Buy had pushed up house prices, and that the money should have been spent on social housing instead. In the end, everyone agrees with ... well, you know how this one goes.
It takes several decades to feel the impact of a generation, but perhaps more than any other issue, it is housing that illustrates that, how and why today's youth is not the most radical since the 1960s, but more radical than that.
In Britain, the Baby Boomers had not been formed by austerity and war. That was their parents. Their American counterparts were fighting for Civil Rights and for an end to the Vietnam War, in which of course they were the ones expected to die, as well as for sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.
It must be said that that cohort turned to Reagan as surely as to Thatcher in order to give economic application to its rejection of chemical and sexual restraint. Two draft dodgers have gone on to be horrifically trigger-happy Presidents, a third was not much less belligerent, and we remain to see about the fourth.
At the time, though, Britain was a different story. Generation Rent, however, has known nothing but cuts at home and bombs abroad, sometimes leading to bombs at home by contemporaries who might simply have been too busy for bombing if it had not been for the cuts.
It duly turned to Jeremy Corbyn the first time, and it no doubt would a second, although that would not necessarily be any more successful, due to having carried over the same internal problems. Eventually, it will become electorally decisive and politically dominant. But it will install no Thatcher, and it will produce no Blair. I only hope to live to see what it did produce.