It was interesting to see a recent study showing people believe life in the ‘past’ was better than it is now. Those baby boomers who are forever looking back to their childhood and are just disappointed with the what they have today. This bitterness hit its ultimate peak when they voted for Brexit.
So, has the generation that never had it so good, only to lose it and live in a worse time? I have to say times were simpler in the past. You knew where you were, who you were and what your life would be like, just by knowing where you were born.
The industrial north, from where I originate from, allowed a good 20% to attend grammar schools and the rest would work in the factories, mines or mills. You were working class and women stayed at home and the empire ruled. Those certainties in life and the patriotism of the generations of two world wars was a constant reminder of what Britain stood for.
This is why these baby boomers are so stuck in the past. They feel the shine has come of off Britain and that their communities have been broken up and they have lost their identity. That simply world is no longer there, where we ruled and were respected by nearly all nations.
Yet this simpler life needed to change, because of the world and the inequalities that existed in this country. Those inequalities to women, minorities and the working classes needed correcting and the baby boomers fought for this and achieved it. Yet now they have hot pensionable age, they seem deeply unhappy with what they have achieved.
The changes for the majority of people have raised aspirations and my own generation have been motivated to better ourselves and leave our local communities or change to who we want to be, rather than what we are wanted to be. This sense of community lost through the break up of the major industries around the country has been most firmly felt by the boomers and it does need to be brought back together, but this means all communities coming together. Would minorities who have continuous been abused, trust the local population unless they are welcomed in. Yet all we have had is immigration is bad and ‘Brtish Jobs for British workers’. If you want community spirit, everyone needs to be welcome.
Unfortunately, this changed coincided with immigrants coming into the country and from Enoch Powell every problem has been put squarely with the immigrant population. Whether it is jobs, health or education we always take the easy option of who to blame. They have been told long enough that this is true and so now it has become the truth, even though all problems are far more complex.
We also see a trust in simpler times with the media and government. Although biased and occasional corrupt, we now have a global strategy for media that means we cannot trust what they are saying without looking beyond the story in one paper but to look at multiple sources to verify what is being said. Too often because it is written down, it is believed. Although we are starting to see how foreign institutions have manipulated elections, I don’t think it has dawned on many just how much has been distributed through social media sites. We worry about the indoctrination of the young to become terrorists, but it is the old who have truly been swayed by this influx of propaganda.
So now we have the boomers becoming more selfish and indoctrinated. Their houses are too expensive but they wont build cheaper housing for the young because of NIMBYism. They talk about the NHS not being universal, even though they have always had universal healthcare. The political class had free education but have introduced tuition fees that affect the poorest substantially more. The equality so hard-fought for is being lost as this generation struggles coping with the changes that they started.
Now we are nearing their end, we have Brexit. The final nail in the coffin that will not only make the millennial’s poorer, but remove their rights of free travel with our nearest neighbours whilst also dividing society like it has never been divided before.
We have to be clear that the younger generation wants to be part of a global community, wants to have access around the world and does not want nationalism. This does not mean we are not British, or proud of our past and what we have achieved. It just means we are looking forward to the future, where individuals can be who they want to be, peacefully and respectfully. That is our future.