DCSIMG

Rogers rant by columnist Kevin Rogers: Not the only ones who never had it

Working at Walker and Hall's, Eyre Street, 12th December 1940
Sheffield Blitz

Working at Walker and Hall's, Eyre Street, 12th December 1940 Sheffield Blitz

There’s been a lot of discussion over recent weeks from young people who claim they are the ‘never had it’ generation.

People in their early 20s have left school in a recession. There is massive youth unemployment, they are paying to go to university and they see no way of ever buying their own homes. If they ever retire it will probably be in their 70s.

They have been short-changed by the older generation who have climbed up the ladder and pulled it up behind them.

Baby boomers, those born between 1945 and 1965 particularly come in for a bit of stick, as they are enjoying early retirement with generous pensions, inflation made their mortgages cheap, they had a job for life and those who went to university did so for nowt, with a grant and subsidised everything.

In short the plight of young adults is being recast as a war between generations. And it’s cobblers.

I’m going to get all Monty Python’s Three Yorkshiremen sketch on you now, but...

I suppose I qualify as a baby boomer having been born during the giddy heights of the swinging sixties.

I have sweet memories of growing up in the era of the Beatles, Ted Heath and Harold Wilson, but I don’t particularly recall any opulent glow to our lifestyle.

We had a freezing council house, a black and white telly with a dodgy vertical hold with two channels. The winters were smoggy with a haze of sulphurous coal fire pollution.

Virtually everyone left school at 15 to work in a factory, O-levels were a rarity and university a vanishingly distant prospect.

Later a bunch of recessions in the 80s and 90s brought in mass unemployment and spawned the dole queues which are being re-visited today.

My parent’s rock and roll generation suffered the privations of ration books. They had to work 12 hour shifts to bring home the bacon and their lungs were full of coal dust and asbestos.

When they retired they had at best a couple of years to enjoy it.

Their parents had an even worse time of it, dodging bullets and bombs in World War ll and rotting in the trenches of the Great War before that.

And film footage shows they were all in black and white and had to walk at double speed.

There’s no doubt in Austerity Britain ™ that things have gone catastrophically wrong for young adults.

And it’s easy to see how they feel betrayed by their elders, looking back through recent decades of their illusory debt-fuelled lifestyles which were impossible to keep up.

And the disgraceful behaviour of the financial wheeler dealers who brought it on.

Don’t blame us - do something to change it.

 

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