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Thursday 4 March 2010

Verity Murphy | 17:50 UK time, Thursday, 4 March 2010


It's all about age and youth tonight.

First, is the baby boomer generation the most selfish generation ever?

Have the baby-boomers screwed things up completely for the young - enjoying an economic boom, low tax, and big pensions while the young are unemployed, saddled with debt and unable to buy houses?

Justin Rowlatt has been talking to some of these Woopies - AKA a Well Off Older Person - and in the studio we will debate with guests young and old, including David Willetts, MP and author of The Pinch - How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future - and why they should give it back.

Do tell us what you think too.

And are older people taking over the arts too? After decades of complaints about the dearth of good parts for older actors Stephen Smith interviews Sian Phillips, who at the age of 76 has taken on the part of Juliet in a Bristol Old Vic production of Romeo and Juliet where the star crossed lovers and other main characters are pensioners.

Also tonight, we kick off our new "Leaving Party" series, in which we interview MPs who are about to stand down.

In this first report Jeremy talks to two of the Tory old guard, the Wintertons.


It's all about age and youth tonight.

Is the baby boomer generation the worst generation ever? Have the baby boomers screwed things up completely for the young - enjoying an economic boom, low tax, and big pensions while the young are unemployed, saddled with debt and unable to buy houses?

And are the old taking over the arts too? It was always apparently youth that was most highly prized, but is that changing? Stephen Smith is on the case.

Do tell us what you think too.

Also tonight, we kick off our new "Leaving Party" series, in which we interview MPs who are about to stand down, in this first report Jeremy talks to two of the Tory old guard, the Wintertons.

More details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    'Is the baby boomer generation the worst generation ever? Have the baby boomers screwed things up completely for the young - enjoying an economic boom, low tax, and big pensions while the young are unemployed, saddled with debt and unable to buy houses?'

    Yes..... But... they didn't ask to be born!

  • Comment number 2.

    People who rage, can scare people into not thinking calmly and carefully.

    For instance, the 'Baby-Boomers' were encouraged to let their feelings out, and to be 'individualistic' (an American import post WWII, but hatched by people like Gramsci and then the Frankfurt School). So, the people who enccuraged this were not the 'Baby-Boomers' per se, but the parents of the 'Baby-Boomers'.

    I blame the parents! ;-)

  • Comment number 3.

    Why are baby boomer generations the worst? From my understanding, the boomers were those born post WW2. Weren't they the people who modernised/liberalised the world for the rest of us? So what if older people are taking over the arts (never thought they'd actually left!) - the younger generations can learn from them. If youth was the only thing in the arts, then why did Helen Mirren win an Oscar? It was because of her talent :o)

    If an older person is good at their job (and fully competent), then why should they be forced to give up? An older person has a lot more practical experience and wisdom that a younger person has not. Besides, if someone was pushed aside because of their age, then there is a tiny thing called the Age Discrimination Act 2006.........

  • Comment number 4.

    James Delingpole on The Daily Politics - unfortunately he looked like a late 1970's fifth former school boy who is still dumb founded by the concept of a tie let alone how to ware one. Crikey come on now, we need people who look like they know how to put their underpants on in the morning if were going to address climate change .

    Now I'll be happy to offer a tutorial in the art waring a tie for those who are challenged in these matters, just so I don't have to look at such visual horror.

  • Comment number 5.

    On the baby boomers I think the David Attenborough line that people have to start considering the world just can't go on for ever with a rapidly growing population is the vexing question.

    To handle that problem requires consideration of economic and social issues that would be complicated by national and international interests.

    For instance most of the debates about resource shortages really revolve around the availability to growing population issue and whether competition will remain benign.

    The kind of smug political output exemplified by the Blair years have not really fully prepared us even for the projected carbon shortfall.

    Even if the Falklands does hold a lot of oil we really needed the flight from carbon and not an ever greater dependence on it with international ramifications in South America.

  • Comment number 6.

    I have no doubt that there will be the odd far right poster on this page who will try to seize any discussion on genetics and population and the poor to try and propose National Socialist tenets via their vague language and abstract ideas.

    Bear in mind that these people who will chip away at democracy and the role of the parties would replace it with the kind of tyranny utilised by Hitler once he had power. They will of course not refer to him these days as they approach an election.

    Remember also that for all of their proclamations about the impact of immigration - that should be controlled on pragmatic grounds and not due to race - the science shows that we are all genetically very similar and there are in fact benefits to a multi-racial population (Channel 4's "Race and Intelligence").

    The BNP have not challenged the EHRC requirement to have multi-racial membership because they don't have any argument that would survive scientific scrutiny.

    In much the same way those that deny the Holocaust via the internet with "evidence" never show up at any Nazi war crime trial - the alleged Nazi death camp guard Djemjanjuk currently being available.

    Sometimes bland statements issued whilst the inner working of a party are strictly secret show that more is revealed by what is not said than is said.

  • Comment number 7.

    Another thought on the baby boomers is that its not, of course, the generation itself to blame for any ills. Many may not work again as it will take years for the economic crisis to work through.

    The reason we should take greater care of the young is they are of course the future - but that then makes it all the bleaker for those without work.

  • Comment number 8.

    On Ashcroft I can't help feeling that Labour were anticipating this weak spot in the Tory armour appearing.

    Nick Robinson very reasonably asked what the Tories knew and when they it - what did the Labour Party know and how did they know it?

    That said the Lib Dems did know about the general problem but so far as I know via the Huhne interview they were using general knowledge and sound principles.

  • Comment number 9.

    3. Mistress76uk 'Why are baby boomer generations the worst? From my understanding, the boomers were those born post WW2. Weren't they the people who modernised/liberalised the world for the rest of us?'

    Yes, but to understand this question one has to be able to entertain the hypothesis that 'modernised/liberalised' = 'poisoned/corrupted'.

    Note: the ability to hold onto an idea as an hypothesis and to discuss its logical consequences without prejudice, is the very essence of rationality - i.e. the objective of higher education, especilaly in science. This used to be what 'debates' or 'arguments' were all about, even in legal cases. People would be given propositions and use logic and evidence to argue through to the consequences. This is not the same thing as using emotional or nefarious rhetoric, which is by definition, invalid reasoning, (and for well documented technical reasons). Sadly, to understand all that requires higher education, usually in logic. Those who have not had the benefit of that don't see what is being done, and think it is just all a matter of personal opinion

    The proposition is that this generation has not been so much 'liberated', as 'corrupted' or badly informed/educated/conditioned/bred.

  • Comment number 10.

    ecolizzy, your link from yesterdays post - I hesititated in clicking at first on account its from the mirror news, but took a deep breath and 'went in' so to speak - it produced these odd lines of Mirror newsspeak:

    "....Anti-fascist group Searchlight called the plan an outrage. A spokesman said: "Executives at the BBC have become obsessed with giving the BNP national publicity at the licence fee payer's expense."

    Outrage from searchlight! these lot get outraged when milkmen only sell white milk.

    Heres another one:

    "These are supposed to be serious debates allowing people to make an informed choice. Nick Griffin has no place there." Griffin's BBC
    Question Time spot turned into a disaster for the Beeb and the BNP."

    A disaster for the Beeb! really! Lets consider that the average viewing figures for Questiontime is 3 million but when Griffin made that 'infamous Nick Griffin QT special' appearence, the viewing figures soared to 8 million. now I don't know how the good folks at the Mirror measure success but I'm sure increasing the viewers by double or more would be deemed by the a success. Socialist must know this formula: If a task needs to be done and a socialist state run dept employed 5 employees to get the task completed..but instead got 5 more employees making the overall number to 10 workers, then that would be a success, although a report would need to be produced with TV and Newspaper advertisment purchased, the said Govt dept would set up a media dept which would employ a head of spin with 3 deputies with a dept of 30 employees - with pensions - and then a quango would be formed to oversee all this... so there you go, the good folk at the Mirror can't be expected not to understand the meaning of success. So why they report that the BBC did not experience success with the Nick Griffin QT event is rather strange.

    Heres another from the mirror report:

    ".... Justice Minister Jack Straw said: "We've seen that the moment anyone puts an uncomfortable quote to him he wriggles. He (Griffin) wants to wriggle out of it."

    The same could be said of Jack 'the hack' Straw.

  • Comment number 11.

    In the Huffpost:

    'The American Family Association, a religious right group, is urging that Tillikum (Tilly), the killer whale that killed a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, be put down, preferably by stoning. Citing Tilly's history of violent altercations, the group is slamming SeaWorld for not listening to Scripture in how to deal with the animal'.

    The more I read of the Tea Party and the Sarah Palin/Fox News/GOP/Glen Beck morass the more I fear for the sanity of the right in the US.

    As a point of interest I wonder actually how you do stone to death a killer whale in the water?

  • Comment number 12.

    Is the baby boomer generation the worst generation ever? One might just as well ask: Is gutter journalism alive and well at the BBC?

  • Comment number 13.

    As I tried to say the art world is feudal and upper middle class when you fully understand that you how people get on in that world. Its not difficult if you know the right people otherwise art will not be an opportunity for you. Its also about commercial galleries protecting their financial interests at auctions and with other tactics which really needs the attention of the FSA or what ever body the Tories come up with (I think its suppose to be the Consumer Protection Agency ? any clarification on that be good ) Important curators of important art institutions have the ability to give value and there is a financial potential which usually just builds and builds - very many millions. It needs to be understood that situation needs to be regulated financially.

  • Comment number 14.

    #10 Yes Kev perhaps a mistake to add that link. When I read it and posted it, it was a very short article. Stating the bald facts that the BBC was going to hold a forum with all the minor parties, just like the major ones. It mentioned them, e.g. Greens, UKIP, BNP, etc. but now I see it's gone all ranty! Why are some media so scared of minor parties, that will not get very far in this election?! At most they will be a thorn in the side, but will get very few seats if any. Although a broader spectrum of views in parliament would be a good thing in my opinion.

  • Comment number 15.

    The AFA appears to have had something like whale as its logo at one time? It also seems that some USA readers 'do translation jobs' on what they read.

    Surely a 12,000lb mammal 'playing' with a 100lb human is rather like a lion playing with a mouse? Maybe he's feeling sorry for being so rough? He doesn't seem to savage his toys, maybe he just doesn't fully appreciate that humans are rather fragile?

  • Comment number 16.


    Nature has no time for the halt and lame, let alone the living-dead.
    Espousal of the old in preference to the young is just another branch of perversity that is now British Culture.

    WE routinely embrace the direct opposite of what Nature would prefer, thus damning mainstream existence and, ultimately, future viability. Just how much of this is down to mankind finding the slightly-aberrant titillating, and electronic entertainment simply winding up the gain, I don't know. Perhaps we will find out just before social meltdown hits. Douglas Adams, seer of the modern age, said something similar.

  • Comment number 17.

    Completely off topic (as usual!)

    This will be a complete disaster for the Romney Marsh and Dungeness bird migration area. Look at the Floodline prediction for the area, the whole of Romney Marsh will be under the sea,&scale=3

    I would be very wary of flying out of that airport. An awful lot of waders, largish birds, are in the area, ever heard of bird strike, doesn't look as though the local councillers have.

    I know what this is all about, it's the enormous expansion of Ashford, being made into a major city to take London overspill. It used to be a small market town, but the building of houses has rushed forward, a lot of it on flood plains, so one day, like the airport it will all flood.

    I find it incredible that the only thing anyone is capable of looking at in this country these days, is money, growth and profit. Eventually there won't be any part of Kent that isn't built on, don't ever describe it as the Garden of England, as it was once, it now only grows, houses, roads and airports!

    We already have another enormous runway and potential airport at Manston, just how much travelling does anyone do?! Oh I forgot the Chinese have bought the land around Manston to build factories and put warehouseing up so that they can get their goods in faster and straight on to London etc.

    Big Business it stinks!

  • Comment number 18.

    16. barriesingleton 'Douglas Adams, seer of the modern age, said something similar.'

    He was very amusing, but he said some Orwellian/silly things about Vogons. They are clearly Civil Servants. We need Vogons.

  • Comment number 19.

    i think some of the MP's are lucky its not a tar and feathering leaving party?

    modern art is about money. what should be prized is art that has a wider benefit greater than the mere enrichment or fame of its creator? such an question that reduces art into yoof or age is to descend into an alice in wonderland underworld. Reductionism is the vice of the media.

  • Comment number 20.

    To All and Sundry - anyone? - bothering to read this ......

    Please accept my chosen lack of propriety in the following as I do not consider a “Lord” of our Realm should - it would appear - act in such an inappropriate manner!

    But then I could be wrong about the whole ‘thing’, couldn’t I?

    According to the Parliamentary Labour Party Mr Ashcroft should be sacked.

    Not so!

    He should not be dismissed, be allowed to resign or allowed to draw out his defense - based, so far it would seem, entirely upon silence - until after the General Election.

    Sackings as a result of the Cashcroft ‘affair’ would allow the Top Con of the party to attempt to gain some portion of moral high ground. Resignation would allow any such person taking this option to walk away and - given some members of both houses apparent predilection for being economical with the facts - we would never be any of the wiser. As for any potential extension of the timescale pertaining to ‘the facts’ this could easily be constructed to drag on until way past the election by which time little could be gained from any outrage the GBP might / should voice.

    The focus of the media attention is misdirected in part. Yes the two sic miscreants in the limelight deserve all, and more, of the investigation being undertaken but there is one individual whom seems to be slithering - in silence - away?

    And that is ....

    Mr Top Con himself!

    The over-riding policy at the moment appears to be “Rally to the colours!‘ whereas in reality it could be described as ....

    “Taking the fifth”!

    ( Hmm! Is “fifth” really the word I’m looking for”? Pause for thought.)

    It is almost incomprehensible, if not impossible, to believe that any deputy of any organisation would learn of such potentially disastrous news “a few months ago” and not immediately pass that information on to his boss! If he/she did not pass the information upward it immediately invites thorough questioning of the integrity of said deputy. If this same deputy did instantly inform his superior sic then ....

    And this surely raises more than a concern about an incontrovertible lack of of integrity? Honesty and suitability are just a couple of the issues to be considered especially as Mr Top Con steadfastly aspires to being .....

    King Con!

    (If there is an all overseeing, all powerful Deity, then please act now before it is all too late!)

    Yesterday one could well have imagined the scene at Big Con Central Office: Dozens of ‘phone calls to the old brigade “Hey Bodger me ol’ mate! We need your cheque book. We just might have overspent a teensy-weensy bit on the ol’ bar bill and need a top-up. You know how it all goes?”

    We have had the “Cash for Honours” scandal, could this be described as ....

    “Cash for Constituencies”?

    Oh Yes. ....

    It’s .... “legal and permissible” .... but is it right?

    Oh Yes. .... Again!

    Hasn’t Mr A stated that he will remain in the UK and will in due course change his ‘status’ for taxation purposes?

    Lets consider?

    If the Nu Cons do get in and change the tax laws to deal with the issue of non-doms then will it have any detrimental effect on Mr A? And, if so, will he just pack his bags and go? (Pretty pointless asking him to make any form of commitment really, judging by past statements anyway!)

    Oh Yes. .... Again! ( ..... Sorry!)

    Mr Clarke(e) says that more outside ‘providers’ will be made available for NHS services under a Nu Con Government.

    Isn’t that just more outsourcing to private contractors ? And hasn’t this previously proven to lead to lower wages, lower standards and increased infection rates?

    OK! ....

    Maybe, just maybe, ....

    I’m wrong!

  • Comment number 21.

    #6 Go1
    "Remember also that for all of their proclamations about the impact of immigration - that should be controlled on pragmatic grounds and not due to race - the science shows that we are all genetically very similar and there are in fact benefits to a multi-racial population."

    I believe you may number me amongst those 'far right posters' although such loose tags and compartmentalisation can be misleading and inaccurate. For instance, in his latest newsletter Cameron stresses that his party is to become 'radical' and he uses the word many times over.
    I have to admit to canvassing many years ago for Heath when I lived in his constituency. To me and my parents the Conservative Party then stood for CONSERVING that which was best in our society, so the term 'radical' would have been a contradiction. Now it is just a futile attempt to avoid any blame for the wrecking of our society during the past twelve years.

    I have used the phrase 'vote radical' to appeal for real change, if only to get a few MPs who will not continue to disenfranchise the indigenous population (as all major parties have done) by weak obedience and over-sensitivity to political correctness, by gagging free speech with taunts of racism, and by allowing more and more control from EU.

    There is no danger that a viable government will be elected consisting of a majority of 'far right' MPs, but with a hung parliament their voices may be heard and ours listened to.

    I am glad to see that we may be moving toward agreeing on one issue with your statement that "the impact of immigration .... should be controlled on pragmatic grounds and not due to race". I have stressed the need for pragmatism, the common good, and criticised the myopic focus on the letter of law, so will admit to being a pragmatist. I have never argued for immigration control on grounds of race - always on sheer numbers and the clash of alien cultures and beliefs.

    However, whilst agreeing that our society has, in the past, benefitted from modest episodes of immigration (and I have contributed in a modest way to a mixed-race population) I might just modify your statement to read "there are in fact (too many )benefits (paid) to a multi-racial population (who have not made any past contribution but now wish to distort our society)"

  • Comment number 22.


    See! Not off-topic at all. After Brown the deluge - and yea verily shall Kent flood.

    'Put not your faith in Floodline'. They think I am under water, more-or-less all the time; in a purely indicative sense you understand . . .

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh Dear: White chap in California, USA is getting out of line.

    'What is To Be Done'?

  • Comment number 24.



    Coexistence seems to be the answer with more often than not the young generation challenging their seniors but then again it depends on the so-called 'seniors' and anyway representatives of the youth can also get stuck in rigity at the early stages of life. It's all relative really, as ususal.


  • Comment number 25.

    Isn't Jeremy (born 1950, I believe) one of the baby boomers himself?

  • Comment number 26.

    The ONLY reason the Wintertons are standing down is because of their dodgy expenses row :p
    Who cares about them??? I don't.

  • Comment number 27.

    #46 from previous page - continuation

    The Sun’s been kind and is still in the sky
    Though making its way now down to the night
    Promising to give us the weekend just fine
    As one can dream of if one does like the Sun

  • Comment number 28.

    Depleted uranium in Falluja? given DU dust moves around the world are we not just poisoning ourselves?

  • Comment number 29.

    'Have the baby-boomers screwed things up completely for the young?'

    Depends on the boomer, it's all relative anyway

  • Comment number 30.

    25. RicardianLesley 'Isn't Jeremy (born 1950, I believe) one of the baby boomers himself?'

    Do dogs bite?

    Humour (and profundity?) in three little words...

  • Comment number 31.

    Hope you will allow this interview video link of Micheal Moore :

    He is just about correct in my view. How are we going to bring about a situation whereby the banks are under control if we cant even stop them from allowing criminals from having business bank accounts and scamming the pants off people, let alone Credit Default Swaps. Would like to see a serious in depth debate on this. Ive listened and read the views of economists in the metal industry and particular gold - they had the first collapse marked out - they would - its their thing, disaster = gold goes up that's why at the time I took their words with a pinch of salt - they were spot on and they are talking pretty much the same as Moore this time round as well.

  • Comment number 32.

    are these people for real?

    ...This page provides details about the good character requirement that must be met by anyone applying for British nationality.....

    ...You must tell us if you have ever had any involvement in terrorism. If you do not regard something as an act of terrorism but others do or might, you must mention it when making your application.

    You must also tell us if you have been involved in any crimes in the course of armed conflict including crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide.

  • Comment number 33.

    Perhaps final salary pensions were only ever a bribe to stop people voting anything like communist ( statist ) during the cold war, no need to provide working people with a decent standard of living in retirement since 1989 ?

    Even since 1989, with the above anti " statist " attitude of the elderly drawing generous final salary pensions built in, there is very little chance of the UK ever being run in the interest of the current working population. Some commentators claim that 25% of everyone's Council Tax goes on funding local authority pensions, how many once profitable private companies have been forced into liquidation due to pension commitments.

    The current position is just totally unsustainable, mainstream politicians appear to care more about what the stock market parasites think than true productive working people. Its just so unfortunate that the have to, but if the stock market goes belly up nobody will be able to afford to continue to pay even existing pensions. You just need to look how Gordon Brown has been personally attacked since he suggested adopting some form of Robin Hood Tax. Likewise speculators from the Corporate Multinational Cartel forcing the value of the pound down because the Tories might not win the general election outright.

    At the moment the financial burden is being borne by those who although didn't get any additional pension to the state system who nevertheless built up their own personal substantial cash savings. The only fair thing to do is to put the BoE interest rate back up at least 5% and encourage more people to save cash ( real money ) as opposed to the false ( speculation for capital growth ) money generated by stock markets.

    The buy now pay ten times as much later credit scam which made the alleged boom in our economy must be past its sell by date. The recent financial crash has " spoiled " all the would be ten bob fat cats with any realistic prospect of ever paying back any loans in full. Only the foolish borrow these day's and perhaps financial markets are storing up an even bigger crash in the future by allowing it. Perhaps it time to get really radical financially and increase base interest rates back up to at least 5%, and then watch our true sustainable economy recover. If the stock market parasites cant afford to pay their commitment to pensions so be it.

  • Comment number 34.

    "Channel 4 News"

    Andrew Thomas: "...when [Geert Wilders was] finally allowed in [to the U.K.], there was fierce protest..."

    Let's not exaggerate, shall we, Mr. Thomas? The handful of nutters was easily out-numbered by the police. Wanting the protest to have been bigger and more agitated doesn't make it so. Try to keep your prejudices to yourself.

    I often wonder whether the Left questions what it has got itself into, regarding their unconditional support for anything and anyone Islamic. I've had to switch off "5 Days" (BBC 1), feeling the repeated attempted conditioning (brainwashing?), in favour of an unquestioning support for Islam, and the clunky attempts at what the viewers are supposed to see as racism - 'if you don't like it, go back to where you came from', etc. - have, together with all the other occasions, crossed the line into oppression.

    By the way, nice touch, on the website, linking to a 2007 article, showing an 11-point lead for Brown, but listing it as a new 'news' item.

    Taking a leaf from Fox News?

  • Comment number 35.

    33. brossen99 'Perhaps it time to get really radical financially and increase base interest rates back up to at least 5%, and then watch our true sustainable economy recover.'

    If they do that, just think how it will affect those with credit card debt and mortgages etc, as the rates will just jump another 5% from where they already are now. The problem is that so many long-term, projected modest returns were based on the irrational inductive belief of continuous growth (i.e. based on past performance - just think of endowment policies).

    An entire generation has taken a style of life for granted: fast food, fast relationships, fast...well everything, yet all built on almost zero productivity. Take what they've become used to away and they'll scream like children.

    But I reckon your basic thesis is correct.

    There is one rather wild conjecture...., makes one think anyway. Some of the comments are worth reading.

    Statism isn't necessarily 'communism' as vilified by the scaremongers, but it is Old Labour. It is hard to envisage it ever being embraced by today's all glitter and excitement, manic generation, as it's too 'boring', 'predictable' and 'drab' no doubt.

    They'd have to want it, crave it like a drug, for it to ever come about......;-)

  • Comment number 36.

    One of the major advantages that the boomers have had over their children is the large increase in the price of their property. This will, in time, be passed on to their children. Also, wealth is relative to the time in which people live. We baby boomers grew up in a time of much greater austerity than many who currently believe that they are poor yet have food, clothing, warmth and the full range of technological luxuries including washing machines, TVs, microwaves, computers etc. They, like us, have also not experienced the genuine "discomfort" of being involved in a world war. Lastly, who can predict the future?

  • Comment number 37.

    baby boomers to blame.
    my two children have had money from me since the left school and they still get money from me today and when i leave this rat race they will get more money. so the young people who are on newsnight now moaning about their lot should get off their backsides and work for a living

  • Comment number 38.

    This programme is built on a complete fallacy. I am a so-called baby boomer. born 1960. My pension is non-existent as final salary was phased out in the 80s and the recent share crash decimated what there was of it. Ok I have a house but it's small as I lost out in the property crash of the 80s when I was in my 20s. Plus I was mis-sold an endowment policy. I will inherit nothing from my parents as I will have to sell their house to pay for their care. I will also have to help to pay for my daughter to go to university. Most of students around here have cars and many of them have parents who are paying their rent. Far from having it all, we are being squeezed between 2 dependent generations. Young people born after 1980 have no concept of saving, and they are appalling wasters of resources. They all expect the latest phone/ipod/laptop/trainers and see no connection with their consumerist desires and climate change. This programme is like a sulky teenager - always blaming his parents. It needs to grow up.

  • Comment number 39.

    The idea of pitting one generation against another is sick. The money is there to pay for care, services, education and pensions if we didn't spend it on arms and pour money into bankers bonusses, and of course if we taxed the rich. Your panel only contained middle class people on both sides. There was noone speaking for the low paid or those in non-pensionable jobs. The so-called baby boomers are not homogeous, they include people who have made it to the top, and people who worked in low paid non-pensionable jobs, the disabled, the carers who have not been in full time permanent well paid employment. They are not all on huge pensions. The state pension is very low. Health provision if you have a chronic condition is not ideal. Point the balame where it lies at the class who have taken the big pay and profits and are not prepared to allow us all (young and old) the health, education and other services which we have already paid for.

  • Comment number 40.

    I would just like to point out that these young people who are complaining have also benefitted from this boom. Better homes with their parents, better schooling, better holidays etc. They also probably won't have to support their parents directly when they have retired and providing free child care.
    I also suppose that they will complain when their parents leave them an inheritance !!
    I just fall into this zone being born in 1961 however, I have saved a lot towards a pension that will probably not be worth anywhere near what was promised, will probably have to work longer to qualify for this pension, have an endowment mortgage that is on track to pay half what I owe, can't afford exotic holidays abroad, and will end up having to support my children through university etc. So I suppose I am priveledged

    Not everyone can be tarred with the same brush. We have gone through hard times, recession etc. You will, we will again. Get on with life it's not a rehearsal and is to short to complain all the time.

  • Comment number 41.

    #35 Statist

    Credit card card providers are taking the urine with interest rates at the moment perhaps due to most media coverage attempting to portray that rates are falling when they are actually increasing. Similarly with mortgage rates, back in the relatively high interest rate period of the late 1970s building societies could turn a profit on only 2% above their savings rates.

    Perhaps the government need to impose a cap on the percentage above " instant access savings rate " the banks can charge borrowers. However, there would appear to be the beginnings of a real market for savers, the Skipton building society recently scrapped its mortgage link to base rates for just this reason, even though they increased their profits last year whilst still paying better than average savers rates.

    As for the public borrowing requirement, what we need is a government with the balls to cap public sector pensions at 25K per household. Increasing inheritance tax would be a bad move, because now the only hope for many people is that they can inherit their parents house when they die. Hence the various schemes for funding care of the elderly for free, better to leave things as they are for the following reason. If your family actually need long term extra care in old age, free care will give your offspring an advantage in life and may therefore perpetuate the problem for future generations. Bit of hard nosed financial Darwinism there, but has to be said as it would appear that the ability to reproduce is perhaps now largely down to those breeding's potential future financial position.

  • Comment number 42.

    I dont think I am selfish in the slightest. Both my wife and I came from a working class background and our parents worked hard to give us a better life than they had. Likewise, my wife and I have worked all our lives to give our children a better life than we had. OK, so we have bought our house and paid off our mortgage, but the house will belong to our children when we croak! My son is 32 years of age and has just become non dependant. We have continued to give our children a "hand up" throughout their whole lives. We even now, contribute to our grandchildren. We have always paid our taxes and yes we both have a pension which as far as I am concerned I paid for at 11%.

    The problem now a days is that successive governments have allowed our industry to decline so that even kids with a university degree find it hard to get a decent job. There are too many young people working in Burger King and MacDonalds earning basic wage or little more whose aspirations will never be met.

    Thats not MY fault, nor the fault of my generation.

  • Comment number 43.

    The baby boomers generation story, the inter-generations solidarity (or lack of it)and the whole crack down of our social model is a great story. Unfortunately,NN did not tackle the story with its usual critical insight bringing together experts with gravitas, data and politicians to juxtapose their views.There is loads of research carried out on this topic amongst sociologists in the UK and the rest of Europe. This is a story that crosses boundaries and it would have been great to see how in other countires the same concern is addressed.Sadly none of these ingredients made in on the set.On top of that, what I found particlularly discouraging was the fact that none of the older generation invitees questioned the fact that paying for academic studies today is perhaps an extremly unfair measure. Instead of saying (btw only one older generation invitee completed his studies-and that is a parameter that was not addressed)that grants was the right thing to do and what we have today will have huge side effects on our skills and workforce...they said that with today's system they would have to pay too little...hmmm ground breaking...
    How much preparation was put to produce this piece?

  • Comment number 44.

    Jeremy asked for solutions but not many offered. Here's one. Build more houses. Boomer nimbyism forced me to live in a shoebox!

  • Comment number 45.

    Yet again, a top notch Jeremy on Newsnight :o)
    Great to see both sides of the argument about "baby boomer generation." I was shocked by one of the non-baby boomers who wanted pensioners to stop getting winter fuel allowances/cut in pensions/getting rid of bus passes etc as she thought the money could be spent better elsewhere. Perhaps someone may not inherit granny's treasures after all :p. Blaming the baby boomers for increased house prices was a joke (house prices rise - even the dullest know that!), as was their claim that older people needed the NHS more than the younger generation.

    They forget that if it wasn't for the baby boomers, most of us would not have had an opportunities that we have been given. And what happens when those criticising the baby boomer generation get old themselves? Will they be tossed aside too?

    I take it all back about the Wintertons......what a spectacular interview by Jeremy :o) I'm glad he interviewed them and made them squirm.

  • Comment number 46.

    Good programme tonight. Light but not lightweight with an intelligent, rather than at one another's throats, discussion between the young and the older.

    The Wintertons got a little nostalgic about their own generation but then it was only to be expected, I suppose, with Jerely, however, not giving in to the same kind of sentimentality!


  • Comment number 47.

    According to :

    Alexander Lebedev, the former KGB spy, is the new owner of The Independent, industry sources told The Times, and that Jeremy is on his wishlist :o)

  • Comment number 48.

    In short, yes they are making it difficult for the younger generation.

    They do cause an increase in house prices, these people have been able to accumulate wealth over a long period and making up a disproportionate section, outprice younger people, who are pushed into bedsits, poor quality housing.

    Also it is depressing having the politics of the country decided by the over 60s. I think this has a lot to do with our conservatism over Europe, I chuckle at how bigoted my elderly relatives are on this but there prejudices hold back the whole country. Also issues such as cannabis decriminalisation, possession of recreational drugs vs. other crime. where there are huge differences in attitudes between those up to 30-40 and the conservative older folk. I wish more were of the attitude 'if it doesn't harm me why interfere'. I also suspect they are responsible for more conservatism on the net.

    I think the effect on affordable housing is most palpable and not easy to fix. And the burden on the health service, although inheritance tax can mitigate this. Having seen 3 elderly relative go through the care system I’m bewildered why the conservatives oppose it.

    So yes, they are holding the country back, There's a Harry Enfield sketch, who won world war 2 pointing out the higher standards of living in other EU (now Euro) countries. Britain can't move forward because its trapped in this baby boomer mindset. whilst the younger folk stay in bedsits thinking... no its not so great here.

  • Comment number 49.



    Jeremy has been on Lebedev's wish list for a while already with no sign of it materialising into reality.

    Although one never knows, let's hope Jeremy stays on at Newsnight, or with the telly anyway, rather than disappear into the world of the word only.


  • Comment number 50.

    Re: the younger /studying/ generation

    They don't have it that bad really. To think the easy of study these days with an almost instantenous access to knowledge of all sorts.

    When I was a student in Warsaw /here we go/, more ofthen than not, neither text nor literary books were available in bookshops. Everything was a struggle. Often, one had to rely on the goodwill of one's fellow students to gain access to quite basic info or a book, etc. The libraries were there but frequently one had to queue up to finally lay hands on the right material.

    Although obviously too many UK students are faced with quite a big debt after finishing their studies which must be quite offputting and worrying.

  • Comment number 51.


    I meant to say Jeremy in the last sentence

  • Comment number 52.

    I was born in 1962. My parents grew up during and just after WW2 and were starting their careers, getting married and buying their first home during the 1950s. That was the relatively affluent period which saw the birth of throw-away society and rabid consumerism - this was the time when the seeds of modern climate change were sown and nurtured - and many people of around about their age still see nothing wrong with buying endless new gadgets, furniture etc (hence the constant scream of power tools etc during most summer weekends nowadays, despite rising fuel prices!).

    My parents, like many of their friends and relatives, inherited substantial amounts of money and assets from their own parents, a particularly frugal generation - not massive amounts, but roughly half the value of their parents' average, 3 bedroom, fully paid up homes. Having said that, my parents had an extremely strong work ethic themselves.

    There was a very lean period for them during the 1970s, when I was growing up - massive inflation, strikes, power cuts etc. My family had a real struggle to get by. We couldn't afford TV. We didn't go on holiday, even in Britain. There were genuine food shortages and many "basics," such as coffee, got too expensive to buy. Then Mrs Thatcher brought the "I'm alright jack (so long as my income tax continues to be reduced)" philosophy into fashion, widening the gap between the relatively wealthy and most of the rest of us to an extent not seen for decades before, and increasing unemployment while reducing benefits, and cooking the books.

    I was one of the last students to get a full grant (£1500 per year - room rent £80 per month), and I was one of those fortunate enough to have a decent job (and benefit from lower taxation, of which I didn't actually approve in principle). However, I could never have afforded even a small studio flat on my own - prices were already too high. It was not until I moved out of London with my husband that we could afford to buy a small house in the fens between us - and then property prices crashed in the early 1990s.

    My mother now lives in sheltered accomodation and there is nothing left of the capital or the house my father left to us when he died. Many elderly people began to be forced to exchange their homes for the care they needed from the 1990s onwards. I will inherit nothing at all.

    However, I am determined that my son WILL do so. At the moment, I'm racing to pay off the mortgage on my 3 bedroom Victorian semi in East Kent and desperately trying to work out how I can make sure that its value, or the house itself, goes to him - rather than some grasping care home staffed by unqualified, resentful carers on minimum wage. I have no prospect of any kind of pension.

    The generation facing the bleakest future of all so far is my son's, as things are (he is now 15): There is a real, but still avertable, climate change coming - and his generation will definitely see the bleakest and most frightening of its effects.

    It is those generations of people who were born in the 40s and 50s who seem most in denial about this, and who are still busy making a killing through the globalised pharmaceutical, chemical, motor and oil industries - and enjoying playing unnecessarily with their chainsaws and hedge-trimmers at weekends, before sitting under their gas-powered patio heaters in the evenings (not generally those of us, as Mr Willetts claims, who were born after 1960).

    I hope very much that I will be able to leave my son something substantial to help him deal with the difficult world he is growing into. Several people who are roughly 10 years older than me have looked at me condescendingly when I've said this and told me that there is no point in "giving kids too much." I disagree: My grandparents saw it as their duty to pass on whatever they could scrape together during their lives to the next generation. When did that go out of fashion?

    I'm 47 now, still young as far as I'm concerned - and I don't like being told how to think or behave. I'm proud that it was my own generation, perhaps even more than the Vietnam campaigners, who have consistently argued, demonstrated, campaigned and worked for a fairer, more caring world - and who continue to do so. It was our generation that seriously pushed climate change onto the global agenda, often in the face of ridicule.

    We obviously face big problems in the near future - and these will fall on the shoulders of your younger participants this evening, and their peers, and even more so on those who will follow them. This is no time for ageism - this is time for realism and co-operation

  • Comment number 53.

  • Comment number 54.

    Woke up at 4.45am thinking about how we baby boomers have wrecked the lives of young people...It occurs to me that people born after 1980 have little idea of how modestly British people lived until recent times. Until then most people were paid in cash, weekly because their incomes were so low. People owned and consequently threw away very little. We are all wrecking the planet now, but I do believe who under 40 are wreck with as much gesto as older people. In the 1970s students got grants, but then there were precious few of them. The vast majority left school at 15, started work and began to pay tax. Which they still pay. None of this long childhoods (until 21) or gap years... financed by whom? Oh, I think it must be parents, who are, of course, baby boomers. On the other hand, I worry about how difficult it is for young people to acquire good, stable housing. That does need to be tackled.

  • Comment number 55.

    Interesting piece about the baby boomers.

    The house price thing is irrelevant. You can't blame the baby boomers that their property prices have increased. The huge national debt that the baby boomers have left for their kids to pay off, however, is another story.

    Just one other interesting angle which I'm surprised wasn't mentioned: just how much does Jeremy Paxman get paid anyway? I wonder how all the young folk feel about having to pay their TV licences so he can receive his stratospheric salary?

  • Comment number 56.

    The baby boomer debate missed one point, aged 18 and earning less than £4 a week I had to pay into SERPs, the story was for every £9-10 shillings I paid in I would get 6 pence additional pension, so the pension I will recieve I bought nearly 50 years ago, no choice compulsary deduction from my pay packet. The government and succesive goverments spent my money now it is pay back time.

  • Comment number 57.

    22. At 4:33pm on 04 Mar 2010, barriesingleton wrote:

    'Put not your faith in Floodline'. They think I am under water, more-or-less all the time;'

    O/T (ish.. it does rather go to the consequences of our boxtickocracy), but it is nice to find a fellow immersee.

    With the glorious Wye meandering but a few hundred yards from my front door, I signed up to this service day 1.

    Sadly, after the 3rd 'Head for the hills! Build an ark for the pets! Flee!' text and email, when all that happened was the footy pitch on its banks got covered, I got in touch to see if there was the possibility of better accuracy and/or less general advice beyond DEFCON 1.

    The chap I asked me if I wished to submit a complaint. I said no, as I appreciated the value of the theory but felt the practice had rendered the system's value useless as we now ignored it for being too extreme too often. I was merely offering feedback to help improve its potential value.

    Hence he suggested I unsubscribe. Didn't help... didn't change much, but I am sure a target was met somewhere.

  • Comment number 58.

    Baby boomers were a demographic blip. The birth rate has been low (and way below replacement) for some time now, since the 60s, (except amongst Asian immigrants) and that's why we have an ageing population, not just because of the baby boomers and older folk living longer through better healthcare etc.

    The root problem is this: liberating females from the 20s onwards had a trickle down effect so more went into the workplace and into higher education and stayed in careers. These liberated females then delayed having children (and more amongst the higher educated, a third in fact) had none at all! That they were in the workplace earning money pushed up the cost of housing as there could be two incomes for a mortgage! The same was the case regarding debt. As people were not paid in cash anymore, but had been 'pushed' cheque books and cards, they could more easily borrow for 'luxury' goods. They became a nation of argumentative, spoilt bratty/catty self-centred/narcissistic adolescent debtors living for the now with no thought for the future. This is the stuff usury is made of, and that's what the generations before had avoided like the plague.

    This usury or 'liberation' served those who had engineered this very very well. They made loads of money!

    This has all been explained ad nauseam on these blogs before. Where's she gone? Has she given up?

    Mr Willetts and friends will not help. Anarchists like him and his successors caused this!

    In the 60s, 5-10% went to university, now it's closer to 50%. More females than in the 60s too. It just ain't natural (see male:female IQ ratios at at 120 and above. The expansion of higher education (a population and economy killer), has only been done by dumbing down higher education. That has got to stop. As to the cheeky young chap who asked 'what are you going to do about it'....You're on your own mate, but get rid of your credit cards and lack of respect for a start.

  • Comment number 59.


    "this was the time when the seeds of modern climate change were sown and nurtured"

    'Consensus Science' enthrones the Sun and planets as a stable configuration - if cyclic - since Adam was a lad, yet there are strong indicators, backed by competent enquiry, that this is not the case. Thus it is very unwise to think that we know either 'where we are' or 'where we have come from', as a planet, in terms of ice cores etc. There is good evidence to show that, in recent millennia, forces acted on the planet that currently do not.

    Against all the above, judgement on "Who Rogered the Climate" should not be hasty. 'Reality' may be as unreal and deceptive as a cartoon - especially consensus reality.

  • Comment number 60.


    I found last nights talk on this rather shallow. Do the young wish they were never born, because that was in the Boomers choice, not to have children. What do the young want? Do they want their parents and grandparents bumped off early so they can inherit their wealth? The young people all seemed well educated and from middle class backgrounds. What of the poor working man/woman here, without a university education, they are the ones in real trouble.

    The complaint that there is not enough housing has been the cry since WWII. Even as one of the orignal boomers I still struggled to find a house I could afford. And went without a lot to achieve it.

    There was no mention of the 5 million immigrants in the last 10 years, they will put an enormous strain on health care, food, water, housing and education services. But we are told, they will keep the now young in their old age.

    If we build more houses where do we get the food from? We can only provide 32 percent of the population at the moment, what happens if we can't for some reason get cheap food from abroad?

    I have now been through 4 recessions, and have nearly lost my livelyhood and house several times. Try paying a mortgage at 15 percent, it almost bankrupted us.

    I have three youngish children, they have been lucky and found employment, all are buying their house, and have cars, but not many consumer goods or holidays, and two are paying back student loans.

    I've worked, paid and unpaid since I was 15, so all I can suggest to the young people, is work, there's nothing else for it. Oh and save, you don't have to have all those gap years, drink and drugs, flash holidays and consumer items.

    Oh and when I was young only 10 - 15 percent went to university, not the unsustainable 50 percent of todays youth. What's wrong with an apprenticeship, a dirty word these days.

  • Comment number 61.

    #52 good post - much identify with that. Have you seen the Lasting Power of Attorney forms ? - they send you a mountain of paper, forms and explanations knowing you probably don't have the will to fill it all in let alone bother to read it all.

  • Comment number 62.


    Risking money that cannot afford to be lost, has increased, as people get more desperate, as OUR GOVERNMENT TACITLY UNDERWRITES GAMBLING THROUGH THE 'NATIONAL' LOTTERY.

    It IS possible to judge success by the number of things you can cheerfully do without. There was a time when people were TOO PROUD to claim much needed 'dole'. But Moral Compass Brown wants taxable GROWTH, so that he can spray money over Africa (or wherever) IN HIS OWN NAME. (For his legacy's sake - amen.)

    Britain is the second most deranged country in the world. it would appear we just want to be Topp - even at that! God help us - any God will do.

  • Comment number 63.

    55. At 08:02am on 05 Mar 2010, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    Interesting piece about the baby boomers.
    ... just how much does Jeremy Paxman get paid anyway?

    Saw an amusing graphic t'other day where various BBC talents were equated to 6Music. I think JP came in at about 6x, just behind Jeremy Clarkson and slightly ahead of Chris Moyles. Though I am sure the latter is of great comfort to our unemployed yoof. Speaking of whom, it is not a unique phenomenon, especially when there has always been a problem with predicting supply and demand. And we now seem to have an ample supply of extensively qualified, debt-burdened youngsters sadly unable through overqualification to do the jobs they have been told they needed to aspire beyond. Not sure if one can get a degree in celebrity yet, but it does seem a lucrative area to consider.

    Unsure if I 'qualify'' as a boomer, but I was looking for work in the early 80's fresh out of Uni. Seem to recall being told to get on my bike. I chose a 747 as the UK was so dire. Got even worse around the end of the decade as I recall.

    Now my wife and I are raising our kids and looking after my war era Mum, whose thrift has not be recognised as well as it might by the latest crop of fiscally competent pols to curse us with their well-funded talents.

    Certainly I am not too sure that what they have done with our money has been invested too wisely in the last decade any more than others, so pinning any 'blame' for anything on those from a limited socio-economic group from a narrow band of time seems... quaint.

  • Comment number 64.

    54. Virginia Slim 'That does need to be tackled.'

    But it won't be in any of our liberal-democracies. It can't. That requires governance (see China).

    See what happened to Michael Foot? That's the American way, or at least, those who would like to see an end to American hegemony would have us think so.

    Every time I see someone write: 'the government should..' I we have a generation or two which doesn't see anarchism ('freedom') for what it truly is, and whose interests it serves. Just try and assertively tell someone what to think, say or do today. People are bags of irrational, self-interested, contradictions. It's the nature of belief and emotion. Point any of these contradictions out however ....beware..... most people are not very bright and are very narcissistic too, their self-imnage is what matters, not what is true. This is not a formula for learning. Only a few used to go to university, and even fewer got good degrees. But good riddance to all that elitism and deference eh? That was The New Conservatives and Neo Labour that was.

  • Comment number 65.


    Apart from soundly applauding #58 (stands back and waits to be stoned by my sisters) I will add:

    NO-ONE has a RIGHT to an inheritance.

    The best help the Baby Boomers or others can give to their offspring, is a nudge in the direction of SAVING, of Cutting cloth according to need and availablity, and of delayed gratification.

    I also query the growing trend of elderly people staging 'sit ins' in large family homes when they live in one or two rooms at most. Lovely idea for the individual. Bad idea for the world. We then build new family homes and singelton flats when these life styloes are not conducive to caring form community or the planet.

    Think about solo lifestyles (in my day when you left home you rented a room in a shared house with strangers, student or worker)

    For every single person flat, you need one bathroom adn one kitchen and one room to eat,sleep,live. A four bed house needs one bedroom adn one bathroom for 2, 3 or 4 day/night rooms. That's a simple mathematical sum surely.

    From my first week wage at 17, 50% was saved 25% went to parents and the rest was spent for several weeks in building up a suitable working wardrobe, plus travel costs (shoe mending and cycle repair kits in my case)

    At our peril do we continue this 'I'm alright Jack' attitude to life - young, old or anywhere in between. We ALL are culpable in the mess we currently are mired in. The medecine is in front of us. It's free, but it's not a sweet syrup or a sugar coated pill. It will stick in throats.

  • Comment number 66.

    I would suggest that NN audience was swelled last night by the maddening, hysterical performance by Carol Voorderman on QT as numerous texts more Carol, please.....

  • Comment number 67.

    @ BYT #65 - We DO have a RIGHT to inherit! :p

  • Comment number 68.


    Carol Vorderman, precisely like Westminster wannabes. is NEED-LED. It is a miserable 'place to be'. There is no excuse for the BBC to 'stick her on QT' just because she is a 'celebrity'. Oh NO! Will it be Wossy next?
    He will probably go on about her phenomenal 'growth'.

  • Comment number 69.

    thanks goodness one could fast forward through the manufactured row about baby boomers.

    only tories know how to do real sleaze.

  • Comment number 70.

    Being one of the generation under fire I'm most resentful and disgusted by the insinuation that we are expecting too much in old age.

    We did what was expected of us: worked, saved (and look what use that has been in current times); bought our homes (that turns out to be one of the worst traps ever); raised our families trying to instill values that seemed right at the times.

    My employers and myself must have paid at least £40k into the NI pot which, if it had been invested properly, would have yielded a great deal more - but no, the government saw fit to do the stupid thing and pay pensions out of tax income. And don't forget that we all paid a higher income tax in those days than now. 20% was a dream.

    Property ownership is a trap - a British phenomenon that young people today can learn from. Having invested much of our earnings into "the property ladder" - a disgusting term, almost as bad as the "rat race" we now feel with regret almost certain that it will be confiscated to pay for this or that political failing of current times. We won't be able to pass its value onto our children. So: understand that with the ties and stresses it brings, owning your home has become a waste of your working lifetime.

    So don't blame us. We, like the younger among us today, were just part of the flow of a system. Their turn will come 30 years down the line when the energy wars are under way, oxygen and fresh water will be running out and oil-hungry industrially driven consumerism will be seen as a profligate waste of the planet's resources.

  • Comment number 71.

    65. brightyangthing 'I also query the growing trend of elderly people staging 'sit ins' in large family homes when they live in one or two rooms at most. Lovely idea for the individual. Bad idea for the world.'

    An astute observation (and post overall) but..... when the elderly are moved out of their own homes (which they have overlearned their way around) and are put in a 'care' home (no matter how well staffed etc), they generally go down-hill very quickly, and not just in mood. I don't think socialism works unless it is a total system of care, as one just can't trust (unsupervised) private (minimum wage usually) individuals to provide safe, trust-worthy, in-home care. IT comes down to why one needs a big 'bureaucratic' Vogon-managed system. These are indeed 'efficient', but efficiency is a a weasel word foisted upon us by economic anarchists to whom profit is the ultimate measure of success not quality of life.

    Many have been had. Especially women alas. They are the ones who have been most exploited by 'liberation'. Just look at what they are sold, at what cost, and by what means.

    As I read stuff like this, I naturally ask: 'but surely cell division is a genetic process which is limited by age, i.e only so many division per lifetime. Surely increasing the rate of cell loss through exfoliation for young looking skin now is like grabbing lots of resources now at the expense of later'?

    Female impulsive/child-like intolerance of boring strategic look-ahead planning, is costing them and everyone else, dearly. It's all in t hose IQ ratio figures alas, which is why the libertarians (read drug companies, banks etc) play it down, and fund equality NGO 'think tanks' I reckon. It isn't the left-wing at all. The left would surely cater for all sorts (communities need a range of people), not at the expense of everyone in favour of a greedy minority. But, you'll only ever get this via planned population management, the idea of which was made anathema to post WWII generations by people like Orwell and Hayek (anarchists) who, if you think about it, could only have thereby encouraged the free market and its beneficiaries at the expense of socialism.

  • Comment number 72.



    I have nothing against leaving or even buying a house for one's kid/kids should one be in the position of doing so as long as they are taught to do something with their lives rather than leaving them disempowered by drugs at worst or plain laziness. Ideally I would teach them a humanitarian approach to life but even if they just let's say wanted to concentrate on artistic or philosophical pursuits they would bound to be involved with others and thereby keeping them interested or involved in their activities, etc.

    I hope this text makes some sense and is put together in a comprehensible way as I'm sending in from one of the London streets which to my delight are today soaked in sunshine.

    Is your area, BYT, soaked in sunshine as well?


    Is your area

  • Comment number 73.

    Brown: "I was given information by the intelligence services which led me to believe that Iraq was a threat that had to be dealt with by the actions of the international community."

    But surely they are supposed to be saying that there was no robust intelligence as it was "patchy" and so on? The intelligence services were not saying what they wanted to hear and it was presentational quirks that led, apparently, to the 45 minutes "misunderstandings" in the dodgey dossier.

    Secondly he has not said what process he went through before accepting that Tony Blais's pal, the Attorney General, was right when all of the other legal opinion said the opposite. He has also not said that he was surprised about the AG's Damascene conversion to the US position in those critical days.

    Sometimes Chilcott looks as though it will throw something useful up and sometimes it doesn't.

  • Comment number 74.

    #32 jc "are these people for real?
    Granting British Citizenship
    "We consider you to be of good character if you show respect for the rights and freedom of the United Kingdom, have observed its laws and fulfilled your duties and obligations as a resident."

    Nationalities with the largest numbers of grants in 2008 were:
    Indian 11,825(9% of total); Pakistani 9,440(7%); Iraqi 8,895(7%);
    Somali 7,165(6%); and Zimbabwean 5,710(4%).

    Many of the above are from countries with a belief system and ideology that challenges the rights and freedoms of 'non-believers' and have set up sharia law courts in non-observance of UK laws. Duties and obligations in many cases are to their ideology and 'brothers/sisters' worldwide and not to this country that has granted them residence and citizenship.

    Time to tighten up the wording of the oath of allegiance. Vote radical.

  • Comment number 75.

    The programme last night may have been a good effort but I think it was largely selective and subjective opinion hung on a false premise.

    Surely the big issue is the general failure of joined up policy. Medicine means more people live longer - hoorah. But if you have not handled pensions and global food supplies and resource shortages (with carbon due to hit in in the next few years) then its incoherent.

    The problem is that largely politics can't be reactive anymore in a world where the environment is controlled by humanity. You have to be proactive.

    For instance its no accident that the reactionary Lord Lawson is making hay from the climate-gate emails because he is philosophically disinclined to accept the science. But he never handles the fact that other data sets have proven pretty much the same thing as UEA.

    There is no pragmatic and creative reasoning that we have to look forward at human impacts and its unlikely that so many scientists have conspired when if there were giant flaws its quite obvious that the oil companies would offer a whistle blower the biggest pay day they have ever seen.

    Politics has to be proactive and identify problems and solutions well in advance because as the climate change debate shows you potentially need to be well ahead of the game to achieve the changes to protect the population.

    Global population levels are not even on the agenda at the moment and more power to David Attenborough's musings on the subject.

  • Comment number 76.

    #71 statist

    "It's all in t hose IQ ratio figures alas, which is why the libertarians (read drug companies, banks etc) play it down, "

    Actually it isn't all in those figures at all and that's why the science shows that there are few differences between the races and intelligence is not one of them. Most are cosmetic due to climate adaptations.

    That's why the Channel 4 "Race and Intelligence" and "The Incredible Human Journey" refute your nasty innuendo and why the scientists themselves don't agree with you.

    When you were Jaded_Jean you used to be more open about your views on eugenics and National Socialism so while you bleat on about the evils of democratic freedoms you don't actually identify what it is that you are promoting.

  • Comment number 77.

    #64 statist

    "most people are not very bright and are very narcissistic too, their self-imnage is what matters, not what is true"

    Do you mean not very bright as in they suggest the Holocaust was "made up to put people off statist's" and the making up was done by the US statist government and the statist Stalin?

    Millions of people in the destroyed European theatre coordinated their arguments to put forward an alleged false excuse when they were the victors according to some dullards.

    Nobody has ever taken any credible "evidence" for this to court in a Nazi war crimes trial. Odd really.

    Do you mean not very bright as in they promote racial policy when even the latter day Haw Haw's have grasped that they cannot fight the EHRC legal requirement for multi racial membership on the basis of their "science"?

  • Comment number 78.

    Brown and Chilcott a heads-up: Imagine a computer program having to work through what is said logically. It could be done, as we have NATURAL LANGUAGE parsing programs. The problem is when they hit psychological verbs (the bugbears of NATURAL LANGUAGE). If you listen carefully to all these Q&As, the reason they run aground (computational syntax errors etc) is because they hit these psychological idioms. These verbs are in fact rational sink-holes. These terms make inquiries such as Chilcott, farces - pantomimes. When people look puzzled, it is because the witnesses are pulling fast ones, i.e. they are using psychological verbs.

    Laws should be written like computer programs. They are not though, They are written to look like computer programs, but laws have equivocations built into them. The evil doers stack the Lords with their kin so that these clauses are slipped in. Many doing the voting don't know what is going on of course, but they can be counted on. That's all that matters. Alas, we live by the letter of the law.

  • Comment number 79.

    If the BNP have said they will comply with multi racial membership law but Simon Darby has told an Asian in public that his membership would be blocked does this then mean the BNP will be banned and is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    Whilst I despise the lies (that you can often read from the posters who are not the BNP on this page) that they promote as they are pure evil you can't judge what impact these malcontents are having without the democratic process.

    That said if UKIP turned out to have grown support and then became entwined with the BNP - who have previously suggested cooperation - that would be an unexpected distortion. Do we need to know more about Lord Pearson and his views on Geert Wilders?

    But if the BNP turned out to have far more connection to the spate of would be far right bombers over the last few years than had been suggested it does become a different story.

  • Comment number 80.

    Your latest latest efforts to sow the seeds of discontent make the mistake of assuming that all generations at every age are alike. But it seems to me that like wine there are good generations who give us pleasure, originality and lasting memories and mediocre generations who give us nothing in particular.

  • Comment number 81.

    74. indignantindegene 'Many of the above are from countries with a belief system and ideology that challenges the rights and freedoms of 'non-believers''

    Yup, we just invite their anarchists to come and live here! Great innit!

    If I tried BYT's girlie-sneaky-catchy-monkey technique, do you think I would make more friends and influence people (or would I just be behaving like a 'lady of the night' ;-) ?

  • Comment number 82.

    #22 Barrie and #57 Junkkmale, shouldn't you be complaining to Floodline about your non flooding?

    I thought insurance premiums were based on Floodline predictions, surely that is making your household insurance much higher?

  • Comment number 83.

    Does TV educate/inform and entertain?

    In which order should those words be ordered these days?

    For instance, if one is pursuing equality.....(a tricky word):

    Q1. If one was to take all the people in the country with IQs of 120 and sort them into two piles (male and female), how many would one have of each sex?

    Q2. If some job required technical skills requiring cogntive ability in teh above class, how many males and how many females would one expect in such a job?

    You see, one has to know about priors when talking about equality. But then, maybe I'm just being an elitist with this clever talk eh?

    Now, how did such an idea come to Paul? ;-)

  • Comment number 84.

    80. MaggieL 'But it seems to me that like wine there are good generations who give us pleasure, originality and lasting memories and mediocre generations who give us nothing in particular.'

    Bit dangerous to generalise though eh? I mean, we're all individuals aren't we.

    PS. A generation is 30 years, and Europeans are dying out. Have you seen the figures across Europe? Too many women having a good time buying exfoliators etc instead of suffering through the oppression of men. Oddly, where they are oppressed, the birth rates are very healthy. We have even taken to inviting them here in droves, but then try to 'liberate' them, i.e change their ways! They seem to respond by becoming 'terrorists'!)


  • Comment number 85.

    Now this is something I don't envy the young for having to live with! : ( But I don't see any advertising campaigns to warn them of the dangers!

  • Comment number 86.

    There's an interesting article by a Baby Boomer in the My Story section of the BBC website.

    It's not my story but I doubt it's an exception - most Baby Boomer stories of people I know don't include much luck or money, except fortunately, the NHS was born at the same time as me.

  • Comment number 87.


    Q3. Given that each age band comprises about 1% of the population (ceteris paribus, but they're not, see below), and that some people are just too young to do clever jobs and some are too old, how many of each sex are available to do the caring, technical jobs) like being doctors etc?

    Q4. If the birth-dearth hits different (ses the ceteris paribus?) these age bands and ability groups differentially, do you see the B I G problem?

    This demands thinking behaviour and not everyone is very good at that cuz it hurts... and hurts=bad/wrong to lots of people so they don't do it much....

    PS. I'm not selling anyfink or nuffink.

  • Comment number 88.


    No offence intended Lizzy. But you wrote: "shouldn't you be complaining to Floodline" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Half way through the whole charade, some wally visited me to admit fault, and apologise. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha . . .

  • Comment number 89.


    "Never mind the Iraqi death and destruction; Post Cold War, the world needs 'Global Brown' to lead it into the Sunlit Uplands. I'M A BETTER MAN THAN BLAIR IS, AND GUNGA DIN."

  • Comment number 90.

    #67 (M76uk)


  • Comment number 91.

    82. At 1:38pm on 05 Mar 2010, ecolizzy wrote:
    #22 Barrie and #57 Junkkmale, shouldn't you be complaining to Floodline about your non flooding?

    I thought insurance premiums were based on Floodline predictions, surely that is making your household insurance much higher?

    Complaining about not suffering a flood might be a step far. And many have suffered. But I do wonder how many others might share our family view that too many backside-covering exhortations to head for the hills might end up having the exact opposite effect to that intended. So what use is it?

    I am assured by my insurers that my premiums reflect a more reasonable view based on the fact the property has, so far, never been flooded.

    However I am reliably informed, by the Met Office, the BBC, the Environment Agency and many others that this may change, along with the climate. When the going gets unprecedented (though this term does seem to be used when many things have happened before), the big guns bring out the big excuses.

    Sadly, when I sought tangibles to prepare and prevent, the advice lines seemed to dry up. With an Ordnance Datum measure of my lowest airbrick, to date I still await any coherent feedback on what height of flood I might expect, such that I can invest in sensible measures.

    Most money seems to be more in prose and comms these days. Spending dosh DOING anything is so last century.

  • Comment number 92.

    INHERITANCE WARS (#67 & 90)

    Yeah - WHY? Better to do a great job of launching your offspring. That way they have the unparalleled satisfaction of knowing there successes are DIY. Spare cash is better given to carefully vetted charities.

  • Comment number 93.


    "...I have nothing against leaving or even buying a house for one's kid/kids should one be in the position of doing so..."

    Neither have I Mim. It should just NOT be an expectation or right and should not be handed down if state has upheld care costs in order to do so. We have to accept that we are merely custodians of any assets (and our planet) regardless of how much we have earned/paid/spent/cost. For some, that may not be fair. Such is life.

    Personally I would prefer to share any excess I may have with my offspring and others in need whilst I am alive and can see them benefit and decide where it goes. Hence I will NEVER do the lottery.

    Bathed in sunshine indeed. Have been for a week now, although today first day much above freezing. Finally some melt of the ice fields in the vicinity, though snow gates still in place 3 miles away. A walk along the bay in Lord Reith's birthplace this morning was stunning.

  • Comment number 94.

    90. brightyangthing WHY?

    She's just accurarely stating the law isn't she?

  • Comment number 95.

    #71 Statist

    “...when the elderly are moved out of their own homes (which they have overlearned their way around) and are put in a 'care' home (no matter how well staffed etc), they generally go down-hill very quickly, and not just in mood.”

    This is sadly true I fear, but wonder why we seem to see the choices of ‘stay in home – large or small’ or be moved, often quite suddenly into a care home situation. Where are all of the variants in between.

    • Gradual downsizing (one acquaintance sold her large family home to her daughter with growing family upon her retirement) and moved into a small sheltered block whilst still able to adjust.
    • Moving in with the offspring so determined to inherit – of course they will be out earning their next holiday.
    • Living in wider community – Oops, mustn’t have forgotten – they don’t exist anymore.

    “...I don't think socialism works unless it is a total system of care, as one just can't trust (unsupervised) private (minimum wage usually) individuals to provide safe, trust-worthy, in-home care...”

    Agreed. And I despair of any ‘child’ who expects adequate or above care for their parent(s) in such situations, though I am equally sure there are some wonderful caring individuals out there. We are far too heavily reliant on institutionalised rather than societal care from cradle to grave.

    There is always an issue of care of childless or pre deceased aged but our welfare system is so poorly targeted the wastage is astonishing. That millionaires get child allowance and winter fuel payments for which there is no ‘refusal’ box!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    95. brightyangthing The sad thing is, the only time that debate ever really matters in practice is when Bills are going through the two Houses. Even then, it comes down to how many seats each Party has, as if it's intended Government policy, MPs efectively have no say in the matter. After that, Civil Servants etc just do as they are instructed according to the law.

    In my lifetime I have heard lots of talk about more and more Human Rights etc, but what I've actually seen is more and more people behaving selfishly, often without ever being aware of what's wrong with that, because it's legal. That's been a direct function of the state being rolled back, allegedly, in the interest of greater 'freedom'.

  • Comment number 97.

    I find it interesting that no-one thought to raise the issue of WHERE one is born, which is just as much, if not more of an issue as WHEN one is born.
    One can rant on and on about "boomers had all the luck, and they should pay for it", but following that logic surely those in poor countries should then have the right to levy some form of tax on those in the wealthier nations.
    I would also like to hear what the complainers would have said if they had been born about 20 years prior to any major war and then had to fight in it - that's the luck of the draw, too.

  • Comment number 98.

    Let us look at History --- there were repeating circles of War and Peace. When there were peace for too long, population grew and nations scrambled for resources which lead to War, which lead to killing, which lead to population shrinking, which ended in peace.

    The Baby Boomers were borned after WWII. The World was actually broken. They had the donting task of rebuilding the world from bottom up. They worked extremely hard and paid poorly. In order to motivate the Baby Boomers to work in such harsh condition, they were promised a bright future -- a pension when they retired. Unfortunately for many this promise is now broken. The retirement age is now shifting backward -- to 65, or later as time goes by.

    Now we have had peace for 60+ years. Population is at its all time high. However the Baby Boomers had not resort to WWIII to solve this problem. There are birth control so the demographic is a reverse pyramid. The Boomers have to work -- perhaps until they drop.

    If younger generation has to work very hard but get paid very little. It is only due to competition from the developing countries like India and China. Younger generation in these countries are living a better life than their parent. Your misery does not come from the boomer. There is little the boomers can do for their kids. Our parents in the 1930s tried protestionism and it end up with WWII. The Boomers are trying something new, something more civilised -- UN, World Trade Agreement...etc. WWIII has not happened. I know the Boomers would never be credited for things that had not happened but it does not make it less real.



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