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One of the first salvos to be fired in the looming battle of the generations...,
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This review is from: Jilted Generation (Paperback)
Written by two twenty-something journalists this very readable book has a good go at explaining why the prospects for Britain's young people haven't looked so bleak for a long, long time and why much of the predicament they now find themselves in is as a result of the changes in society brought about by their parent's generation - those now over fifty, the so-called 'babyboomers'.
The book is divided into four chapters with each covering what the authors regard as the most pressing issues facing young people growing up in Britain today:- "Housing", "Jobs", "Inheritance" and "Politics". Every gripe you'd expect to see is here. The ridiculous price of houses, job insecurity, low pay, crap education, tuition fees, over-taxation, over-indebtedness, rampant consumerism and, of course, the appalling state of the public finances and that looming £1.3 trillion of government debt that the jilted generation correctly assume they'll be paying off for the rest of their lives - courtesy of one Mr G. Brown and the Labour Party [as voted for by - yes - you guessed it, the babyboomers!]. However, armed with numerous graphs and tables Howker and Malik set about sticking it to post-war governments of all persuasions especially Thatcher's Tories and Blair and Brown's New Labour - as well as giving their parent's generation a bloody good hiding along the way too.
For me, as a member of so-called 'Generation X' that sits between the babyboomers and the jilted generation, I thought Chapter 4 - "Politics" - was the most interesting. I found the authors' assertion that the origins of today's self-centred society lie in 1960s Marxist counter-culture to be a particularly well articulated and persuasive argument and one I hadn't come across before.
Anyhow, if you're a young person growing up in Britain today or, like me, you just care about what happens to our young people and feels they're getting a raw deal from the new liberal-left establishment then please do read this book. Perhaps the old cliche "blame the parents" is right after all.
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Initial post: 3 Dec 2010 17:54:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Dec 2010 17:57:18 GMT
I was a late entrant into teacher training when I went college in 1962. The Beatles were heading to the top, Lady C had been published with the 'f' word restored, there was an intoxicating sense of freedom in the air.
Also, in 1962 the post-war welfare state and the power of the unions seemed to have created a more egalitarian society.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and no could have predicted Thatcherism, but, in fact, what was to happen - IMHO - was a marriage of Thatcherite 'no such thing as society' neoliberalism with corporate consumerism. The "I want it all, I want it now" dystopia was born.
Meanwhile, the Miners' Strike fatally weakened the unions and jobs started to be shipped out to the Far East.
During Thatcher's time a mood of depression started to appear in the schools; a realisation that prospects had been fatally weakened.
And so it has turned out.
A nation without prospects, and now - as we saw in the World Cup bid - largely without friends, is heading down the tubes.
Be warned: what the neoliberals enjoy most is seeing their victims squabble among themselves.
Read the Washington Consensus, and realise who is your enemy: the corporate state, the one with the revolving door to corporate capital, whose servant it is.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2010 09:53:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Dec 2010 09:59:38 GMT
Lance Grundy says:
I'd be careful not to over-sentimentalise the trades unions. While I agree that in the first decades of the twentieth century they undoubtedly helped to bring about improvements in the lives of working people in this country, by the late 1960s they'd become a different beast.
Recent revelations from the former Soviet Union and ex-KGB chiefs have shown that many people high up in the British trades union movement of that time - such as Jack Jones and his cronies - were bought and paid for by Moscow. Rather than improving the working conditions of their members, the real aim of these pro-communist fanatics was to bring about the creation of a 'Worldwide Soviet Union' . When not fermenting politically motivated economic strife designed to cripple the economy, bring down the Thatcher government, and install a government more sympathetic to the USSR in its place, Britain's union 'comrades' were busy selling state secrets to the Soviets [gathered through the unions' close links with the Labour Party] and pressing for unilateral nuclear disarmament in the face of Soviet expansionism.
A very telling, shameful, manifestation of the pro-Soviet, pro-communist sympathies of Britain's TUC occurred in 1980 when British trade unionists [with very few exceptions] failed to support the anti-communist Polish trade union Solidarity which had been set up by the Gdansk shipyard workers to oppose their Soviet controlled, socialist government. In his recent book The Cameron Delusion: Updated edition of The Broken Compass Peter Hitchens recalls what happened in the Summer of 1980...
"The British Trades Union Congress...gathered for its conference in Brighton. The Polish shipyard strike was the most pressing issue before it. Here were workers, Trade Unionists, in a foreign country peacefully facing an almighty employer with nothing but fraternity and the strike weapon. Surely the TUC would support these brothers? Had they been workers in Chile or South Africa that support would indeed have come about. But they were striking against a socialist government, so they were the wrong kind of brothers. Worse, from the TUC platform's point of view they appeared to be at least partly motivated by patriotism and religion".
He then travelled to Poland to report on the strike where he had a meeting with the leader of the shipyard workers, Lech Walesa. Hitchens continues...
"What did he think of the British TUC? I was used to British interviewees weighing their words. But not Walesa. I could hardly stop him. He despised them as cowards and toadies and said so in detail in every imaginable way."
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