I like young people, I really do, indeed I used to go to school with them. In fact, I’m so taken with them that I sometimes like to sneak a few of them into social events I’m attending, or on some special occasions just to enjoy their company, because let’s face it, nobody’s going to live any longer constantly listening to you own age group grumbling about almost anything.
You know the sort, always the first to let you know that so-and-so has just had his hip replaced or has something malign growing up his backside.
I have to say that it really doesn’t pay to get into a collective debate about health matters, because your minor back spasms pale into insignificance alongside other more impressive maladies and we all know that after a certain time of life - ill health can become very competitive.
Nevertheless, with all that being said, most middle aged people have one vital advantage over those under the age of around thirty-five. What is that oh wise one? Well, deep breath - here goes nothing; mostly it’s about a singular lack of enhanced expectation. There I’ve said it.
You see, I and many other folk of a certain age find it absolutely remarkable that so many young people levels of expectancy are honed to perfection.
To put it rather less diplomatically - have we reared a generation that are spoilt beyond measure? To look is to want, to want is to expect, to expect is to have somebody else pay for it - or more likely to put it on a plastic card, “Because I deserve it- don’t I?” Well, not really, because at times you might need to wait and maybe even save-up for what you want.
Am I being unnecessarily combative, or do you get my general drift - I think it’s called the bank of-mum-and-dad, not to mention grandma & granddad. Yes, you sad, silly, people who worked and saved and went without, people who couldn’t get credit unless you sold a child into white slavery and slowly built a career without expecting to become Managing Director within a fortnight.
So, may I be one of the first to reject constantly worshipping at the altar of youth as it really isn’t helping anyone at all.
My gunfire is mainly directed at those aspirational, middle-class kids, who’s working class parents put them through college and were generally always broke until their early fifties because of that fact. Witness Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn preaching to the narcotically challenged at Glastonbury a few years ago. In some ways he is the perfect, if not slightly elderly, cypher of these interesting times.
A sort of likeable, but totally delusional politician, promising all those middle-class hipsters all that they ever wanted for themselves as long as someone else is going to pay for it - but who?
Funnily enough our new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is doing much the same thing at the moment, cynically promising the earth without actually checking to find out where the dosh to fund his newly found enthusiasms is coming from.
As a person who has always dressed-to-the-left on social issues and in the scheme of these things, I would probably be labelled dismissively as ‘Jurassic Labour,’ nowadays. But I have come to the conclusion that to be young and intelligent, yet to have such little perception of how a modern economy actually works is to be foolhardy and cynical both at the same time.
I really don’t have a knee-jerk bad reaction to the young and thrusting, just a hopefully weak judgemental position that leads me to believe that in an almost certain financial crisis that will surely follow any profligate government’s first months in power. Doubtless our kids as part of the aptly named ‘snowflake’ generation, will be furious because nobody told them that this was going to happen and what’s more “It really isn’t fair is it?” Oh poor diddums!
What we will have is somewhat of a buggers-muddle. In that - all those warm gooey feelings that our leaders have instilled into our bright young things will come apart instantly when some rotten swine at the International Monetary Fund demands that they do their sums properly and don’t tell any fibs. Trust me, I am crap with figures and even I know that the multi-billions that they have promised for public services beyond Brexit is undeliverable. So what next?
First up, special interest groups promised billions of extra public sector funding are sorely disappointed because, surprise, surprise, it cannot be delivered. A series of massive debilitating strikes in the public sector occur and industry becomes unmanageable with ludicrous pay demands the order of the day.
With the economy going to hell in a handcart, our young bloods lose their previous demands for extra ‘public sector’ financing as the economy goes into a tail spin and they do as any other generation has done in the past and sought to protect their own financial positions by whatever means at their command. I blame ‘Us’ in all this.
So who is ‘Us’ then? Oh, that’s an easy one - ‘Us’ are a generation of men and women who forgot to tell the next generation about boring stuff like staying solvent, keeping it real; but mostly knowing the difference between what you really need in life and what you might just want. There is a massive difference you know?