Just one final hit from the boom-time brats

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman

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Many things mark out as unique those Britons born in the immediate post-war period, few of them not now the subject of heated debate.

Obviously, the comparative wealth of these so-called ‘Baby Boomers’ is the single hottest topic, and with due cause.

Britons aged 65-74 account for around 20 per cent of the nation’s wealth, a share which has increased steadily since the financial crisis of 2007-8.

At the same time 16-45-year-olds have seen their slice of the pie dwindle to 16 per cent and falling.

From an era of final salary pension schemes to Thatcher’s council house sell-off (the single greatest transfer of publicly-held wealth into the pockets of ‘ordinary’ people in UK history – 999,999 times out of 1m the only coffers thus swollen are already full), this has been a generation blessed with good timing.

How today’s flailing children of the late 60s, 70s and beyond would love to have an asset which swiftly began to appreciate in value dumped in their lap for a song!

Adding insult to injury, of course, is that this giveaway remains one of the key causes of a housing crisis (the stock of social housing was never fully replenished) which continues to hobble the prospects of those same children.

Bizarrely, however, the good times which have rolled for the Baby Boomers this past half-century seem not to have made them happy. I would argue, in fact, that they must be one of the angriest gaggles ever to call this strip of sod home.

Oh, it would be easy to blame the Daily Mail. So I will. In part. And The Daily Telegraph.

These grudgeful rags are far and away the most popular newspapers among citizens 60+, and their endless spiel of rancour and resentment has been, in my humble opinion, a pernicious force without peer my whole life.

Both are also prime movers in what will, I fear, be the Baby Boomers’ single greatest legacy, that backward step into negativity they call ‘Brexit’.

Polls show a comfortable majority of the 60+ brigade are determined to vote Britain out of the EU; odd, given that their wealth grew so spectacularly in the years since we joined. Still, how better to conclude their gilded turn across this mortal coil than with a final act of selfishness?

Remember us this way, the last of them might cry. And we will.