Story of a ‘Baby Boomer’
Your columnist Barry Freeman must be one of the unhappiest and most pessimistic people in your employ. He can be relied upon to find fault and misery in any given situation and, though it may be thought uncharitable, one can usually feel better about oneself after reading his article on the basis that “there’s always someone worse off than you”.
Which leads in nicely to the subject of his latest waspish rant: that the so-called Baby Boomers have somehow managed to steal the past, present and future of this country, in terms of both wealth and politics (LEP February 8). It is his contention that people in the 65-74 age bracket own some 20 per cent of the country’s wealth but are, at the same time, an “angry gaggle” and will unfailingly vote for Brexit under direct instructions from the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.
Quite an accusation.
As a 1948-born Boomer myself, I felt an urge to respond. The statistic of 20 per cent may or may not be correct, but whatever the case, I’m sure it is skewed by the London house price super-inflation and, were this area to be factored out, the averaged-out wealth holding for the rest of us would be found a great deal lower.
I’d also like to appraise Mr Freeman of my own experience of those Boom years which will no doubt be very familiar to many of my age.
I was born in a house with no electricity, where all lighting and cooking depended on paraffin and methylated spirits. A little later, we moved to a country cottage which had a single cold tap in the kitchen, no hot water, no bathroom, and a toilet of the “honey bucket” style in a garden shed. Later still we moved to a small terraced house with all mod cons ie. indoor flush toilet, bath, and hot water from a back boiler behind the coal fire.
In due course, I married, my wife and I needing almost two years to save up the deposit demanded for a very modest semi.
We had children and needed to move to a larger house but mortgage interest rates rocketed to some 15 per cent and we began to find ourselves in danger of indebtedness. The only solution was to work more and I held both daytime jobs and evening and weekend work.
Things worked out, our children worked hard and have themselves done better than my wife and I. We like to think that our example of what it takes has had a little to do with their successes, but the main credit goes to them.
And now I’m retired on a pension into which I paid throughout my working life but which has had much of its value destroyed by financiers and politicians.
No gold-plated final salary solution here but, since we managed to stay debt-free, sufficient for a non-indulgent life.
So, Mr Freeman, there you have it. I, and many just like me, am one of your reviled Baby Boomers who owns the earth through no particular effort on my part.
I wish I could find the wealth you think I own but, maybe, it all went on raising our children to become decent human beings.
You are correct in thinking that I like to read the Daily Telegraph but please don’t think I cannot recognise a political stance when I see it. And what’s more, I’m not intending to vote to leave the EU, no matter that is a very imperfect organisation.
Keep on with the column, we all need a smile from time to time. Try it, you might find it enjoyable.
Malcolm T Mynott, Hoghton
GPs should open all week
Junior doctors on strike, why shouldn’t they? From what I read they need improvements to pay and safety standards.
On the subject of a seven-day NHS, why shouldn’t our GPs open the full week? You try to see your doctor, you can’t get an appointment. Why shouldn’t they open Saturdays and Sundays as well? Our GPs get paid very well, it would be good if they were a little more available when we need to see them.
Jayne Grayson via email
Parking fees a backward step
As the primary individual involved, and through the Central Lancashire New Town Development Cooperation in acquiring the land to provide
the Withy Grove park for the people of Bamber Bridge and Walton-le-Dale, I would like to express my horror at the thought of charging for car parking for access to the park and leisure centre in Bamber Bridge.
If that comes about, then we will see the dangers to children increased with many cars parking free on the nearby roads and avenues to access the park.
That will then be followed with yellow lines being painted around the park to reduce that danger and also force people to pay to park.
South Ribble’s record, since acquiring the land in the 1970s, has been brilliant.
The Bamber Bridge festival was given the full use of the park completely free in the 1970s and 80s, which saw thousands of people enjoying the park each year.
The development of the park since has been outstanding, with the leisure centre, swimming pool and with now what must be the finest free children’s play area in the North West.
So, thank you South Ribble and for what you have done over the last 40 years, but please don’t spoil things now by introducing parking fees to our park, that would be a backward step in so many ways.
Ex-chairman and President
Bamber Bridge and Lancashire County RPA
Hands off our British food
Readers, sign a petition to the Government to stop the European Commission from interfering in decisions about ingredients in British foods such as cereals, cakes, frozen foods, and so on. Go to www.petition.co.uk, enter the section called Community, and sign the petition Hands off British Food.
F.E Sharpe, address supplied
Homes at cost of the countryside
Every time I read the headline ‘homes plan’, I think of an alternative one – ‘Lancashire’s countryside continues to be destroyed’.