January 27, 2018 at 2:31 pm #434
Many people with rose tinted glasses harp back to the Dunkirk Spirit, the Blitz Spirit or we/they were tougher back in the 60’s and 70’s.
Could the same be said for a similar age group in today’s world, where they’ve grown up under the social media microscope and collective kangaroo courts?
Are people < 30ish just as resilient or have we created a world of special snowflakes?January 27, 2018 at 2:31 pm #435
As a species we haven’t changed, so should the need arise I’m sure the snowflakes could toughen up if required.January 27, 2018 at 2:32 pm #436
Oh, and calling people ‘snowflakes’ is discrimination on the grounds of colour, temperature, size, momentum, latitude, altitude and consequence. The more inclusive PC term that HR teams prefer to use is ‘drips’.January 27, 2018 at 2:33 pm #437
The large number of young men getting on with their lives following horrific physical and psychological damage from IEDs in our various misadventures abroad would indicate they’re no less resilient than previous generations.January 27, 2018 at 2:33 pm #438
The blitz spirit was a propaganda myth wasn’t it? Plenty of critical discourse analysis on it in the academic literature.
I expect you can probably do the same to contradict the snowflake myth of the millenials just the same.
People are just people, dealing with what they’re given the best they can.January 27, 2018 at 2:34 pm #439
‘Uttering his terrible war cry Diomedes picked up a lump of rock. Even to lift it was a feat beyond the strength of any two men bred today, but Diomedes handled it alone without effort’
(Illiad V 303)
People were always tougher back in the day.
I think the young will do fine are fine and in many ways are better than us.January 27, 2018 at 2:35 pm #440
@jimmy In a sense I agree but I have no doubt my parents (wartime) generation were more stoic and, yes, generally tougher. But that was a product of the times and we are more fortunate.January 27, 2018 at 2:35 pm #441
In a sense I agree but I have no doubt my parents (wartime) generation were more stoic and, yes, generally tougher. But that was a product of the times and we are more fortunate.
@mark1 The war generation were certainly different, as in my grand parents, who were born during WW1. They were content with less, appreciated the small things in life and knew if they wanted something they had to graft for it, limited education & benefits and no NHS for half their lives. Having survived 2 wars, flu pandemics, the depression, brought kids up with rationing etc… They were different. But I don’t think the baby boomers are any tougher than millennials.January 27, 2018 at 2:36 pm #442
I’ll fight you and I’ll win if that’s what you’re asking.
Seriously, come in to my classroom and see some of the children there tackle work that they find tough. Wonderful examples of resilience.January 27, 2018 at 2:37 pm #443
I know my parents were the same, but I think if you put the youth of today in a similar position they would rise to the challenge.January 27, 2018 at 2:38 pm #444
Yep. I nearly got lynched last Sunday when I tried to throw a rotten (in my opinion and that of the flies) pear away from a 1920s woman that I was visiting. ‘ you’re just a wastrel’ is still ringing in my ears.January 27, 2018 at 2:38 pm #445
BUT Culture, upbringing, environment, all have a massive impact on a peoples characteristics. Spartans, Zulus, Maoris, Gurkhas; history throws up countless examples of nations who proved especially tough and resilient.
Given the speed of cultural changes in the West over recent decades, it’s reasonable to expect demographic differences.January 27, 2018 at 2:39 pm #446
I know a Royal Marine sgt who was in the Falklands conflict. I remember how proud he was when he told me how, “his lads” performed brilliantly under extremely arduous conditions in the war. “And they were mostly 18-23 year old kids , when they went, but by God they were men when they came back”.
And I guess that will be the same always.January 27, 2018 at 2:40 pm #447
Are people < 30ish just as resilient or have we created a world of special snowflakes?
I would say they are probably more resilient and less deluded than their baby boomers parents, who grew up at a time where every day was better than the next, and they had nothing to do with it, and to this day still seem to take everything for granted.January 27, 2018 at 2:41 pm #448
who grew up at a time where every day was better than the next, and they had nothing to do with it, and to this day still seem to take everything for granted.
@tom members of my family, still rejoice at how great the 70s and early 80s were. They miss the days of high inflation, strikes, power cuts , fuel shortages etc.. 😉January 27, 2018 at 2:43 pm #449
@funny no unemployment in those days, everybody went to university, there was no industrial unrest, no one went to war, there were no mainland bombings…
or shall we just say that your just full of crap?
Today’s youth have it tough and nobody seems to care.February 1, 2018 at 10:12 am #477
The war generation were certainly different, as in my grand parents, who were born during WW1. They were content with less, appreciated the small things in life and knew if they wanted something they had to graft for it, limited education & benefits and no NHS for half their lives. Having survived 2 wars, flu pandemics, the depression, brought kids up with rationing etc… They were different. But I don’t think the baby boomers are any tougher than millennials.
@gary Yet the generations before thought they were spoilt and enjoyed too much fun.
Every generation has looked down on the next.
Life changes, in many ways I think its gets harder. As a teacher seeing kids cope with the rise of social media and the like I think it was easier for kids back in the 90’s than now.February 1, 2018 at 10:14 am #478
Life changes, in many ways I think its gets harder. As a teacher seeing kids cope with the rise of social media and the like I think it was easier for kids back in the 90’s than now.
@bornfree when I was a kid and if I wanted to communicate with a friend, long distance, I had to use two cans tied at each end to a long piece of string. Communicating round corners just did not work. If I really had to call somebody in an emergency such as who ate all the chocolate I had to find 2 pence and make a call from a piss stained phone box.
Social media in my day entailed reading or creating graffiti on a school wall or bike shed, and then when I moved into adulthood it became the bog walls at the local pub.February 1, 2018 at 10:15 am #479
I have to admit, some of the younger members of staff at work really do make me wonder on occasion about the resilience of a certain age group. My personal experience (and it is only that), is that there seems to be an attitude of entitlement without effort. it is definitely a little divisive in the workplace with older members of staff on occasion appearing to resent the lack of desire to make the effort to progress or undertake any work other than the minimum to get through the day which is exhibited by some of the younger staff.
As I write this it feels like a sweeping generalisation, and I caveat this with the comment that it is not everyone from this age group.
I do have to deal with a few special little snowflakes, but there are those who just get on with the job and perform really well.
So, I do wonder if it as much about the upbringing of the individual as opposed to the ‘social media generation’ as a whole.
Nature or nurture??February 1, 2018 at 10:16 am #480
Members of my family, still rejoice at how great the 70s and early 80s were.
@funny The early 80s? What were they doing? Who were they coming into contact with?
I remember the early 80s as the most terrible time imaginable. You’d go to Peak crags mid-week and they’d be full of people – not having fun per se, just there because there was nothing else in their lives. No work. No money. No hope. Then the ugliness of Orgreave. A country with a civil war of values.
The 70s – great if you were young and could close your eyes to all that was going wrong. Not so great if you saw post-war progress wither… and then the hopeless slide towards the evil of neo-liberalism which has blighted us for the last 40 years.
MickFebruary 1, 2018 at 10:17 am #481
This was the tragedy of the early 80s. And the neo-liberalism which is running like a virus in our veins is destroying our society. Unless, as Margaret Hilda Thatcher so confidently averred, there’s no such thing as society.
MickFebruary 1, 2018 at 10:20 am #482
@mick ward Full of people being paid by the taxpayer to doss around. I loved it. Simple life. Open air. Great company. Didn’t even have to sign on in person. It was a great music scene. Punk and politics and passion. Back then I spent most of my time trying to pull coppers off horses in trafalgar square.. Thatcher was a hate figure. But I admire her now. Despite her courage and conviction, she never did change the U.K. into a broad based economic powerhouse. Privatisation was the right thing. But the focus on the city at the expense of manufacturing was a grave mistake. Bing bang brought in big bucks to the Treasury. Something Blair and Brown encouraged further, allowing all sorts of excesses and ignoring all the warning signs. For me, the Blair and Brown decades were the dark ages. There was a promise of Kennedy. What we got was comedy and tragedy – Iraq and Afghanistan to name but two wars. This was an era of spin and party machines. The horrible cult of celebrity. Cool Britannia. Public Services built in tick. The personal pager keeping MPs on message. Dull men in grey suits spouting bromides. All those lies about the end of boom and bust. Nothing Lady T ever did was as disastrous as New Labour. The 70s and 80s were an era of characters in climbing and in politics. The nineties and noughties became bland – You know Mick, I bet you loved the seventies and eighties really.February 1, 2018 at 10:22 am #483
You know Mick, I bet you loved the seventies and eighties.
@john-yates Yes, for a while I did love the seventies. I escaped from Belfast to Bradford in 1971. Sanity! I’d had nearly twenty years of religious fundamentalism and sectarian hatred, finally errupting into near-civil war. Suddenly you were away from it, with people who weren’t stark raving bonkers. And some of them were lovely people. I fell in love with Bradford, with Yorkshire, with the North.
But obviously all was not well. Sometimes I worked in dangerous industrial environments, deathtraps waiting to happen. ‘Management’ that might have been happier in Soviet Russia. IRA bombings in major cities. The early 70s oil crisis scuppering post-war prosperity. Nationalisation grown too comfortable for its (our!) own good. Left-wing militancy, just for the hell of it.
If you were happy in the 80s, then great. I’m glad for you. For me, it was like a knife under my heart. Orgreave – my God, how awful. (Amey, in Sheffield now, far too close to what happened then. Dreadful.) Seeing formerly great cities such as Bradford begin to crumble…
Yes, of course something had to happen. Privatisation seemed a good idea. But it happened in such a horribly ‘winners and losers’ divisive atmosphere. As I recall, many privatisations were under-valued, so people could sell their shares the next day at an instant profit. The onset of casino captialism, perhaps?
What about the companies/industries that weren’t sexy? I went back into those old deathtraps but this time into the boardrooms as well as the shop floor. Those old Soviet tyrants? Just a bunch of tired guys, ready to give up. For a few years (at great personal cost) I revitalised them, made them fight, acted to protect jobs and communities.
But, by the mid-90s, it was all over. The greed virus had taken hold with a vengeance. The Chairman was cashing in his share options and buggering off. Fred, on the lathe, was following suit. (Well why not? He was getting f*ck all leadership, no sense of futurity.) A waste of time for me to be there any longer. The revoltingly named ‘gig economy’ was inevitable.
Blair and Brown? Despite what Blair now claims, I think it was indeed ‘Tory lite’. Yes, there was a promise of Kennedy. I wonder if he was strong enough but obviously the poor guy had his problems. We’ll never know.
John Smith – the best prime minister we never had? Very possibly. Might he have taken us in another direction? Maybe. We’ll never know.
Blair versus Thatcher? Certainly a marked degree of conviction in the latter; virtually none in the former.
And where are we now? The unholy marriage between the state and ‘private’ industry has spawned some real monsters like Carillion and Amey. Absolutely inevitable. With neo-liberalism, the state aids and abets the ‘free’ market. So the market isn’t free – it’s rigged. ‘Private’ industry means public service contracts awarded to chums of those in government. The winners? Those few with serious share-options and ludicrous salaries (endorsed by their non executive director chums). The losers? The rest of us.
I’m sorry… this has turned into the maddest (and saddest) of mad rants! But I think we’ve taken a horrible wrong turning. I think everybody knows this but nobody really has much of an idea as to how to address it. Unfortunately Brexit probably makes things (far) worse.
The classic refrain was that the British were ‘lions led by donkeys’. As someone who loves this country, that’s exactly what I feel. But worse – somewhere along the way, the donkeys became seriously greedy. In so doing, they made a real mess of things. And, right now, they haven’t got much of a clue as to what to do about it.
MickFebruary 1, 2018 at 10:24 am #484
many thanks for the reply. I share your pessimism at times. It’s why I asked Ian Jack to come up and see us at the AMRC. His piece is here:
There is hope. I won’t go into a point by point commentary but have to say that when I left daily journalism one of the first accidental jobs I got was with a work winning team in Carillion. I was working with a team of theirs the day before the liquidation. I have to say it is one of the most progressive companies I have ever worked with. Their annual sustainability report was not some bolt on extra, but central to its people’s behaviour. Jonathan Portia and others have been advisers down the years. Ironically their downfall probs began with the purchase of green energy company Eaga. The deal cost in excess of 400 m and it never made a penny as it was dependent on tariff subsidies that were removed. I think the company grew too big, too many acquisitions. I’ve worked on scores of big bids and it has always puzzled me how so complex a process doesn’t result in greater failures. It’s not a binary thing for me. State good/private bad. I’ve advised local councils and am appalled at the basic lack skills, drive and competence we have st this level.February 1, 2018 at 10:26 am #485
My personal experience (and it is only that), is that there seems to be an attitude of entitlement without effort.
@kevinj To argue their corner, I think they more than other generations have been assaulted by media images of everyone else “making it” and are acutely aware of how, taking the slow gradual approach to career progression that might have worked for their parents generation, will potentially result in them never “getting there”.
The plodding route of a single job for life, with no higher-education requirement, and a gold plated pension at 55 is long gone. Uncertainty and anxiety for the future regardless of how hard you work, despite all our medical advances and relative security, probably does weigh on the minds of youth.
I have no doubt, just like youth throughout history, if required to don fatigues and carry a rifle in to combat, within a short few days they will display all the resiliance their ancestors did. The circumstances allow nothing less. The situation maketh the man, and all that.February 1, 2018 at 10:27 am #486
@martin The lack of long term careers is a good one.
we are increasingly in a world where job after job is going. Delivery drivers next. There’s fewer and fewer long term options. Those leaving school/college now really need to look to the future and be flexible.
Pilots will be gone soon, even medical care is starting to be delivered by robots with an interface with a central location.February 1, 2018 at 10:28 am #487
@mick-ward Blair had plenty of conviction.
he was exactly what he said really. A centralist.February 1, 2018 at 10:30 am #488
@roadrunner Yes, he said he was a centralist and he was a centralist. Agreed. But was his centralism little more than expediency, whatever seems to work best at the moment (rather than what seems right)?
I’ve always viewed Blair as the ultimate political chameleon. (“What do the focus groups say I should be?”) rather than, “What do I think is best for society?”
I have a friend used to own a prominent legal firm in London. In his younger days, Blair applied for a job with them. He looked good on paper. However a colleague of my partner had a quiet word in his ear. “Don’t.” “Why not?” my mate asked. “Because there’s only one person Blair cares about – himself.” The application was quietly turned down.
I think Blair is, “What’s good for me… is good for you.” His ‘contrition’ over Iraq was an insult to the dead.
MickFebruary 1, 2018 at 10:31 am #489
It’s not a binary thing for me. State good/private bad. I’ve advised local councils and am appalled at the basic lack skills, drive and competence we have st this level.
@john-yates Totally agree. That’s why I think it would be wrong simply to say, “Right, let’s re-nationalise,” rather than honestly and stringently ask, “What have we got right – and what have we got wrong?”
In my (limited) experience, when services are privatised, the interface between public and private sector is very often fraught with incompetence and/or corruption. I’ve seen civil servants awarding contracts, then going private and tendering for similar contracts (knowing the system intimately) from their former colleagues.
I’m glad to see good things happen at Orgreave. Mather & Platts – so often saw that hallowed name on machinery on shop floors. The pride of British engineering.
Footprint Tools? Used to clean their windows. The worst sweatshop I’ve ever seen. Every month, the gaffer would almost have a revolt on his hands – we all hated going there. The job was horrifically dangerous (would never be allowed today). But peering through the oil-stained windows at those poor bastards inside was like staring into hell.
MickFebruary 1, 2018 at 10:32 am #490
Nobody said it was “easy”.
Whether you were born in 1945, 50, or 55, things got better by the day by the time you were 18, and you had nothing to do with it. Simply because of economic and technological progress. They did drugs and alcohol and gave us f*cking great music and art because they could. They were an incredibly creative generation, but they were also naive optimists without a plan.
When it stalled in the 70s, sure the majority got left behind, but the elite was saved by economic inequality, and these elite baby boomers are still shaping politics and society today, still trying desperately to hold onto their privilege by any means possible, even if that means betraying all the ideals they had in their youth.
I’m very impressed and frankly, humbled, by the new generation, the so called “millenials”, they have grown up with the Great Recession. They know things don’t get better just by themselves. Sure all the studies show they are an anxious and stressed bunch, but maybe it’s not that bad ? They work and study hard, and they want to change the world for the better, not just make life better for themselves. I wish them good luck, they’ll need it.February 1, 2018 at 10:34 am #491
@joey The ‘great recession’? It was or is barely a blip and huge number of people have unaffected by it. Many have benefitted from near zero rate mortgages etc..
Glad to see you’ve change your view that the majority didn’t have a great time in the 70s and early 80s, with everyday better and better.
Hero millennals… give me strength, it’s painful just to read it….February 1, 2018 at 10:35 am #492
@bob Many millenials have not benefitted from the crash, as mortgages are only any use if you can save up for a deposit. If you can’t, you just get screwed from not earning interest on any savings you can save, rising rent prices and wages dropping in real terms!
I have been incredibly lucky in that I have always been able to find rental properties from friends, acquaintences and family. I have recently inhereted a large sum of money which will allow us to think about buying, but I am by no means in the majority in any of this!February 1, 2018 at 10:36 am #493
@gutted I agree, but to suggest millennials are having it tougher than previous generations and are coping admirably as @joey suggest is just laughable. All generations have different challenges and all cope as best they possibly can. In the 70/80s there were very very few who were doing well at all, the majority suffered for a variety of reasons.February 1, 2018 at 10:37 am #494
The ‘great recession’? It was or is barely a blip and huge number of people have unaffected by it. Many have benefitted from near zero rate mortgages etc..
@bob Would you care to give the rationale behind that? Comparing key economic measures like earnings, gdp, productivity etc.
I think unemployment has been relatively unaffected which is unusual.
My personal experience is of 10 years of stagnant wages, losing £40k on a house purchase and falling standard of living. This period, which happened just as I was starting on my career will have an impact on my earnings and quality of life for the rest of my career.
Interested in your perspective of course.February 1, 2018 at 10:40 am #495
@gutted I agree, but to suggest millennials are having it tougher than previous generations and are coping admirably as @joey suggest is just laughable. All generations have different challenges and all cope as best they possibly can. In the 70/80s there were very very few who were doing well at all, the majority suffered for a variety of reasons.
@bob You are perfectly correct, All generations have different challenges, I would argue that the baby boomer had significantly smaller challenges than the millennials will have. By the time they were 18-20 national debt was 45%, they had the demographics in their favour, their parents had won the war and rebuilt peace, and relative economic equality.
Sure it wasn’t always rosy, as you say in the U.K. in the 70s/80s it wasn’t always easy but for a large part they were self inflicted problems. Which ties back to what I said about a generation of naive optimists who did not plan and thought everything would always be fine.
The millennials, however, will start with global warning, demographic forces not in their favour, very high levels of national debt, and victiruan levels of economic inequality. All problems they had nothing to with and that THEY will have to fix.
ho, and cherry on the cake, in the U.K., their elders have managed to get them out of the EU and deprived them of the opportunity to live and work freely in Europe. Nice gift !
No wonder that in all the surveys they are more worried than their parents about the future, study harder, drink less, take less drugs etc etc…
So yes I’m particularly impresssed by this new generation and frankly they will need to be impressive because we are leaving them a big bowl of shite.February 1, 2018 at 10:41 am #496
Would you care to give the rationale behind that? Comparing key economic measures like earnings, gdp, productivity etc.
My personal experience is of 10 years
@irk I don’t think the problem with the recession, was the recession, but the absolute dire state of the UK finances before it. The ok was massively over spending, despite the so called boom, delaying spending with pfi, selling assets like gold… if it’s finances were in order then there would have hardly even been a blip.
UK productivity has always been lower than most of the eu for decades. Nothing has changed.
Most of the factors people blame on the recession, were things that would have happened just to sort out the uk’s massive annual deficit anyway, bloated public sector and looming pension time bomb. All of which have nothing to do with the banks repackaging debt and aren’t yet fully resolved.
@joey calling it the ‘great recession’ is just misleading. It’s hardly even comparable to just 40 years ago when the UK was the sick man of Europe etc..
For me I’ve been in sweden for much of the past decade and there has been some slight signs slowing etc, but there is still generally growth, cities and industry keep on building. They did fix their own banking problems in 90s and annually they run pretty close to a surplus some years, a small deficit the next, so they didn’t have the ticking time bombs like the UK. Far from perfect of course, just less imperfect than the UK. Imho.February 1, 2018 at 10:42 am #497
@bob I don’t know where to start, pretty much every claim you’ve made in your past post are easily verifiable as completely false.
The UK finances were broadly fine before the recession. National debt was at broadly satisfying level and the increase in spending in the 2000 is statistically insignificant.
The U.K. productivity was fine before the recession, as matter of fact in 2007 we were bang on at the g7 average. Only after the recession we fell badly behind.
comparing the Great Recession with the situation in the UK 40 years ago is comparing apples and orange, you are comparing a relative decline over 30 years to an absolute decline over a couple years.
But if you try to compare it anyway, well, even then you find that the absolute decline achieved during the Great Recession, over a couple of years, was more than twice greater than the 30 year long relative decline post war. Let that sink in for a second.February 2, 2018 at 10:53 am #501
@joey Global warming started well before the Millenials came on the scene. We’ve all been dealing with global warming for decades. The Millenials aren’t exactly doing anything about through their actions either.February 2, 2018 at 10:53 am #502
Global warming started well before the Millenials came on the scene. We’ve all been dealing with global warming for decades
@sam You mean we’ve been fuelling it for decades, enjoying our cars and cheap fossil fuel energy, even though the science has been telling us for a while that it was crazy. And the worst consequences of it will be felt by the next generation, not the generation that created the problem.
I don’t think history will look kindly on the generation that knowingly, deliberately, created this problem, and I think the term crime against humanity may actually be appropriate here.
The Millenials aren’t exactly doing anything about through their actions either.
No, but they’ll have to and they will have to pay for it.February 2, 2018 at 10:55 am #503
@joey Its also not been known about for decades.. we learn more and more all the time.
Man, it was only back in the 50’s we learnt about Plate tectonics, for 40 years everyone laughed at Wegener. Kids didn’t learn about that until the 60’s and 70’s. It takes a long time to science to infiltrate education.
I teach at a conservative catholic school so deal with global warming denial on a daily basis. They say I make it political by mentioning it..February 2, 2018 at 10:56 am #504
Global warming started well before the Millenials came on the scene. We’ve all been dealing with global warming for decades. The Millenials aren’t exactly doing anything about through their actions either.
@sam That’s a poorly informed view. Do you have Millenial children? My son is a research chemist who’s developing a green production process for methanol, my daughter is filming a documentary on pollution and her boyfriend is training to be an environmental lawyer. What have you done to change the world?February 2, 2018 at 10:58 am #505
A fascinating thread for one born in Feb 1934. For me the Great Recession started in 1929 and the fallout was cataclysmic.The first catalyst for change in social attitudes had been WWI but such progress as had been made were reversed by the catastrophe. In UK the divides were as much about class, education, opportunity, and power as they were about money. WWII provided the second catalyst and this was reflected in the subsequent Labour landslide victory. Certainly life was tougher, but then as kids during the war we had known no other, and many got a vicarious thrill from it. The ensuing period looks like a life of privation: continued rationing, no cars, no plastics, coal was king, and health precarious. I owe my life to the miracle drug penicillin when I got peritonitis (120 jabs), but my best friend died of polio. Looming above all was the Soviet threat and the atom bomb. Two-year National Service was compulsory at 18, although not entitled to vote until 21. But there was opportunity for adventure, whether in the military or abroad. For 12 years I worked in Kurdistan and experienced the 1958 Iraq revolution, the end of the Lebanese civil war, Abu Dhabi before oil, Laos in 1964 and Oman 1965.
Those experiences revolutionized my own thinking about class, imperialism , sexism etc. but it was the belated discovery of Alpinism in 1962, that finally changed my outlook. What mattered was the people you climbed with. Elf and safety were not the priority and confidence in your partner, however he spoke and whatever his education, was what mattered. Everyone got out of doors and learnt to climb in difficult conditions, and most went to the Alps. Furthermore, they were ambitious for the big routes so life was adventurous, just as it was on British rock with the equipment of the day.Like everything else life changes and with it the opportunities for adventure, along with the social mentalities and conventions of the period. The Dark Years were unique. The essential support for that Churchillian defiance were Left and Right coming together to unite against compromise with tyrannical rule, whatever the cost. Only circumstances will show whether such a critical situation can arise again and the reactions to them. But whatever they may be, it will not be us who will be standing alone this time.
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