Jan 092013
Percentages of various groups in the electorate over the last 35 years

I have been gradually adding to an earlier article “Baby booms in the electorates of the last 6 Prime Ministers“. The latest addition warrants this article of its own. The context is that the above article shows the population and electoral graphs for Prime Ministers from Margaret Thatcher in 1979 to David Cameron in 2010. One objective was to show that the 1945-1965 cohort didn’t dominate politics and elections over the last few decades. This is simply an exact copy of that latest addition: Electorate percentages of various groups Here is another way of looking at the same information, once . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 042013
Why are people born 1945-1965 called baby boomers?

In the UK there wasn’t a baby boom that started about 1945 and ended about 1965. Yet the belief that there was is embedded so deep in the nation’s psyche that people casually assume it in conversation without needing to justify it. The people they are talking to probably also believe it. (If you also believe it, have a look at “Further reading” at the end of this article. The evidence to the contrary from credible sources such as the Office of National Statistics is overwhelming. And I am not the only person to have pointed out this error). These . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 032013
In praise of "NIMBY"!

I haven’t previously thought much about the attitude of NIMBY (“not in my back yard“), except to recognise the term as pejorative. I’m not currently threatened by developments close to my house. (Even the nearby  A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road proposals which I’ve studied and responded to). Then I saw this on Twitter: What a nasty attitude! There is nothing hypocritical about defending your own property from deterioration and devaluation. (And I’m sure James O’Shaughnessy would defend his own lifestyle against deterioration; his job once didn’t exist, so is that a reason why young people can take over some . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Dec 312012
Review of "Jilted Generation" by Ed Howker & Shiv Malik

Here are the comments I promised. (I’ve provided a review at Amazon.co.uk too). This book is unashamedly a polemic rather than an unemotional analysis. This provides the emotional energy to carry the topic, and no doubt resonates with many young people today. It is a rallying cry for “something must be done!” (And perhaps “heads must roll!”) But more analysis would have revealed that things are not always as stated, and seeking solutions (rather than debating problems) needs a more focused identification of underlying causes so that they can be fixed. The book is better at casting blame (sometimes wrongly) . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Dec 302012
Baby booms in the electorates of the last 6 Prime Ministers

There is a commonly-held (but erroneous) view that: There was a baby-boom in the UK starting about 1945 and ending about 1965, and … The size of this baby-boom had a disproportionate influence on government policies. To examine this, here are populations-graphs for the years when each of the last 6 Prime Ministers first took office. (I’ve included estimates for the expected 2015 and 2020 elections too!) The graphs were generated from the animation published by the Office of National Statistics. For each year, the height of the graph indicates how many people born that year were alive when that . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Dec 202012

Consider: Everyone in the generation that started 150 years ago is dead. Most people in the generation that started 50 years ago are still alive. Is this “intergenerationally unfair”? Is it even “unfair”? This is a pretty devastating difference between these generations. Yet no serious person would claim that it is “intergenerationally unfair”. We need to be able to discuss generational differences without automatically treating disadvantages to one of them as examples of intergenerational unfairness. This article was prompted by “Commentary on “Intergenerational Fairness Index” by the Intergenerational Foundation“. That article was prompted by (and analysed)  “Intergenerational Fairness Index – . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Dec 202012
Some intergenerational aspects of having children

The people in every generation start by being totally dependent on older generations. Then they spend much of their lives co-supporting both younger and older generations. Then they typically become dependent on younger generations. Then they die. Reminder Having children is a life-style choice. It is not a biological imperative. It is not a duty to the state. Having children is a choice, at least in the developed world. (That includes the choice about whether to take sensible precautions and/or have an abortion). It could be described as an extended hobby, but since the consequences tend to be life-long, including . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Nov 252012
Commentary on "Intergenerational Fairness Index" by the Intergenerational Foundation

I am writing an article to post here to be called “Generation by generation – are things getting better or worse?” Obviously this needs to take into account what is happening about “intergenerational fairness”. But what does that term mean? I started with “Intergenerational Fairness Index – Measuring Changes in Intergenerational Fairness in the United Kingdom” from the Intergenerational Foundation, since its title matched what I wanted. But it actually demonstrates what not to do! I’ve written a commentary (below) on that document in order to discuss what “intergenerational fairness” means and how to measure it. Summary of commentary on . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Nov 212012
The effect of baby booms on the housing crisis of younger people

Reminder 1: there was no “1945-65 baby boom”! This article is primarily about the big baby boom from about 1955 to about 1974, and a smaller one from about 1978 to 1992. Reminder 2: blame must not be attached to an “accident of birth”, and belonging to a baby boom is such an accident. And there is no implication that the people of any baby boom did anything wrong that helped cause the housing crisis. Summary Although the birth rate of the post-war generation hasn’t unduly influenced governments to favour this generation, it surely had an impact on the housing . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Nov 202012
Lord Bichard and the penalty for old people who don't contribute in some way

This is weeks-old news, but I have written about it elsewhere so I’m posting most of what I wrote here too. Lord Bichard said: “We are now prepared to say to people who are not looking for work, if you don’t look for work you don’t get benefits, so if you are old and you are not contributing in some way or another maybe there is some penalty attached to that.” Obviously there were responses from groups representing older people. For example, Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: “This amounts to little more than national service . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]