Jan 142013
Review of "What Did The Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?" by Francis Beckett

I have just bought and read “What Did The Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?” (subtitle “Why the Children of the Sixties Lived the Dream and Failed the Future”) by Francis Beckett. I’ve reviewed it at Amazon.co.uk, giving the book 1-star, the minimum. Here is that review plus 2 diagrams and Further reading. “This is an autobiography in a historical context, not about baby boomers!” The author makes it clear from the start that the baby boom he is discussing is not what others talk about, and that his sources are very narrow and unrepresentative. This book says much more . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jan 102013
Some baby boom myths

Lots of people talk about “the baby boom”. Lots of people make claims about “the baby boomers”. Here are some of the myths held by lots of people. I have written this article as though I am having an informal argument with you about these myths. I accept that you may not believe them all, or indeed you may not believe any of them! Please forgive my style. Myth 1: There was a baby boom from about 1945 to about 1965 Myth 2: The weight of numbers of the baby boomers gave them undue political influence Myth 3: The baby . . . . . . . . . . [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]

Nov 242012

1. The bizarre voting system of the Church of England has confirmed: 26 seats in the House of Lords are to remain reserved for men! This is in a (supposedly) modern democracy. You couldn’t make it up! 2. The Pope has published a book confirming that Catholics must believe in the Trinity and the virgin birth and the resurrection. This is something Christianity did make up! I love these ongoing demonstrations of the stupidity of Christianity and the need for secularism.

Nov 192012
More about what David Willets got wrong in his book "The Pinch"

Yesterday I refuted the idea that the post-war generation has excessive political influence. As an introduction to that article, I quoted the description of David Willetts’ book “The Pinch: how the baby boomers took their children’s future – and why they should give it back“: “The baby boom of 1945-65 produced the biggest, richest generation that Britain has ever known. Today, at the peak of their power and wealth, baby boomers now run our country; by virtue of their sheer demographic power, they have fashioned the world around them in a way that meets all of their housing, healthcare and financial . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Nov 182012
The myth of excessive political influence by the post-war generation

There is a story that after World War 2 there was a significantly higher birth rate for perhaps 20 years (called “the baby boom”) that resulted in a generation or cohort of people who by sheer voting power and demographic political influence ensured that governments made policies and legislation that favoured this generation at the expense of others. A typical summary of this is seen at the description of David Willetts’ book “The Pinch: how the baby boomers took their children’s future – and why they should give it back“: “The baby boom of 1945-65 produced the biggest, richest generation that . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Nov 142012

It wasn’t until I read the following editorial in the Independent that I thought much about the PCC election tomorrow: Editorial: Police commissioners are worth voting for Here are my options for the Greater Manchester police force area. Should the candidate be independent of any political party? If so, why? One candidate thinks so: Roy Warren, Independent But the argument for a PCC who is independent of a political party is not made by this candidate. He clearly believes it, but didn’t explain what’s in it for me. Perhaps he is right, but if so the only way to find . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]