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March 29, 2010



And don't forget that the country has never been uniform. The mass unemployment you speak of was concentrated in particular areas, whereas the similar number of unemployed today are scattered. For those in one of the affected areas mass unemployment in the eighties was unmissable- for those not it didn't have much impact. Given their leaders rhetoric, those outside mining areas tended to see the miners*, or at least their leaders as class warriors, and the police as holding the line.
I'm more than prepared to accept that early experiences continue to colour people's views throughout life- but there's far more to it than merely the date.
*If ever there were lions led by donkeys- or worse!


A friend of mine who is a Trotskist member of the Labour Party said back in 2007 that there were very few Lefties between 25 and 35, although there were were a few under-25s and rather more over-35s. When you work it out that means people born between 1972 and 1982. Hence they could first vote between 1990 and 2000, which was after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and before the dotcom bubble collapse and 9/11. This was a period when virtually all socialist ideas were discredited and there seemed no real alternative to adopting, or adapting to, Thatcherite values.


This is well off the beaten path for your blog, but it struck a chord with me. I my first year in the workforce, the local economy tanked. Ever after I have been nervous about employment. My wife, seven years younger, has never been concerend having never worked through a period of high unemployment.

john Terry's Mum

I was considering this very idea earlier this evening, but in regard to music. I was watching a slim Scandinavian group (in their twenties) play and their sound / aesthetic baffled me. It was as if they were trying to create music as made by a sad seven year old using whatever toys lay at hand.

I realised that my music tastes (aka beliefs) had been basically formed 15-20 years ago and become hardwired and would be impossible to see their efforts as anything but tripe.


As someone only a couple of years behind you, I share your nervous disposition. I suspect the age thing helps explain why financial markets go through their boom and bust phases. Typically, its younger more ambitious people who get sucked into the latest fad (tech stocks in the late 90s, CDOs in the mid 00s). They have never experienced prices going down, so don't know how to react when the boom turns to bust.


a nice post - but 'determinism' isn't the right word: yes we are all affected by the environment of our formative years, but not in a uniform deterministic way.

I was born in 63 which is the same year as you (I believe). For me
1- the 80s were the time when capatilism came to the rescue after the socialism of the post-war period, and the UK regained sopme confidence and prosperity. I am child of Thatcher.
2- the miners strike for me was a disaster for the working classes and along with the Militant tendency fiasco a lesson for union leaders not to play politics with real people's lives.
3- Same.

Nowadays I am with you on climate change and 9/11 but the rise of religious politics in this country and world-wide worries me a lot more.

So same times, same influences, different results.


Well, it's an idea with face validity. I'm from an earlier generation - Margaret Thatcher was the education minister of my day - and responsible for my first taking part in a demonstration. And I've continued to care in a quiet sort of way.

botogol - which era do you attribute the behaviour of current union leaders to? Can't see any evidence of their having learned the lesson not to play with real people's lives. And we all seem quite happy to carry on building a nuclear "defence" capability which we can't afford whilst avoiding any discussion of the consequences of using it by accident or design. Would the generation which remembers WW2 rest happily with today's priorities?


@john Terry's Mum

I'm not so sure. Keep an open mind and it's easy to enjoy all sorts of sounds from different genres and times. Maybe they were just shit.

Robert Allen

I’m from the generation ahead of you. During the early 70s I worked in the UK alongside fellow Europeans – Germans, French, Dutch, Scandinavians, ... who were not exactly shy about taking the Mick out of (what they viewed as) little more than a third-world country. Most of my mates were over in Germany working on building sites because there was nothing here. Whatever slurs you’ve heard in recent times regarding Eastern European immigrants, think Brits in the 70s. Despite what you think of Thatcher she set events in train that transformed a bankrupt economy into the world’s fourth/fifth richest, before we started heading south again.


"Tories are class warriors"??????

It takes two to tango I know but, (and this is the perspective of someone whose formative years were the 90s), shurely shome mishtake? As far as I've been aware the Tories have cared very little either way on class, it's always been Labour that gets it's knickers in a twist about it.

Mark T

I tend to agree with Falco. I grew up in Essex which, while sneered at by the rest of the country, had no self worth invested in the notion of the "noble working class" I saw Arthur Scargill driving round Hyde Park corner in a chauffeured jag with his feet up on the dash while mining families struggled and thought of Animal Farm. I was also staggered by the irony of the unemployed miners and steel workers coming down to London to fight for the "rights" of the most overpaid workshy people most of us had ever met - the printers. We celebrated the breaking of the closed shop there and at the docks and when big bang opened up the city, we went there to earn a living. Never once have I felt discriminated against for the fact that I didn't go to the right school. Indeed I am far more discriminated against by the authorities now for failing to fit into any of their minority categories other than "sucker to tax". The nasty end of the labour party has ratcheted up "class war" first on Bullingdon and then on Bankers in a tactic straight out of Hayek's description of the methods of Stalin. Collective farms don't work? It's the Kulak's fault. Round them up.Let's hope it doesn't end the same way


How would he have his feet on the dash if he was being chauffered?

Contra Robert Allen, it might be observed that of the "Germans, French, Dutch, Scandinavians" all had strongly social democratic societies, which didn't, by his own account, seem to prevent them getting on.

Stories that make no sense, staple of the S&M comments box. The postings are good though, and this one especially.

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