I enjoyed Boris Johnson’s column in the Telegraph today. It refers to two recent books: David Willetts’, “The Pinch” and Matt Ridley’s “The Rational Optimist”. Willetts’ book is a somewhat pessimistic presentation of the baby boomer generation and their consumption. Ridley’s title speaks for itself – Boris himself comes down on the side of sunny optimism. Tim Montgomerie at the ConservativeHome blog talks of Boris’ “captivating belief in human progress”.
As a late boomer myself who started work on a non-contributory pension in 1984 and saw his contemporaries having trouble finding work in the harsh recession of the early eighties I simply don’t buy into Willetts’ thesis.
On the other hand you can usefully compare the “musn’t grumble” generation we are losing now, who had childhoods stinted by the Great Depression and then had to fight a war and deal with over ten years of rationing, with the early boomers and say the later never had it so good but there is no good reason to suppose that today’s youngsters will have straightened, diminished lives.
On Saturday I was at an 18th birthday party (it’s a long story) and I was very amused when they all rushed to the dance floor to dance and sing along to Foreigner’s “Don’t stop Believing”. This record was made in 1981 and keeps finding new audiences through its use in movies. It has recently been covered in the Glee TV show. As a result this week the Glee version is still at 20 in the charts and the original itself is at 27. The song has a classic piano introduction, the obligatory rock guitar solo and one of the best hook lines in pop music. Watching 50 kids go mad to it reassured me that today’s kids will make it.