Talking ’bout my generation

Votes by age

I reckon I was born into what may have been the most blessed (fortunate) generation in the history of Britain.

I am not saying it was easy, we were dirt poor and I spent more time with cardboard in my shoes than soles and we had marrow bone soup every Tuesday, the butcher saving my mother a, sawn-up, bone each week. We lived with mum’s constant fear of not managing and every penny was brutally and fearfully counted. Our father was sectioned with acute paranoid schizophrenia, my parents were divorced soon after, and we grew up at a time when single parents were rare and we were treated, at times, as badly as illegitimate bastards, even by some pig ignorant school teachers.

But things were afoot that we knew nothing about. Labour had begun the transformation of Britain. Post war Britain saw the founding of the National Health Service, an incredible house building programme, the expansion of education and the establishment of the Welfare State to give people security from the cradle to the grave [1].

The first major indication we had of these cataclysmic changes was when we moved from a prefab [2] to a brand new 3 bedroom, semi-detached, home for life. Although I did not have the awareness at the time, we had access to health care free at the point of use, including dentistry, and hospital care which, as a lad, saved my life on two occasions.

I started work at 9 or 10, doing paper rounds and later Saturday jobs in greengrocer’s, butchers and later a house and garden centre. I was never out of work and if I got fed up with one job I had another by the next week. At 10 years old I started smoking and very pleased with myself I was too, very grown up. It took 57 years to kick that habit, but at the time it was just the done thing and there seemed few adults who didn’t smoke, including mum.

My personal battle with mental ill health began at 14, but even that was helped by the privileged times we lived in. The youth revolution had started, the Beatles were about to happen and the Hippy era changed my life forever as I abandoned factory life and took up work in a local park mowing verges (and a lot of dog shit), the nearest a working class lad got to dropping out and, through a series of fortunate events, I eventually became the first person in my family to go to University at the age of 33.

University unleashed my hidden potential and, despite my ongoing and life long battle with mental illness, I really began to grow and to understand my life and what was going on in the world around and inside me.

Even today, the struggle to live continues, yet I as look back, and with all the clarity of hindsight, I realise many hidden or taken for granted blessings that have made my life so incredibly different to the lives of preceding generations.

One of those taken for granted things is socialism, all that transpired politically to make my life easier than any generation before or, thus far, since as the Tories, from Thatcher onwards, have torn it apart. My naive, even ignorant, assumption has been that my generation has most cause to be grateful to Labour and most reason to vote Labour. Imagine my surprise, and horror, to discover that the majority of my generation, the ‘baby boomer’ generation, votes Tory. I have no idea why the penny has not dropped before now, maybe my pink socialist spectacles have blinded me to reality.

I have only one question to those of my generation who have such a responsibility for this bloody awful government being in power, how could you be so fucking ungrateful? You were there. You’ve had a lifetime of privilege lived on the benefits of socialism, and you vote Tory.

Wow! I am genuinely, utterly and deeply sorrowfully, gob smacked.

KOG. 21 March 2019.



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