Evening Standard: Britain’s lack of family values will come to haunt us

Today, on the emptiness of friendship.

This problem may be most extreme here because Britain is probably the least family-orientated country on earth. There are historical reasons for this; as the Cambridge medieval historian Alan Macfarlane discovered, England broke out from a peasant society very early on, which meant children left home in their teens and never lived as extended families. This is why there are no big fat English weddings with lots of relatives called Rupert or Nigel. To the English, although family connections do count, schools, clubs and most of all friendships matter most.

The downside is that Darwin always wins, and friends just aren’t a substitute for family (in fact, curiously, there is growing research that our friendships are influenced by genetic similarities). So the loneliness problem will get far worse when my age-group — a much larger number of whom are not starting families — reaches its dotage.

Read it all there

Comments so far

  1. “The downside is that Darwin always wins, and friends just aren’t a substitute for family (in fact, curiously, there is growing research that our friendships are influenced by genetic similarities). So the loneliness problem will get far worse when my age-group — a much larger number of whom are not starting families — reaches its dotage.”

    The English are killing themselves off. Given a helping hand by Labour. Can the numbers of young people staying at home help arrest it?

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