What happened to Broken Britain?
Teenagers aren’t getting drunk, pregnant or into fights: what’s gone wrong with our country?
One of the most troubling things I’ve found about post-Covid life is how much more confusing and frightening it must be for older people. My mother’s local railway station, for example, has closed its ticket office and, like most organisations, encourages people to buy online or via an app. Almost no customer service in any company answers the phone anymore; increasingly shops don’t take cash and cashpoints are shutting just as banks did.
In some ways it has never been a worse time to be old; record numbers live and die alone, although we’re not quite at the level of Japan, and its phenomenon of kodokushi. There is also the reversal of the traditional norm where once age and wisdom were revered, while since the 1960s youth is glorified (although this is surely a supply and demand issue.)
I think about this whenever I read someone expressing anger and outrage at the older generation, and the good fortune they had to enjoy the start of the Ponzi scheme that is the housing market.
The rage is understandable, but if the housing market is a bubble that enriched the boomers at the expense of the zoomers, then it is in tune with the whole spirit of the age; in many ways the entire cultural and social revolution of the 1960s was a sort of pyramid scheme, or at least a system of credit, with the benefits received upfront and the debts paid later.