I found this interesting piece of social commentary on Facebook. Reading down the list of things we 60s kids didn't give a fuck about I couldn't help but agree with most of the points. Sure the 60s were in many ways tough. But to say, 'The spoilt twats of today haven't got a fucking clue!' shows a real ignorance of what is going on in Cameron’s UK.
I wonder if the author of the piece would include as clueless spoilt twats the 100,000 children that went hungry in the UK last year? Or those who go to school most days without breakfast?
Just for the record, I'm 59 and my childhood spanned the 1960s. While the 60s were tough, I'd say today is far tougher for many of Britain’s youngsters. Here’s why. I came from a working class background, five kids in the family and two parents. None of us went hungry. We lived in a council house with secure tenure of tenancy. There were rent controls that stopped the excesses of rapacious landlords. Evictions from council housing was unheard of.
My father worked in a job that didn't depend on tax credits. Back then we had strong trade unions which meant people earned a decent living wage. The closed shop gave a degree of protection to tradespeople. This government is about to bring in a series of laws that will drag trade unionism back to the days of the combination acts that outlawed worker collectivism.
As a family we went on holiday most years. Often the entire family travelled to Ireland. My parents staying for a couple of weeks, then leaving two or three of us there for the duration of the school summer holidays.
All our medical needs were met by the state, not necessarily the case today. My parents weren’t expected to contribute towards our schooling in any way. Schools provided all the equipment a child needed to be educated. School dinners were cheap and nutritious; and were necessary free.
Children who went on to university (and around 18% of my class from a secondary modern school got into university) did not have to pay a penny towards either tuition or living costs, indeed few needed to work while studying.
Public transport, buses, underground and British Rail were affordable, regular and clean.
The 1960s were not perfect by any means. Racism was still rampant. Being Irish held its own special treatment. We lived in a more deferential society. For instance, doctors were treated as though they were doing you a favour by being arsed to even deign to treat you. The Old Bill were feared; courts were very scary places; and of course the death penalty still existed.
My point is that fifty-some years on we as a society are going backwards. The gains made by the post-war Labour government; and the battles won by trade unions will be lost. Our welfare state and NHS could be obliterated by 2020.
I am personally proud of the fucking clueless spoilt twats of today who are, with the aid of social media and a renewed sense of politics, fighting against austerity; battling for their public services; marching for the NHS; defending their neighbours from eviction; all this while trying to afford an education, look for affordable housing; find work without the assistance of state benefits…