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You've never had it so good, well, sort of...

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 16, 2013

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Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven, wrote William Wordsworth, recalling the heady days of his own youth.

I doubt anyone will be saying that about 2013, not after last week's miserable news from the Government that a new generation will have to work until 70. Mr Osborne's bombshell prompted a politically-motivated oozing of gloom about the prospects of today's children, who have nothing to look forward to except university loans and a life of toil.

It's true that some older folk – annoyingly those just older than myself – had it really rather good; the baby boomers who enjoyed the double benefit of jobs with fine pensions and house prices that just got better and better. You sometimes glimpse them, in between Saga cruises.

But don't believe that hype either – many of them didn't really do so well, and are waiting at bus stops wondering how, when they get home, they are going to choose between eating and heating because they cannot afford both. Personally I caught the last whisps of the tail end of the boomer generation, which means that I may be able to retire at some point, but will be holidaying in a tent rather than on a liner. I'm not complaining.

And neither should the youth of the nineties and noughties, even though they may never enjoy the boomer's bounties. For today's youth have been growing up in a world that is an awful lot kinder to them than the one I witnessed in the 1960s and 1970s. They have, regardless of pensions and student loans, been blessed.

And here's why:

Back then there were only two haircuts – a short back and sides or a mullet. If a chap asked for anything else the barber might suspect homosexuality, which was still a crime until 1967. Teachers were allowed to beat children until 1987, and posh children until 1999 when it was banned in private schools too.

There was nothing on the telly. Well, there was Sale of the Century with Nicholas Parsons, which started with the words "From Norwich, it's the quiz of the week!" and went downhill from there. We also had Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, from Australia, which seems quaint from an ironic distance but wasn't a patch on watching celebrities humiliate themselves in jungles. If you even had a telephone it was connected to the wall by a wire, which meant your chat stayed within parental earshot until they stopped it after five minutes because of the cost.

Only posh people had central heating and everyone else had to go outside to fetch coal, which was in a way convenient because the loo was in the garden anyway.

I'm not complaining; just saying that this generation might want to pause before doing so.

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