The Old Peoples’ Home

Looking at this article in ‘the Independent’ it seems that if it were up to the under 40s Labour would easily get in.

So it is not only Brexit that is an Old Peoples’ Home but also Conservatism.

It is unsurprising that the under 40s are looking for radical change as they are the generations that have been dumped on from a great height. It is remarkable that the older generations seem happy with a government that has a crisis in the NHS, a crisis in Social care, a crisis in schools, a crisis in housing, a crisis in prisons, increasing child poverty, increasing homelessness, increasing crime, an overall decline in wages and a huge increase in the national debt (because the old will probably still harp on about the gold standard). They are calm about a world that bears little resemblance to that of their youth : a land of food banks but still with almost half a trillion of Quantitative Easing outstanding with the clearing banks.

An important measure of success for governments is how they deal with the most vulnerable so I find it hard to believe how anyone can believe this Support for a child conceived without your consent form is a necessary part of a civilised society. It is degrading and dehumanising. And that’s in addition to and after the rape.

That alone questions this government’s fitness to govern.

Perhaps the Old Peoples’ Home think Corbyn is just not prime ministerial. But he would find it extremely difficult to do worse.

The Old Peoples’ Home seem to worry that Britain will look a fool on the international stage and our place in the world will be sacrificed. That was done years ago. We now have those two lovely new aircraft carriers without any planes – a sure sign of a competent government, certain of its place in the world. And we have a defence minister who says on Radio 4’s Today Programme that the Prime Minister would be prepared to consider a pre-emptive nuclear strike! On balance I’d take a prospective Prime Minister who says on the same programme that he wouldn’t use a nuclear strike. At least we’d be spared the prospect of holding hands tightly with Donald Trump.

And if in the end we think that Corbyn is still not Prime Ministerial, we should recognise that the Prime Minister is supposed to be first among equals and if he were at least he would not be alone.


  1. Sean Danaher -

    A number of studies have looked at the voting trends of different classes of voters in the Brexit Referendum. Three of the best are that of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the British Election Study (BES) and Ward Level Analysis conducted by the BBC. It’s clear nostalgia played a very big part. Support for the EU is particularly strong amongst the 16 and 17 year olds.

    1. George S Gordon -

      There is a YouGov poll from a few days ago which shows rather well that the new demographic divide is age rather than class –

      I suppose it’s nice to know I’m still a contrarian at the age of 74.

      In Scotland, we’ve observed the age divide in polling for independence. I think the preponderance of elderly no-voters may have increased slightly since 2014. If all those over 65 were to be excluded, and we got more of the youngest voters out, I’d be sad at losing my vote but happy that independence would win hands down.

      In polling for the June election, the apparent rise in Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party supporters seems also to be linked to age. Clearly there is a causal factor at work, given their no-voting tendencies.

      What irks us most up here is the move further to the right of the younger element of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party politicians. It’s hard to square that with the fact that so many older voters support them. When those older voters were young, Scottish Unionist politicians were a different breed. For a comparison of modern Scottish Unionism with the variety that was around when I was young –

      1. Sean Danaher -

        thanks for such an interesting link. I’m worried about the quality of the current generations of politicians. I agree also there is a pendulum swing to the right.

  2. Mark Crown -

    What I see is sort of like Kenneth Galbraith’s ‘culture of contentment’ in many of our older people at the moment – especially those who are wealthy and more likely to vote (although please do not think that I am dumbing down what is a very complex and fascinating area).

    Wealth changes people – when you get to the point of having enough money you can soon forget how lucky you have been or how long it took you to acquire it. People look at others to identify with and I’m afraid that this also applies to how much ‘wealth’ one seems to have. So you end up existing in social circles of the same income and increasingly become less empathetic with those who don’t have such wealth or are never likely to acquire it.

    Some of this generation thinks that they are really clever – yet calling them fortunate is the truth really in the post war era to have had decent pensions, jobs and rising house prices – housing is an asset that you can just sit in and watch the value go up it seems. That has certainly happened.

    Look at the proliferation of over 50’s accommodation on offer these days – are these places citadels for conservative voters? They are essentially gated communities are they are not? And as the market gets better at meeting individual needs and putting smaller common groups of people together how likely is there to be a disconnect with other sectors of society? Market personalisation leading to less empathy with other social groups? I would say it was a high probability.

    When I did my BA(Hons) dissertation my study was about the effects of a decanting programme on a housing estate in West London that was being demolished. What I saw then was that the process was particularly hard on younger families than older more established households. Why? Because the older households had more wealth that enabled them to cope with the upheaval better. This lesson about accumulated wealth (and remember this was on a council housing estate) has always stuck with me and I believe has broader applicability in society being relevant to this post.

    Let us also consider ill health. After 65 both genders will spend more time in the healthcare system than in their previous years. Might our older folk who may also be seeing their health care system failing them even now fall victim to the lies told in the media about too many immigrants and healthcare tourists clogging up our NHS? Vulnerable people in pain or fear of death maybe too ready accept these lies as truths – especially when you think that you have been paying into a system for so long. What this proves to me is just how nasty some politicians are at capitalising on this.

    The other elephant in the room for those in their golden years is debt. How many people are funding their lives from equity release schemes (one of the most stupid services in the banking sector I can think of). Keeping interest rates low if I have debt would be high on my tick list especially if I was being lied to all the time about how the State funds its assistance programmes for the unemployed/disabled.

    And what about the growth in renting out your home to add to your pension pot? How many of these people in old people’s homes are funding themselves doing that? And still paying the mortgage? There is a rise in the amount of people paying for a mortgage in their retirement.

    The thing is – how long will this phenomenon last? The baby boom will peak and begin to fade eventually and all these new over 50’s developments will have to find new customers and a government will have to find a new generation that has less than the one who went before it. In this last sentence I find a slender margin of hope for the future. However, never underestimate the cunning of neo-liberalism to re-invent new myths for scared and vulnerable people to latch onto.

    Looking over my comments not only do I find myself agreeing with you Peter but I am also offering mitigation for those in old people’s homes too. I believe that people are fundamentally good and it is the systems of provision of services (by the market and the state) that determine their behaviour and their voting patterns.

    Being old is not fun really is it? You are in a position of decline and change and increasingly vulnerable. And nearer to the ultimate change experience – death. Fear and uncertainty will become close acquaintances.

    A better society, freed of other fears would make the elderly less overly concerned with their own welfare perhaps? The increasingly harsher one we live in now will certainly not. But then the same could be said for many who are younger. Austerity means less resources and that means that people will begin to think competitively about getting their bit. And this will suit people with certain agendas in mind will it not whom I think we should continue focus on?

    Thank you.

    1. Peter May -

      You make decent points but I still worry that the ‘Old People’s Home’ are not thinking properly of what life is like for their children and grandchildren -unless they really think that reducing education expenditure is a proper investment in the future. The austerity dogma is reducing opportunities and simply storing up troubles for future generations.

      1. Mark Crown -

        ‘Decent points’?

        Peter – I believe have answered the question. It’s all there.

        What we need now are courageous politicians who will tell people the truth and change minds. We’ve had decades of lies told about tax, pensions, the role of the state in people’s lives that have all muddied the waters. It has to stop.

  3. David Harries -

    I am approaching 70 and my political opinions (sort of green-socialist, pro Europe and pro human rights, and antinuclear weapons) have not changed fundamentally. I have been poor and now I’m definitely not.
    Sadly, it appears I’m not typical of all in my generation. (But my wife is of a similar persuasion.)
    The fall out from Brexit failures and other factors may eventually produce a 1945 tide.
    Oppositions don’t win elections – governments lose them. This has been said.
    It will become apparent that this govt, if it survives, has lost the arguments.
    It will be difficult to out Humpty Dumpty back together again.

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