Baby boomers have useful role to play
Joyce McMillan, as usual, gets straight to the point in her piece about her and my generation being damned if they do work – when we are apparently taking jobs away from unemployed young people – and damned if we don’t. We are then apparently living off the financial contributions of the young (Perspective, 21 September).
There is a sinister trend emerging of “social Darwinism”, where those who are not young, fit and good-looking are blamed for their perceived inadequacies in wider society.
We may witness the rise in disability hate crime, for example, in spite of the success of the Paralympics.
I do have a bus pass, which I use for green, as well as financial, reasons and note the increasing number of posters on the bus warning of so-called “identity theft” – although anyone who is so short of cash to pretend to be old enough to use a bus pass must be pretty desperate.
The suggestion, though, is that people are frequently cheating the system, as has been suggested about sickness and disability benefits, whereas the opposite is probably more the case – many people don’t claim what they are entitled to.
The wider point about the role of older people in our society is that in paid employment or not, they can offer significant mentoring support and advice to their younger friends, often from a position of having coped successfully with a range of challenging life situations.
This is something many of us “baby boomers” are delighted to do. As Joyce points out, there is far more to society than simply making money.
(Dr) Mary Brown
Ms McMillan is wrong: the baby boomers and those just behind them did cause the state to go bust).
Despite the Major government of the 1990s managing to leave a positive economic legacy, the election by middle-class socialists like Ms McMillan of Gordon Brown (baby boomer) and his constant borrowing since 2001 created the massive debt which is now more than £1 trillion.
His flawed economic policies, while Tony Blair continued with his mad foreign policy (another costly exercise) has left the country spending more on debt interest than overspending departments like defence.
At the same time, the gap between rich and poor has widened and areas in Glasgow are much worse today, despite having almost continuous socialist representation at Westminster, in the Scottish Parliament and at council level.
While we have seen various examples of fat-cat so-called socialist MPs, the people who elected them have been made poorer.
It is the baby boomers who continued to follow overspending policies on defence (much of it wasted), ruined the pension industry with over-taxation and continued with an over-manned public sector.
Since it is accepted that older people are more likely to vote, it is their votes that have got us in the position today where the younger generation are going to be much worse off because of all these mistakes.
They are going to be paying for the deficit budgeting since 2001 for a long time and at the same time will watch as the generation who caused it spend their generous public sector final salary pensions. Perhaps Ms McMillan should take to YouTube and sing an apology.
Bruce D Skivington
Gairloch, Wester Ross
I was listening to Scottish finance secretary John Swinney presenting his budget and I found myself wondering if anyone listens any more to what our “representatives” have to say.
We are often advised that we are fortunate indeed to have as First Minister the most effective political operator in the land, but are even his political skills the attributes necessary to lead us, for instance, towards a Brave New Scotland?
And then, on reading Joyce McMillan insist that we must “try to build a society on the most enlightened and generous impulses of the human mind, on its generosity, imagination, empathy, curiosity, and infinite invention”, I realised that the answer to my question is a resounding “No”.
We need so much more than a managerial politics based solely on finance and economics to inspire and empower us.
The issues of independence or more devolution as currently discussed are irrelevant to the evolution of a society such as that envisaged by Joyce McMillan.
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