Monday, 20 April 2020


I noticed something about four weeks ago. People whom I met would stop 10 feet away cock their head on one side and murmur “how are you dear?” And as I bellowed that I was tremendously well they’d shake their head pityingly and walk away saying “do take care”.

If you are over 70, you’re  going to die and probably quite soon. Grey hair is a giveaway like a facial rash of livid red spots once was. That’s why I’m thinking about buying a Harley Davidson. To make a point.

This iconic and successful brand in the early days thought its sales success was owing to hairy biker and ravers like Pete Townshend (the Who – now 74). But research showed the most important purchasers were middle-aged accountants who wanted to drive noisily through towns, crouched over the handlebars, frightening people.

The Government is thinking of easing the lockdown in cohorts ending with the 70+ and those who are very vulnerable until well, possibly Autumn 2021, when a vaccine may be available.
I’ve always deplored antisemitism (or racism of any kind). But I’m now a victim of ageism and I don’t like it. (“Don’t you dear? Sit down – you’ll feel better.”)

I particularly deplored an article by Philip Collins in the Times who advanced the argument roughly thus: we boomers had, through house price-inflation achieved extreme wealth  through doing nothing and should jolly well move out, give back the money and go into a care home.

Sorry Philip …I struggle for the right word . Not sure but I think it’s bollocks.

We are the same age as the US President, his likely opponent in the forthcoming Presidential election and the Pope. Warren Buffett for goodness sake  is 89 and he’s not exactly a slouch.

We must look at history to see what our lazy generation achieved.  In 1959 our Prime minister Harold MacMillan said “you’ve never had it so good”. But let’s face it the bar was very low.

We were pretty well bankrupt.
Top of the Hit Parade was a piano piece by Russ Conway called “Side Saddle”.
Our banking sector was fragmented and parochial.
Advertising was controlled by the Americans.
The money spent on house improvement, self-improvement, fashion and fitness was negligible.

But things changed. We spent wealth we earned on improving things. Here’s a glimpse of the growth post 1959 we achieved.

Output adjusted for inflation and measured in 2013 prices

World leaders in advertising,  creative writing, comedy and in  theatre,  (briefly) in fashion, world leaders in grocery retailing, European leaders in banking, global top capital city, top football league our Premier Division, four of the world’s top universities and in civilisation.

Don’t say we were lazy. The last half century has been the sweatiest and most creative in our history.
Today we are back, maybe nearer to 1959 than we’d like to believe. The new generation has to do what we did all over again.

Hopefully with our help - unless we’ve been put in care homes of course.

This could be an adventure. And we know how to do it…..because we’ve done it.

1 comment:

John Eustace said...

Happily my dear Boy, you didn't mention politicians in your reverie about our all time greatness. Because here, sadly, we've got what we deserve. That the country is run by a journalist is sad. I cherish the days of Maggie and isn't it interesting that the countries best sorting out Covid-19 are run by women?
I too get the solicitous enquiry of my health and the mildly surprised look I am still alive, something I intend to remain.
So onward, no zimmer frames for us!!!
All good thoughts