Amusingly wrong

Someone complains on an old comments thread:

Interesting this Tim Worstall character lives in the past, when by far away life was exceedingly easier back then. As somebody reasonably young I read his work as a remnant of a different era and not realistic. Maybe back in the 1960s back when you did not have to have years of experience to begin with. And you could live in the countryside for months on end with the money you had earned but it is not like this anymore. Realistic for somebody whose life experience is from the past to completely out of touch with the realities of the younger generation. My reality of life is nearer to the depression mate minus starvation to death, that perhaps that may be the reality. Tim Worstall forgets how easy life was after the Depression and Second World War up until the 1980’s and then there was the 1990’s when the inflationary realities changed the world substantially in the time.


Once the economy had been gutted it was far easier to buy a hotel. Tim Worstall let me guess lives in a big fine house, with lots and lots of money whose has got where he has gotten where he is through being a realist and seeing the world through rose coloured glasses. Has forgotten his childhood in the depression or the second wall through his remarkable success in life probably unlike the luck of his parents perhaps and their generation la la la.

To be a child in the War/Depression you need to be in your 80s now. Over estimating me by a generation that is. And rather one of my consistent points is how much richer we are all now than even the 80s, let alone 60s.

Still, anon commenters and all that….

34 comments on “Amusingly wrong

  1. “…through being a realist and seeing the world through rose coloured glasses.”

    Well, by doing one or the other presumably, you can hardly be doing both.

  2. Exactly so. Mum’s 85, she recalls being sent off to Minchinhampton to be away from the bombs falling on Birmingham.

  3. Obesity is now officially or semi-officially classified as a disease of the poor; it is dragged up by Progressives when they complain about ‘inequality’.

    Hard times, eh? Much harder than post-war or even the 50s/60s, with food shortages and no central heating in Winter to burn those excess calories off. You lucky, lucky bastards!

  4. Ironically, It reads like the ramblings of someone struggling with senility.

    Or that halfwit who used to comment on the Adam Smith blog all the time.

  5. There is a reasonable set of points to be made that some things, nowadays, are harder than they used to be. Which is completely different from the assertion that living standards are lower / life is harder than they used to be.

    Yes, it is harder to buy a first flat or house than it used to be. It was harder for my daughter a couple of years ago than me in the mid-80s than it was for my parents in the early-70s.

    Yes, it seems to be harder to get a permanent job than it used to be. Although I had it ridiculously easy, even for the time (early 80s.) The Blairite daft 50% to university concept, a stupid increase in credentialism (obvious in my area) and higher employer costs probably all contribute, possibly even more than the decline in “traditional industries” (whatever they were) and the job-for-life.

    Life was easy in the 70s? Blackouts, the three day week? My memories are hazy and coloured by the lack of concern that kids can have of economic reality.

    The 60s? Was anybody sober enough to realise?

    The early years after WWII were notoriously miserable, especially before the repeal of rationing, although a lot of our ‘history’, is coloured by the movies of the quite different US experience.

    But the various valid points are not well made by your commentor.

  6. “whose has got where he has gotten where he is through being a realist and seeing the world through rose coloured glasses.”

    I’ve heard more intelligent things from drunken donkeys.

  7. “his childhood in the depression or the second wall”

    I’m too young to remember the second wall. Was that the one that had all the railings cut off to make spitfires?

  8. SE, the 50 per cent go to university target is actually something we have to, ahem, thank John Major for.

    An early indication of the equality mania infesting the Tories, that was, and one of the things that really made me start to wonder what they were for.

  9. One of the downsides of this interwebby thing – the green ink brigade get to use it to spill their nonsense. Makes for mild amusement though.

  10. Rather interestingly, because I remember, the difficulty of finding a first home to buy had spread into the outer London suburbs by the late 1960s, which is why those huge estates of basic houses developed outside the green belt (I nearly said M25) and in one of which I live. It was to meet the demand for something better than council houses but still not owner-occupied that the concept of housing associations was invented. Now, of course, HAs are simply the way to separate council houses from the council, and thus protect the properties from ‘right to buy’ (or at least they were), but when invented, they came in two variants: ‘fair rent’ and ‘co-ownership’ (or something like that, I forget now).

    We not only had Miners’ strikes, we also had the OPEC crisis after the Arab-Israeli war. We also had decimalisation that contributed to rampant inflation as people forgot the value of money. We had the Winter of Discontent. And we joined the EEC.

    People continually forget the abject awfulness of Labour because the Tories are so stupid, and I continually hear about the drop-out of the ERM whereas no-one reminds us to the same extent of the draconian taxes and rampant inflation of the Labour years. The dreaded Blair-Brown axis, for all its faults, held some of the Labour tendency to screw up the economy in check – at least at first.

    One thing I do remember – but only vaguely – is that there was still rationing in the UK when it had ceased in Germany. Aren’t sugar and alcohol taxes the first step to re-introducing rationing?.

    Excavator Man is over 70.

  11. SE,

    “Yes, it is harder to buy a first flat or house than it used to be. It was harder for my daughter a couple of years ago than me in the mid-80s than it was for my parents in the early-70s.”

    I’m not saying housing isn’t knackered, but some people don’t do themselves any favours.

    I was at a tech conference recently and there were 2 blokes complaining about their rent and old gammon kippers costing them money, but they both lived in central Bristol and both had apartments. You’re looking at something like £350/month for that. Compare that with the Indian programmers I know: three of them share a large house in Swindon, which you can do for about £500/month.

    And I don’t want to get into the avocado toast thing, but people spend a fucking fortune on stuff that we didn’t. Holidays is the big one. It’s not just that there’s often an exotic long haul, but there’s another 1 or 2 trips. Stag nights have become stag weekends in Tallin. You won’t get much change for £400 from that. A stag night used to be booze + stripper + curry. Eating out. No-one has friends over for dinner, from what I can tell. They all eat out.

  12. the 50 per cent go to university target is actually something we have to, ahem, thank John Major for.

    Ah, okay. I was too busy working (okay, drinking excessively) as a junior officer around that time.

    No-one has friends over for dinner, from what I can tell.

    I do, I like cooking!

  13. Just to add, one of the journalists was complaining about her London rent situation yesterday. And I get that some journalists, especially the people covering Westminster, need to be in London, but I’ve looked at her last few articles, and she’s writing about TV, Brexit. Like, why live in an expensive toilet like London to do that, when you could live anywhere?

  14. SE,

    “I do, I like cooking!”

    A lot of people don’t. It’s not just sad because it’s a massive waste of money. It’s sad because people go out to such crappy places. Like, noodles at Wagamama, or Pizza Express.

    We spent £100 going out with another family for pizza, because I misunderstood their offer of dinner. I thought they meant they’d cook, then that they’d cook pizza. Like, I cook pizza from scratch sometimes. It’s not like making a fucking croquembouche. A child can make pizza. Who goes out for pizza?

  15. Excavator man

    The UK had rationing until 1954, nine years after the end of the second world war. Primarily because the Brits paid for the war. German rationing ended in 1950.

  16. ‘Realistic for somebody whose life experience is from the past to completely out of touch with the realities of the younger generation.’

    … the younger generation ‘completely out of touch’ with the realities of the past not having lived there.

    In that past the younger generation left school at 15 and were working ten hour shifts down coal mines, shipyards, steelworks, back-breaking work in dockyards or doing mind-numbing, repetitive jobs day in day out until they retired.

    On Friday they would be obliged to hand over their wage packet to mother who would then give them some pocket money. Night out was Saturday night.

    No life on welfare either. Dole was just enough to make ends meet, daily trips to employment exchange and if you turned down a job three times, dole stopped.

    Yes life was much easier back then.

  17. “My reality of life is nearer to the depression mate minus starvation to death”. Yeah the rate of starvation to death in Britain during The Slump (as it was called here) was notorious. Fassands, I tell you, fassands.

  18. “Who’d have thought it would turn out to have been old man Worstall all along?”

    Woulda gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t fer those pesky kids!

  19. BoM4

    You go out to pizza at a place that has a proper pizza oven that does proper Italian pizza. Pizza Express is not good, but it beats Pizza Hut – the continued existence of which utterly bamboozles me – in retrospect I can fully understand why Patisserie Valerie went under due to fraud – it is horrible and yet spread like metastatic cancer – because to keep the fraud going the FD had to grow, yet Pizza Hut continues to exist, like Japanese knotweed.

  20. I’m born in ’78 so I can’t say much but I know my old man born ’53 in rural Northamptonshire grew up with tin baths and an outdoors shithouse.

    Regarding pizza… I have no idea why people go to pizza hut et al when decent family owned proper Italian places are available everywhere.

  21. @Edward Lud April 12, 2019 at 9:15 am


    John Major & Clarke don’t get enough credit for the damage they caused to UK before Blair & Brown escalated what M&C started.

  22. I can afford to spend £4.95/week going to Slimming World. And this is in Hartlepool on an income of £18.5k and an alcohol consumption of 60 units a week ( they encourage you to keep a food and drink diary until you get established ).
    I live in a country that had the world title from around 1689 to 1889, and enjoy a higher standard of living than any UK head of state apart from the current one.
    Things could be better ( especially on council tax ), but I still stick the word Great in front of Britain whenever the chance arises.

  23. “Tim Worstall forgets how easy life was after the Depression and Second World War up until the 1980’s ”

    1. You wot mate? Easy in the Depression? ‘Can live in the country with no money’?

    2. One of my earliest experiences with Europe the first time I was there (in early 90’s France) was staying in a hotel and being asked if I wanted a room with a private bathroom. I was born in 1971. At that point I do not think there were hotels left in the US with communal bathrooms. Fleabag motels with barely enough room for a single bed in them had bathrooms, a tv, and air conditioning.

    But this moron, who can’t seem to even string a coherent sentence together, wants to go on about how hard shit is *now*?

  24. @AC

    Wonder to what extent it’s true you’ve a higher standard of living than the last couple of Kings.

    They obviously beat you on living space, servants, chef-prepared food, etc.

    But you likely win on availability of modern medical care, have technology even at budget prices these days they couldn’t distinguish from magic, have very little reason to fret over looming infectious disease or continental war. In terms of cuisines available you might have more food choice. They could splunk more money than you on leisure activities, but if you aren’t interested in hunting and shooting then you might prefer what you’ve got access to – certainly they couldn’t disappear into virtual worlds of your chosen fantasy, like you can.

  25. Incidentally I’ve thought about the “when in history did my current quality of life surpass the ruling monarch?” question before and I think I’d have been prepared to life-swap with one of the Georges. Just have had to take my chances with the medical knowledge of the time. But I think I’d be up for the palatial living.

  26. Regarding nothing really MBE, I wonder how long it took George 6 to get from Buckingham Palace to Holyrood door to door, and how long it would take a person today.
    I reckon George would save half an hour combined on modern man on journey time to King’s Cross and from Waverley in our congested big cities. Today’s trains though are faster, but are they faster by the same amount is the question.
    What really makes today better is what you can do while you’re travelling.
    So you’d like your chances in a world with rubbish music, no Wikipedia and no modern bicycles. I’m guessing you’re thinking fornication opportunities and servants at your beck balance that out a bit.

  27. @AC

    If you’re King of England then there’s indeed an awful lot of stuff you have access to should you so desire.

    But I think you’re right, there must have been some blurring of the edges between leisure and boredom. “Dead time” travelling is a good example of that – and how much worse that would have been prior to royal train travel. I suppose the upper classes generally read more, not so sure how true that was of the royalty themselves.

    I wouldn’t want to condemn all music before the recorded era, but clearly the ability to just play any music we so choose, without having to drag our favourite musician thousands of miles to come into our room, is a big step forward.

    Weighted against that is living in a palace and getting to do pretty much whatever you want. Though there would have been a lot of political crap to put up with.

  28. Kings are prisoners. Yes they have a nice house and servants etc. They cannot just nip out for a night out, they cannot wear what they want to a party, they have to host state dinners rather than watch their favourite TV show.

    I am glad I am not a king.

  29. @Martin

    Lots of the civic duties must be unbelievably tiresome and the fancy cuisine less special once you’re accustomed to it but I’m pretty sure Liz could have afforded a VCR before the rest of us…

    Do wonder what the royal equivalent of nipping down the pub with your mates is.

    Incidentally the hereditary prisoner issue is probably strongest argument I’ve seen against monarchy, though few complain publicly they’re in a cage from birth.

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