Polly’s Lament

Whatever happened to my generation? We children of the 1960s burst through every barrier, won contraception and abortion rights, LGBTQ+ equality, equal pay and race discrimination laws – and a lot more. Bliss it was to be alive and so on, as if the dawning of the age of Aquarius would last for ever.

But look at us now. The oldest cohort of voters (70+) are three times more likely to vote Conservative than the youngest (18-24).

That folk wised up as they grew older is something of a shock to Polly. As, of course, she hasn’t.

22 thoughts on “Polly’s Lament”

  1. Hmmm

    I seem to have started at the wrong point.

    I voted Tory 18-24 but have become so disillusioned that in my mid 50s I’ll now vote for any bastard with a toothbrush moustache and a brown jacket.

  2. What was the old line – if you’re not a socialist by 20 you have no heart and if you’re still a socialist after 30 you have no brains?

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    There was some research floating around a couple of years that purported to show that we become more conservetive at the rat of about 0.7% per year.

  4. As woke as the 18-24 generation may be when they exit university, those with decent degrees and job prospects soon change their mind about which way they’ll vote on discovering the eyewatering amount of money they lose to tax. The ‘poor’ magically morph from being a protected species to becoming a drain on saving for that first step on the housing ladder.

  5. Um, the children of the 1960s voted in Maggie and Blair, the Conservative party passed gay marriage and supports basically everything on Polly’s achievement list.

    The generational divide political divide is usually just that the young have high numbers of undecided. I think it takes those who aren’t ideologues or idealists longer to decide which bunch of criminals to support, but polling is too new to account for cohort effects.

    The current dramatic difference is new and due to the diverging interests of ‘educated’ young workers and ‘rich’ home-owning pensioners. This will likely be as strong a political divide as class once was. Voters have already worked this out, and party policies are gradually catching up.

  6. What Ottokring said.

    @JK277: Indeed, one only needs to look at Lewis Hamilton’s incredulity that ‘these old people’ don’t hang on his every utterance and have the nerve to not treat him as he imagined he deserves to be treated…

  7. Always worth remembering that Polly broke through no barriers in the 60’s. She was a comfortably off middle class girl schlepping her embroidered Afghan around Notting Hill’s counter culture whilst occasionally playing at a bit of journalism. In the process she saw a lot of other people’s ceilings.

  8. I think you may have hit on a very useful metric for Tory politicians there, BiND @8:59. The fractional rat. You obviously do your best work early in the day.

  9. “We children of the 1960s burst through every barrier, won contraception … rights …”

    That sounds like pure fantasy to me. When did anyone in post-war Britain need to be given “contraception rights”?

    Or is she referring in her typically muddled and dishonest way to my being required to subsidise somebody else’s johnnies?

  10. BiS, I believe (can’t be arsed to check) that she got a third at whichever of Oxford or Cambridge being a Toynbee got her into. Then she got into journalism by the same route. Way to burst the barriers.

  11. We children of the 1960s

    I suspect it was really the children of the 1940s and 50s who were the driving force.

  12. If your generation really did get all those things, Polly, why would they not vote Conservative? You know, to conserve them.

  13. A couple of you have misunderstood the expression “children of the sixties”. It doesn’t mean babies born in the sixties but people who came of age in the sixties.

    @Chris: she left Oxford without a degree. WKPD doesn’t say she was chucked out but maybe she was.

  14. WKPD: “She … turned her eight months of experience in manual work … into the book A Working Life.”

    Ya gotta laugh.

  15. Born in 1958, I would vote Conservative if there was an actual Conservative party to vote for. As opposed to a bunch of deranged lefty enviroloons calling themselves Conservatives.

  16. I said it many times during and after the 2016 referendum when the Remain side was busy wishing death upon the older Leave demographic: these people aren’t the pre-boomer generation unable to let go of WWII; they’re in fact the very same bright young go-getters who voted “Yes” in 1975. The timescale works perfectly: if you were 29 in ’75, you were 70 in 2016.

    So what happened? They learned from experience and recognised their mistake. By definition, anyone of that age who still believes all the same things that she did fifty years ago hasn’t learned anything.

  17. @Arthur the cat

    N’être pas socialiste à vingt ans est preuve d’un manque de cœur ; l’être après trente ans est preuve d’un manque de tête.

    That was Georges Clemenceau (1841–1929, French PM before and after WW1) but he was making a pithier paraphrase of another French politico, François Guizot (1787–1874).

  18. Apparently having kids makes people more conservative so I wonder what the impact is of people having kids later in life on shifting political views

  19. Polly’s 100% right. They burst through barriers before they set up any viable alternatives in their place. That’s why Roe v. Wade was overturned. Maybe they should’ve worked on a Constitutional amendment instead of burning those bras.

    Or hey, how about fixing the problems that lead to people seeking out an abortion, instead of screaming “racism” all the time?

  20. DocBud in West Yorkshire

    In my mid-teens I was actually a member of the local Labour Party branch in Byfleet. As it was in the Woking constituency, we typically had four people at meetings to plot the overthrow of capitalism. I delivered leaflets for them at the 1974 general elections. By the time I was actually old enough to vote, I voted for Maggie.

    As I’ve spent most I’ve my life as an expat, I haven’t voted very often in my life. I was in the UK for the 1979, 1983, 1997 and 2001 general elections. As permanent residents we were allowed to vote in the first universal suffrage elections in South Africa in 1994.

    My only vote since 2001 was in the Brexit referendum. That upset a few remoaners that I know who wanted to know why I chose to vote when I’d been out of the UK for 14 years. My response was that the law said I could, so I did. Plenty of expats would be voting remain so it was necessary to vote and balance that out.

  21. Most of those in the 70+ group vote Conservative as the lesser of the evils because we have lived through four Labour governmenmts: Attlee, Wilson1, Wilson2/Callaghan, and “New Labour” from 1997-2010.
    There may be an additional reason, or two, for some of us but that is enough reason never to vote Labour.
    “New Labour” is the only government in my lifetime to simultaneously make the richer and the poor poorer.

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