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I blame the extension of education myself

If you are young, idealistic and anxious to know whether the purity of your left-wing principles will survive the disappointments of middle age, you might pay attention to the language being spoken around you. If you can hear English there is a better chance that your youthful socialism will remain uncorrupted. In Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, millennials are defying ancient political laws and failing to become more right-wing as they age. Modern 35-year-olds in Britain and America are, according to a recent analysis in the Financial Times, “by far the least conservative 35-year-olds in recorded history”.

The firm thwack of conservative leanings comes soon after – as PJ O’R pointed out – one notes the deductions from the paycheque necessary to pay for all those glorious governmentalness.

As adolescence – heck, childhood – now extends well into what used to be considered middle age why not those youthful attitudes lasting longer? The arrival of those 100% tax rates (around £50k for a household these days, in that band before £60k*) is still going to cause that philosophical change, no?

*In response to a query. Yes, this is true. A substantial chunk of families do face marginal rates of 100% in this income span. The grip of the higher income tax rate, plus child benefit withdrawal, can indeed mean that over that span of income a household can face a combined tax and benefit marginal rate of 90 to 100%.

29 thoughts on “I blame the extension of education myself”

  1. Tim, they’re a generation of 30-something children who waste all their money on expensive toys.

    This is not as good a situation as the 1988 Tom Hanks age-swapping comedy-horror ‘Big’ would have you believe.

    Irregardless, it’s not really surprising that conservatism is failing again, it’s been failing with impressive consistency since 1914.

  2. Most people would like to keep more of what they earn and not have foreign criminals living near them, but some are so frightened of being scolded that they pretend to like welfare payouts, lax policing and open borders.

  3. You have a point Sam. I remember discussing something with Gordon in the local library, and pointing out that I was a racist. He appeared to be a trifle shocked.

  4. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    How many ejmcated millennials are even aware they should be aiming for £50k as absolute bare minimum mid-career salary?

    But – to be fair – how many people would be comfortable to support mortgage, wife, and children on £50k?

  5. According to the ONS, England and Wales have , for the first time, reached the point where half of women born in 1990 were still childless at the age of 30. The previous year’s figures show that 90% of under-30s have never been married or in a civil partnership.

    Since one could argue that marriage and parenthood play a large part in generating conservative values by creating a need for continuity and future stability it’s hardly surprising that we are seeing a shift in the opposite direction.

  6. you might pay attention to the language being spoken around you.
    Echo chamber effect. Depends which 35 year olds you are listening to. Some of the Brits I know come over like SS stormtroopers on subjects like immigration, diversity & men-in-frocks. And I suspect there’s a lot more of them than there are limp wristed liberals. These white vans have to be driven.

  7. The language I hear being spoken around me – and particuarly in the cities – is heathen furrin gobbledegook. I take it that this means I live in a normal country where people mature as they get older.

  8. One of the reasons for designing Universal Credit was to get rid of those horrible situationsthat Gordon Brown had created where *poor people* faced marginl tax rates far in excess of 100%.
    We still have 100% tax rates on small occupational pensions that are less than the difference between the basic state pension and the “pension guarantee”.
    I agree that the 100% tax rate at £50k is unfair but it’s those further down paying 100% who get the bulk of my sympathy.

  9. Two other things:-

    1) housing, or lack of. When people get out of a bedsit in London and own a place out in the provinces, they start to become capitalists
    2) women having “careers”*. People become more conservative when they have children. Instead of doing a few years of work and trying to hunt down a husband, women seem to spend about a decade doing aimless self-exploration (travel, going to Glasto, reading trash). Add that onto not leaving yooni until 21 and the mean age for first birth is 31. But remember that’s mean, including Shaznay on the estate getting knocked up at 17.

    * most women don’t actually have careers. They have jobs. They have this idea they’ll be a girlboss at some point but they only put in a 9-5 and so doesn’t happen.

  10. MacHeath has it – age of first partition is about 33 now. Was around 28 not that long ago.

    Just wait until the dustbins are about halfway through primary school.

  11. Young people don’t see the tax coming off their pay, but they do see the rent coming out of their bank accounts. That’s why they’re going communist.

  12. All this woke-ish stuff is just another religious awakening. There will follow a tussle between those fantasies and various realities.

    But awakenings can survive for a long time e.g. abolitionism or, come to that, Protestantism.

  13. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious

    Modern 35-year-olds in Britain and America are, according to a recent analysis in the Financial Times, “by far the least conservative 35-year-olds in recorded history”.

    They are also the least accomplished.

    In an era where a substantial portion of those under 40 worship mediocrity under the guise of “diversity, equity and inclusion”, many have not accomplished enough to be worth that “firm thwack”. The thwack is extractive in nature, and a whole lot of 35 year olds these day have little to nothing to extract… Blood from a stone and all that. So they continue to believe what they want to believe.

    You aren’t twice shy until you’re once bitten.

  14. According to the ONS, England and Wales have , for the first time, reached the point where half of women born in 1990 were still childless at the age of 30.

    Should give a clue as to why the government isn’t really fussed about the dinghies. It’s not that they’re out to replace us, we’re just not replacing ourselves.

  15. In truth you’d need to have a lot of children to lose 100% if you earned £60k but if you had 4 kids earning £60k would in the top £10k cost you about £4,000 income tax, £200 NIC and £3,350 in clawed back child benefit. That’s 75%.

    Earn £50k? Want to put in loads of overtime and give up a few months of weekends to earn a £10k bonus? Nah, don’t think I’ll bother.

    Of course, as well as the £7,550 tax and employee NIC, HMRC also gets £1,500 employer’s NIC. that’s 9k of the £11.5k the employer has forked out.

    I suppose it’s even possible if you had a really big family for the rate to exceed 100%. I think you’d need 8 kids for that.

  16. The thrust of James Marriott’s piece is that English speakers are much more influenced by ‘woke’ messages coming from the US than our continental cousins. He quotes his colleague Oliver as claiming there’s “no German word for woke”. Any of our German residents care to comment? (I bet there is such a word, but it’s over 30 characters long.)

    I commented* that maybe other countries don’t have the BBC pumping out left-wing propaganda 24 hours a day.

    * from today, The Times have moved from polite warnings about their new “real names only” commenting policy and are now blocking pseudonyms from commenting. I can’t understand this decision (though I use my real name, as on here, I post elsewhere under a pseudonym).

  17. Bloke near Worcester

    I saw ‘to pay for all those glorious governmentalness’….and read the last word as ‘govern mental illness’

    Not too far wrong then

  18. PJF – low birth rates makes it much more important to get a grip on immigration, not less, but we’re taking the RMS Titanic strategy instead (in general).

    Y’know, full steam ahead with various unnecessary disasters (Net Zero, tax hikes, fracking, completely unsustainable welfare spending and the bottomless money furnace of incompetence that is Our NHS)

    This is what conservatism in Britain is in 2023. Even the formerly chipper Daniel Hannan is depressed. It’s going to be rough, especially after Labour gets in (not that they ever really left). We should hope for the Conservative Party’s demise as a going concern, its existence as the fake right, the perennial good losers, is something we can no longer afford. The best service Rishi Sunak can render his current country of residence is to lead them to the total electoral humiliation they’ve been craving.

    But the actual right needs a better plan than “call on Nigel… again”. And a better plan than “vote harder and hope for the best”.

  19. Even in the best-case scenario, the de-liberalization will take place at a much later age.

    It’s not guaranteed, since the economy has shifted toward the service sector in Western countries. Everyone is just staring at screens all day. There are also less adults buying homes or starting families. Talk to 75% of people in blue cities in the U.S., and most won’t even be aware that they have money taken out of their paycheck. And the few who understand the basics of supply and demand will still think some form of corporate greed or “Putin” is causing inflation. The average young professional cares more about winning an argument and being “right” than about solving problems, so they’ll remain content in the misery they know and love. They’ll make endless excuses for why we need more federal research grants. We now have a few generations in a row who have only known post-war industrialization and first-world comforts. And most people have no idea how things got this way. They’ve gotten so comfortable that they get bored and invent new problems. We have people who think the next Speaker of the House or Nigel Farage is going to have any effect whatsoever on their life. They aren’t going to discover the argument for conservatism because they simply don’t have to. In their world, food comes from the supermarket, safety comes from police officers and electricity is magically created from batteries. They think the U.S. and UK are the number one exporters of pollution and only black people have ever been slaves. Today’s young adults also spend much less time interacting with other humans. They think people can only become rich by cheating and poor by way of injustice. These kinds of people can’t be reasoned with. I myself only became a conservative because I had a series of real-world experiences and a healthy dose of intellectual curiosity. Most don’t venture outside their comfort zones.

    I predict a lot more bitterness and resentment among these people than growing up. I’ve seen adults in their 60s who can’t understand fundamental civics or economics, and they still somehow survived this long. Usually by living off the generosity of others, or by inflating the quality of their life. There’s no convincing these people that they’re wrong, and I only see a national divorce in the distant future. Some will leave the village to explore the rest of the world and the others will stay behind on the other side of the land bridge.

  20. . . . low birth rates makes it much more important to get a grip on immigration, not less . . .

    Depends on your angle. If you wish to retain national culture and identity, then sure. But if you want to retain and grow economic wealth and keep the gardens tidy then you need new people. And we know what the establishments are more interested in. And let’s be frank, you and I like our comfy lifestyles too.

  21. “according to a recent analysis in the Financial Times”

    According to the pricking of my thumbs, talking to my younger relatives over the holidays, and being on t’Internet for (as Grist points out) all of “recorded history”, I’m calling bullshit. The Tory Party and its policies may be out of favour (with, let’s face it, anyone with more than a couple of brain cells to rub together), but conservatism has never been more popular.

  22. If, on the other hand, you decide that you don’t want to be a middle-class sponger, suckling.om the state’s teet, and choose not to claim child benefit, then your marginal rate of tax reduces. Joy!!

  23. @Sam Vara – “not have foreign criminals living near them”

    Do they care whether the criminals are foreign or not? And if so, on what basis other than xenophobia or racism?

    @PJF – “If you wish to retain national culture and identity, then sure”

    Indeed. I don’t want society to be Victorian, Edwardian, 50’s, 70’s, or even 90’s. Currently, I quite like it to be a 21st century society, and as time passes even today’s society will start looking obsolete. In 50 years, the only people who will look back and want to live our 20’s lifestyle will be like current day eccentrics who decorate their house in 70’s styles and refuse to use microwaves and the Internet. If people really valued “national culture”, dying yourself blue would be the height of fashion.

  24. I don’t mind that culture changes – just like climate, “always has, always will”. But I’d quite like to have a say in how my culture changes, and Islamo-fascism isn’t a desirable destination for most.

  25. @Chris Miller

    You have a say. As much as anyone else. In the long term, your views will be ignored as old-fashioned and irrelevant.

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