It’s easy to spot a member of the recession generation. They’re the sober, thoughtful young people. They’re our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and friends aged between about 18 and 23 and beginning their adult lives at a time when six million are on benefits. Like the generation above, they love iPods and TopShop. But they’re not as brash or confident as their older siblings. And this is because they have just taken an almighty knock at an early stage in their young lives.
David Beaumont, 21
‘I’d thought that a final year economics student at the LSE would get a job easily. But I’ve found it impossible to get even an unpaid internship. My plan after graduation is to get out: to travel, funded by a low-paid job. Getting on the career ladder at this stage seems a lost cause. It feels like I have had to delay my life.’Jessica Dickinson, 24
‘I’m stuck in an unhappy relationship because I simply cannot afford to move out of the flat I share with my boyfriend.
Power cuts and uncollected rubbish form most people’s memories of the economic debacle that was the 1970s. But for me, a quite different story sums up the lack of business sense that distinguished the British at the time. My mother had gone into a village shop in Kent to buy some bacon, which the affable shoplady found some pretext to give to her for free. While she was there another customer came in and tried to buy a tin-opener.
Sinclair McKay celebrates 30 years of Britain’s funniest, sharpest and most irreverent cartoon. David Cameron need look no further for a perfect picture of broken BritainSome night soon on the peaceful back streets of Bloomsbury, you might want to keep an eye out for two young ladies from the north for whom the term ‘muffin top’ might have been invented. They will be extremely drunk, laughing like open drains and displaying unsuitable underwear.
Rod Liddle is appalled that, after knowingly swindling the taxpayer, the former home secretary faced no punishment at all. It seems unbelievable after all their grandstanding — but MPs really don’t think they have done anything wrong‘We have got to clean up politics, we have got to consign the old, discredited system to the dustbin of history.’ — Gordon BrownThat’s the problem with the dustbins of history these days — you just don’t know how often the collections are.
Our political representatives have returned to Westminster, and the air is still thick with the Ghosts of Expenses Past. As MPs are ordered to pay back their more extravagant claims — with most of them complaining as they do so — you’d be forgiven for thinking that there isn’t a single decent one amongst them. But you’d be wrong. For the past few weeks, our readers have been highlighting the diamonds in the rough, via their nominations for The Spectator/Threadneedle Readers’ Representative Award.
The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford is an astonishing building, designed by Christopher Wren. Its painted ceiling has just been restored, so that the darkish miasma that was Robert Streeter’s original allegory of truth and light striking the university, is now bright with playful cherubs and lustrous clouds. Here, bookended by large chunks of Latin, a new vice chancellor is to be admitted to the job.
It’s fashionable for military top brass to attack politicians when things go wrong. But, says Paul Robinson, many of the army’s problems are of their own makingIn recent years, failure to ‘support the troops’ has become the ultimate political sin. The Conservatives’ soon-to-be defence adviser, General Sir Richard Dannatt, blasted Brown a few weeks ago, letting it slip that his brave plea for 2,000 extra troops had been ignored by our callous PM.