Is this the jilted generation?

Tuesday 19 October, 7.30pm until 9.00pm, Bellerbys College, 1 Billinton Way, Brighton BN1 4LF

Venue: Bellerbys College, 1 Billinton Way, Brighton BN1 4LF

Tickets: Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to attend

Generation Y is in revolt. Young people born since the Thatcher years can’t afford a house, they protest. Even the top graduates can’t get jobs that pay well and they think politics - voting or protesting - is pointless. Their parents, born of the post-war boom, received free education and jobs for life. ‘Britain’s young people are insecure, unstable and poor, (while) their parents are the richest generation ever to have lived and they have flatly failed to share the wealth,’ argue twenty-something journalists Ed Howker and Shiv Malik. Their book Jilted Generation describes how the Baby Boomer generation, ‘seemingly squandered a nation’s communal wealth, turned their backs on society and broke all barriers in a lifelong quest to express themselves’. Gen Y writer Neil Boorman is even more blunt in blaming the boomers, calling his manifesto It’s all their fault.

It is argued that the postwar generation abolished the stop-go economy and created the knowledge economy, but gave the young stop-go lives and will charge them for their knowledge. It appears that politicians who need Baby Boomers’ votes encouraged speculation on property and locked the young out of ownership. They pushed post-retirement working while millions of young people remained unemployed. The jilted generation’s politically engaged parents outnumber them, and politicians are skewing policy in their favour. Even some Boomers have started to wake up to what they have done. Conservative minister David Willetts outlined in The Pinch: how the baby-boomers stole their children’s future how the time has come for his generation to bear the brunt of the austerity measures caused by their own fecklessness, while Boomer author Francis Beckett asks in his latest book, What Have The Boomers Ever Done For Us?.

Can we really blame one generation for the troubles of the next? Have the Boomers really squandered their children’s future, or have Generation Y been spoiled with expectations of home ownership and material comfort which their parents could only have dreamed of? If twentysomethings don’t get politically involved, have they nobody to blame but themselves?

Ed Howker
associate editor, Spectator; co-author, Jilted Generation: how Britain has bankrupted its youth

Shiv Malik
freelance investigative journalist; co-author, Jilted Generation: how Britain has bankrupted its youth; contributor, Prospect

Rob Lyons
science and technology director, Academy of Ideas; convenor, IoI Economy Forum

Para Mullan
senior project manager, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; FCIPD

Sean Bell
secretary and founder member, The Brighton Salon; copy-editor, writer and journalist

Produced by
Dan Travis director, Brighton Salon; tennis coach; author How to teach Young Children Tennis and In Defence of Competitive Sport.
Recommended readings
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Sarah Dunant owns up to being part of the greediest generation - the baby boomers.

BBC Radio 4, 16 October 2010

Jilted Generation: How Britain Has Bankrupted Its Youth

Instead of creating a new world, their actions really fostered a nation riddled with inequality, elitism and political corruption. "Jilted Generation" sets out how the next generation might succeed where this one failed.

Ed Howker & Shiv Malik, Icon Books Ltd, 2 September 2010

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Craig Purshouse, spiked, 18 August 2010

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The Baby Boomers could risk rebellion. Not so, Generation Y.

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The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future - And How They Can Give it Back

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David Willets, Atlantic Books, 1 February 2010

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