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Thursday 17 January 2019

By Merope Mills

The UK army recently targeted ‘snowflakes’ and ‘me me me millennials’ in a campaign that paid homage to Lord Kitchener’s famous “Your country needs you” poster. But why do the younger generation always get it in the neck when their grandparents are responsible for so many contemporary problems?

  • During the 2016 US election, older Americans — especially those over 65 — were much more likely to share fake news than younger ones. Facebook users ages 65+ shared nearly seven times as many fake news articles as 18 to 29 year olds. (Washington Post, 2019)
  • In setting America’s energy policy priorities, 71% of Millennials say the focus should be on developing alternative energy sources. But among the Silent generation (born 1925-1945) only 47% say alternative energy should be the priority, while 40% say the country should focus on expanding exploration and production of fossil fuels.
  • 49% of the Silent generation also argue stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy. (Pew research on The Generation Gap, 2011)
  • Older Europeans are less trusting of the European Parliament and thus more sympathetic to nationalist movements than younger Europeans (VOX report, Populism and Trust in Europe, 2017)
  • Respective right wing populist parties – Poland’s PiS and Hungary’s Fidesz – wouldn’t be in power without the support of elderly voters  (Edoado Campanella, ‘Is Pensioner Populism Here to Stay’ for Project Syndicate, October 2018)

“Baby boomers have not been keen on houses being built in their vicinity. Planning laws have made it difficult for houses to be built. It is a slow process for converting brownfield sites into social sites. Some older people don’t like any new builds that could ‘get in the way’ of their property. They also worry about the types of people who will be moving in” Steve King, Senior Economic Adviser, HSBC

  • In 2017, the UK Housing and Finance Institute Chair, Sir Mark Boleat said the current system gives ‘far too much weight to articulate groups who make a lot of noise and not enough weight to the “have-nots”
  • 64% of over-65s voted to Leave while only 36% voted to Remain.
  • Voters aged 24 to 49 narrowly opted for Remain (54%) over leave (46%)
  • 60% of voters between the ages of 50 and 64 went for Leave.

(Yougov survey results, 2016)