X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is wrong — my generation isn’t selfish or obsessed with cappuccinos

16 June 2014

10:01 PM

16 June 2014

10:01 PM

Is Generation Y becoming more right wing and self-obsessed? Radio 4 broadcast a very interesting documentary tonight, Generation Right, on whether my generation is becoming more individualistic — featuring this parish’s Toby Young and Fraser Nelson. Both argued that some of our values might be perceived as right-wing but the trend isn’t that simple. Thanks to greater choice and empowerment of the individual, Generation Y is far less trusting of the state, which one could translate as a form of small-c conservatism.

The Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is someone who believes that. She told Radio 4 my generation is selfish and spoilt:

‘…they’re a frightfully spoilt generation. They hate the fact they don’t get their student fees and everything paid for and they also hate the fact other people are getting benefits. So the only thing they want is benefit for themselves’ 

‘They’ve become very conservative and very selfish. If this carries on, we won’t have a welfare state and actually they may come to rue this, as they get older. We need to be talking much more across the generations’ 


Research from Demos suggests Generation Y doesn’t want to entirely destroy the welfare state. Instead, we want to make it work better. Nearly two thirds of Generation Y support helping the over 65s, compared to aiding those on out of work benefits.Who does Yasmin think is to blame for this trend? The Iron Lady of course: 

‘Margaret Thatcher (bless her) had a project that you had to look after yourself first and then your family and rest just had to make do. That just took hold.’ 

[Alt-Text]


And for the final insult, Alibhai-Brown lamented how uncaring Generation Y is about politics:

‘They’re so unpolitical so many young people. I was in Leeds on May Day and a May Day march was going through the centre. The entire precinct was full of young people. Did they even look in direction of their march? Too busy with their cappuccinos and nail polish. They’ve got to be more political.’ 

Although, I’ve personally found younger folks to be more interested in flat whites than cappuccinos, this is a perfect illustration of the divide between our generations. Yasmin is wrong to state that Generation Y isn’t political, it’s just not in the traditional forms. It’s rare to find a young person who cares about party politics or marches through town centres.

As research from Ipsos MORI suggests, young people do hold the views Yasmin argues make us selfish — spend less on welfare, reduced government spending and lower taxes. But it’s not that we don’t care about others, it’s that we don’t trust the government to solve our problems.

While the coalition (and Nick Clegg in particular) might be disliked for abandoning those without white hair, there’s no trust in Labour to provide a solution. Her generation wanted the state to help solve their problems. Mine want the government to leave us alone.

Tomorrow evening, James Delingpole, David Lammy MP and Jeremy Warner will be debating whether Generation Y are the ‘jilted generation’ at the British Library. Click here to book tickets.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close