Damian Green is a former First Secretary of State, Chair of the One Nation Caucus, and is MP for Ashford.
The extra choice provided by DAB radio has meant a growth of age-specific stations. My personal favourite happens to be Absolute 80s, but the most upfront in its aim to serve a particular demographic is Boom Radio. Music from the 1960s is combined with adverts for comfortable mattresses, pensions advisers and the Daily Telegraph. It even advertises a service offering to make your ashes into a disc for your loved ones, called the Vinyl Countdown. It is unapologetic in its celebration of all things Boomer.
I fear that this celebration may enrage the members of Generations X and later who are fixed in their view that this ageing cohort has lived an unfairly privileged life, and should perhaps stop rubbing it in. However, in the interests of balance I should also point out that the Boomers lived through some terrible times, notably the 1970s, and therefore have some experience to pass on.
In particular (and I am getting round to politics, honestly) they lived with inflation in a way that future generations have been spared. Therefore, as a public service to improve inter-generational harmony, I thought it would be useful to pass on some simple phrases that have fallen into disuse in recent decades, but might sadly be needed again if the authorities don’t get their act together to stop inflation taking hold. If it does, it will be miserable and we will all get used to boring on about:
There is a serious purpose behind this parade of half-forgotten monsters. The official view has been for months that any increase in inflation will be transitory. Only in the last week has there been any recognition that this stance may be dangerously complacent. Even though there is now recognition in words that the transitory phase may be longer than first thought, there has been no action to accompany it.
I can quite see why the Bank of England is reluctant to see an early rise in official interest rates, as it will be deeply painful for the Government’s finances. Indeed, the rise in market rates has already added billions to the debt burden. But I am at a loss why the Bank is continuing with the last £50 billion of the QE project, knowingly adding to the risk of inflation in the coming months and years.
It does not take long for inflation to become embedded in an economy, as those who lived through the 1960s and 1970s can testify. If it does, it can take a couple of decades to eliminate it, and even then it needs a very determined set of leaders who are prepared to brave short-term unpopularity. Better by far to tackle the problem at the outset.
You have to be the most oddly nostalgic Boomer to look back fondly on the 1970s (apart from punk music, obviously). Absolutely no one wants the 70s economy back, whether they had to live through it the first time or read about it in textbooks. It’s time to take action to make sure we don’t.