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Stop knocking the baby boomers – it is not our fault when we were born

PUBLISHED: 16:41 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:47 30 October 2018

Baby boomers get blamed for everything, says Valerie Slaughter. Photo:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Baby boomers get blamed for everything, says Valerie Slaughter. Photo:Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Valerie Slaughter says Rachel Moore was too hard on the baby boomers. The ills of today’s society are not their fault

I make neither excuse nor apology, or offer any atonement for the fact that I was born in 1946.

After all, it was actually nothing whatsoever to do with me.

I accept no responsibility either that, over the years, various Governments have decided to issue bus passes to the over 60s, made it possible for more people to be able to become homeowners and put up the retirement age.

Neither I, nor my generation, are responsible for zero hours’ contracts, job losses or NHS cuts and the rest.

Why does no-one seem to blame the politicians for this but instead, choose to demonise an entire generation for these decisions?

I am no stranger to criticism and rejection, (at 20, having come from a white, Protestant family, I not only converted to Catholicism but also married an Anglo-Indian;) but I have never felt more discriminated against than being described as a baby-boomer or one of the grey-haired brigade, who are constantly blamed for whatever ills befall this country.

We are advised to keep healthy but are bemoaned because we live longer; I try to maintain good health, so that my children have longer to enjoy their lives without having the responsibility of looking after me.

(I began looking after parents when I was only 38 years old, with a young family myself and I continued to do so, for many years.)

We are berated because we dare to go out and use our bus passes yet are despised because we are selfish enough to use the car and drive on the road.

If we didn’t drive cars or take buses, we would not have been able to carry out all the child care duties we have done for our grandchildren; or ferry them about to various activities
during seven weeks school holidays.

And if some pensioners are unable to get any social contact, (heaven knows they have shut enough centres where they used to meet) then they will become isolated, depressed and lonely and become a drain on the NHS even more than they are accused of at the moment.

In my very early years, rationing of food was still in place, following the war.

My father worked at various jobs and my mother took in work at home from the Norwich shoe factories, in order to make ends meet.

They were never able to save much nor did they own their own home, so when they passed away, they were unable to give their children a ‘leg-up’ by leaving substantial amounts of money or property.

We did not own our own home till we were nearly 40. We saved hard for the deposit and the solicitors’ fees and sank every penny we had into this and when we moved into our home, we had no curtains, very little furniture, and had to borrow beds for the children until my husband received his gratuity from the army, some months later, as he was still serving.

I slept on an airbed, for the duration of this time, which 
had to be foot-pumped daily because it deflated during the night.

This is not a sob story here; indeed many of our peers had similar situations and much worse; I merely wish to show the other side of the ‘lucky, privileged, everything handed on a plate, wealthy baby-boomers.’

Therefore, in defence of my generation, I shall end with the line from the recent article by Rachel Moore when this whole issue of baby boomers reared its head, yet again. When speaking of those born in even later generations, she wrote, ‘Not their fault in any way, just the luck of the draw.’ Indeed.

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