Twinges of guilt? Spiritual agonies of the baby-boomers explored

The generation born after WW2 really did have it all
The generation born after WW2 really did have it all
Alex Stevenson By

Those born in the years after the Second World War are absorbing too much public spending, a senior Anglican has suggested.

Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London and himself a baby-boomer, used a lecture on William Blake's Jerusalem to suggest his generation has been too greedy with taxpayers' money.

He pointed out that around 40% of the £695 billion of annual public spending is spent on the elderly in his lecture for Premier Christian Media.

"Much of that is absorbed by the fortunate generation to which I belong in ways which raise questions – severe questions – of intergenerational equity," he said.


Some demographers had feared the baby-boomer generation could suffer because its larger numbers could put pressure on public services.

But analysts now accept politicians have responded to the bigger than usual cohort by doing more to win its votes.

David Cameron's staunch defence of state payouts for the elderly like the winter fuel allowance is an example.

Chartres' speech said baby-boomers should realise their best days may be "behind us" - even going so far as to hint at possible future conflict.

“The world is being rebalanced: economic and military's power is shifting eastward, the period of unchallengeable western hegemony after 250 years is at an end," he added.

“Previous periods marked by the rise of new powers have led to war. We only have to think back to the disastrous European civil war of 1914-1918 to realise the truth that even the interdependent character of the modern global economy is no insurance against mutually destructive conflict."

Chartres, who gave the address at Margaret Thatcher's funeral in April, has had to grapple with politics frequently during his tenure in the job.

He played a key role in efforts to neutralise the Occupy protesters outside St Paul's Cathedral. The episode saw the resignation of its Dean, Graeme Knowles.

Explaining his views on the Church's involvement in politics, he said: "While St Paul's is not on any particular political side – that is not its role – it does have an important part to play in providing a place for reasoned debate within a moral and spiritual context."

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