No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
Started by mingmong on Mar 27, 2020 9:09:53 AM
Generation X politicians

Watching Rishi Sunak (b. 1980) on the TV the other day, I thought maybe here we have our first prominent millenial politician in the UK. Boris himself (b. 1964) is possibly the last of the Boomers.

This got me wondering about my own generational cohort, Generation X, and what our contribution to the political life of the nation might have been. David Cameron (b.1966) was perhaps the only Gen X PM we'll ever have. Ed Milliband (b. 1969) the most noteable Labour leader from that cohort. Were there any others? Is that our lot?

mingmong - 27 Mar 2020 09:26:29 (#1 of 55)

Perhaps we were just not a very political generation. I for one am happy to pass the baton on to the millenials, who seem to be altogether better and more serious people than we ever managed to be.

Gen X's achievements - such as they were - were more in the arts (music, comedy and film in particular), sport and technology.

Shadrack22 - 27 Mar 2020 09:41:42 (#2 of 55)

Were there any others? Is that our lot?

Generation X is usually defined as being born between 1965-80. Quite a few Generation X people are in charge now: Macron (born 1977), Trudeau (born 1971), Ardern (born 1980), Rutte (Netherlands, 1977). Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia (born 1976) is an interesting figure who has ushered in big changes.

Berman221 - 27 Mar 2020 09:44:13 (#3 of 55)

There's a booklet on this, called I think you might like this book – "Things Can Only Get Bitter: The Lost Generation of 1992" by Alwyn W. Turner.

Largely, it claims that generation went into single issue politics, such as Greenpeace, or were largely apolitical. The book was inspired by a blog article at
which asked if this would happen to millennials.

Shadrack22 - 27 Mar 2020 09:50:26 (#4 of 55)

I kind of know what you mean though Ming. Generation X essentially apolitical, seeking to ameliorate the worst excesses of neoliberalism whilst lacking the vision or conviction to chart a new course. Is that what you mean, or am I making assumptions about your starting point?

I also wonder whether our perception of Gen X is very western-centric. I guess it is a largely American interpretation. Has this played out very differently in other parts of the world?

TheExcession - 27 Mar 2020 09:55:49 (#5 of 55)

I like being part of Generation X. It makes me sound a lot cooler than I actually am.

mingmong - 27 Mar 2020 09:56:58 (#6 of 55)

That sounds credible, Berman. Though my hopes are slightly higher for the Millenials. For a start, there are more of them. Generational bulges of this kind often led to moments of genuine social change. I think their time may have come.

I could never take my own age-group seriously as politicians. Most of them seem like self-satisfied chancers like Derek Draper, with the occasional owlish pious type like LOJ. Dominic Cummings (just a couple of months older than myself) is one of the few genuine ideologically-motivated paradigm-shifters in GenX, and its not a pretty sight.

mingmong - 27 Mar 2020 09:59:01 (#7 of 55)

Is that what you mean?

That's about it, Shadders. I'm thinking specifically of the UK context.

SharkPatoo - 27 Mar 2020 10:01:21 (#8 of 55)

These groups are all very arbitary, 1964 could easily make Bozo GenX.

mingmong - 27 Mar 2020 10:03:33 (#9 of 55)

Of course, SP. Its like star-signs - completely bogus, yet even the most hardened sceptics occasionally experience a glimmer of recognition

mingmong - 27 Mar 2020 10:08:03 (#10 of 55)

I see LOJ (b. 1984) is actually more within the millenial cohort.

Makes sense.

FrankieTeardrop - 27 Mar 2020 10:09:11 (#11 of 55)

I also wonder whether our perception of Gen X is very western-centric. I guess it is a largely American interpretation.

The difference being, in the US that generation's musical focus was the regressive "grunge" genre, whereas in the UK we had the futuristic acid house

mingmong - 27 Mar 2020 10:10:30 (#12 of 55)

futuristic acid house

Surely our generation's proudest achievement.

FrankieTeardrop - 27 Mar 2020 10:12:42 (#13 of 55)

Yes, it does swell the heart with patriotic pride somewhat, both in the immense cultural shift it caused, the fact it gave a huge platform to obscure experimental POC musicians from the US, and the way it took over the world... the UK's best gift to the planet since the Fab Four

Arjuna - 27 Mar 2020 10:13:05 (#14 of 55)

Generation X is usually defined as being born between 1965-80

So Billy Idol is not in Generation X

Arjuna - 27 Mar 2020 10:14:46 (#15 of 55)

Boris announcing all the bad news but Sunak delivers news on financial help, he will come out of this well.

Shadrack22 - 27 Mar 2020 10:17:13 (#16 of 55)

I'm thinking specifically of the UK context.

So for Labour, Cooper, Reeves and Creasy (just the first three whose birth dates I looked up) are all Generation X. I think all three are relatively early in their political careers and will achieve greater power.

Hunt and Gove are both Gen X.

Shadrack22 - 27 Mar 2020 10:17:58 (#17 of 55)

Or are you specifically looking for paradigm shift - who’s getting there?

mingmong - 27 Mar 2020 10:19:50 (#18 of 55)

That list pretty much sums it up, Shadders.

As for who's getting there: we know the answer to that. Its the Millenials. The best we can hope to be is benign elder statesmen: nodding wisely, claiming we agreed with them all along ('but the time wasn't right').

Its a step up from being bag-carriers for the Boomers.

xDiggy - 27 Mar 2020 10:21:46 (#19 of 55)

Macron (born 1977), Trudeau (born 1971), Ardern (born 1980), Rutte (Netherlands, 1977). Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia (born 1976)

It's not all Ed Miliband then.

TommyDGNR8 - 27 Mar 2020 10:26:36 (#20 of 55)

Birth patterns on the two sides of the Atlantic were very different post war. Britain had a quick spike then relative normality until the late 50s where the Americans had a much more sustained "boom". Our birth rate maxxed in 1966 - nearly a decade after the USA. If you apply the same rules as the Americans, then our "boomers" should include everyone born up to about 1974 and exclude anyone before about 1955.

Check Subscriptions
Home » UK News