Monday 16 June 2014

Right standing.

If you have the time, please take a listen to Generation Right (Radio 4, 8.00pm). 

I expected the worst (and said as much), but I'll now happily eat my words. This was an absolute pleasure to listen to from start to finish, fascinating and - especially gratifying - scrupulously fair too.

All credit then to the BBC's Declan Harvey [who I bashed the other day for an injudicious anti-UKIP tweet], Vicky Spratt and Lewis Goodall for making such a fabulous, unbiased programme. It can be done. 

Generation Right explored and gave voice to the political views of 'Generation Y' - i.e. today's under-30s - and to their supporters and critics. 

It found that they are, generally-speaking, right-wing on economic matters and liberal on social issues. They believe in individual freedom and personal responsibility, and are noticeably less starry-eyed about the NHS and the Welfare State, especially as regards benefits spending, than earlier generations. They aren't inclined to believe in left-wing concepts like redistribution either.

Polling evidence suggests that this rightward drift is general across the UK population but that Generation Y is leading the trend. 

We heard from many of these sensible young right-leaning people in the course of the programme. We also heard from one unhappy young Labour activist, standing out gamely against the right-turning tide. Plus we heard the Spectator's Fraser Nelson and Toby Young rejoicing in the good sense of Generation Y and (garlic at the ready!) Yasmin Alibhai-Brown moaning that they are "a frightfully spoiled generation" (and, deliciously, being confronted with a couple of young women who didn't reckon much to her whinging about them!). Could we ask for anything more from the BBC?

Now, it's very clear that this right-wing trend among young people doesn't mean that they are automatically going to be Conservative voters. Their mix of views is not being bet by any of the main parties, and the Conservatives remain more unfashionable than Labour - even after Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. Still, the programme argued, the message of Generation Right is a far more worrying one for the British Left than for the British Right. [UKIP, take note!]

Despite the exemplary mix of opinions on Generation Right and the admirably unbiased presentation of the programme's findings by its presenter and producers, the left-wing part of the Twittersphere are going mad tonight about its findings. They are not happy and some are reaching for the pills.

Well, to quote a voice from Generation X, 'Ha, ha!'

Update: A right-wing Generation Y-er responds to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown here.

Further Update: For a very different take on his programme please read Kenneth at Biased BBC.

He says this programme "oozed with alarm and worry" over the findings and was far from impartial. He claims Generation Right promoted the idea that Generation Y are self-centred and that the BBC used the programme to say that Generation Y's rightwards leanings are a bad thing. 

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