Sandra Chapman: Young generation’s behaviour in lockdown shows they are law onto themselves

I came to the conclusion this week that the current young generation are simply a law unto themselves and care little or nothing for rules and regulations.

The small Helen's Bay station is usually unmanned
The small Helen's Bay station is usually unmanned

How else can we explain away their behaviour during this current lockdown which has taxed the patience of most of us?

We all have stories to tell of their behaviour over recent weekends at various beaches and beauty spots.

The older generation have been practising social distancing, the younger ones either hadn’t heard of it or simply didn’t want to know.

William Hague

This week I watched, mouth opened, dozens of them, bottles in hand, lined up on the railings of a beach, not a bottle’s width between them, waiting no doubt for the families to leave the beach so they could start partying on what was a glorious summer night of weather. It was left to the locals next day to clean up the mess they left behind. Only the intervention of the police prevented the same happening the next night.

On that first night, a gang of them vaulted a wall to climb into a nearby children’s play area, despite it being locked up and an official Do Not Enter sign on the gate. They left when told off by locals.

With many of us worrying about what the world might be like when the current young generation inherit the reins of power, this week former Foreign Secretary and Tory leader William Hague thinks the young must be saved from a miserable post co-Covid future. In his Daily Telegraph column he wrote: ‘Young people will be the prime victims of a looming catastrophe, their lives littered with abandoned careers, opportunities that evaporated and dreams that suddenly died’. He believes that, while the most tragic casualties of the pandemic are the older people, the generation ‘bearing the greatest burden of the side-effects will be the youngest’.

William Hague is a bit younger than me so perhaps he doesn’t understand what it was like for us in the 60s and early 70s when the economy hit the buffers as industries collapsed and politicians were almost as incompetent as some of today’s are. Working conditions were bordering on the primitive and wages were inadequate. Trade unions kept us on strike for weeks with no wages. In Northern Ireland, we had the added burden of dealing with terrorism which threatened the lives of all of us who had to work in the towns and cities each day.

Sandra Chapman column

Today’s young generation thankfully missed the worst of it and feel, perhaps, they are entitled to do as they please whatever politicians say. Naturally, we want our children to grow up confident knowing that hard work brings rewards. Yet, there are many amongst them believing they are answerable to no one. Entitlement is their mantra. Lockdown? Sorry, but that’s just for the oldies and who cares about them anyway?

In fact, a new report out actually decrees that older homeowners ‘are contributing to the housing crisis by staying put in large properties with 15m surplus bedrooms in total’. The report by Cass Business School and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation suggests this will rise to 20m unused bedrooms by 2040 if no action is taken. And what action, I might ask, is that supposed to be, given, that in another decade or so this current young generation will be in charge of the country and may feel this isn’t fair to them? What happens to the mantra that a person’s home is their palace even if it’s only a wooden hut?

The report suggests the best approach would be to waive stamp duty for “last time buyers” who are moving into a smaller retirement property and that councils should be ‘ordered’ to build more houses suitable for older people, a suggestion which went down like a lead balloon in this house. It smacks of official government interference in our lives and should be resisted. After all, if today’s young generation can totally ignore politicians, police and officialdom of all kind, as they appear to do now, couldn’t the older generation learn from that and defy the dictators who come knocking?