Knowing your age….

Now when was I born...

I was having lunch today when someone at the next table started using his mobile to ‘phone an Internet company.  He was quite loud, so it was difficult to ignore what he was saying.  (I am usually so engrossed in what I am reading that I usually find it quite easy to ignore noise around me.)   He was booking some service and had to provide personal details.  He was a student as he gave some student accommodation as his address.  I wasn’t paying much attention until he came to the next part.  ‘Date of birth?  1992.’   Oh dear.  Perhaps I should invest in ear plugs.

Some readers won’ t understand the point of this post.  Some readers of a certain age will know exactly what I am getting at.   I became a professor several years before he was even born.  This autumn we will be getting applications for university entry from people born in 1994….   Or, put another way, people who will have no recollection of John Major’s, let alone Margaret Thatcher’s, premiership.  And how long before we have a generation that has no recollection of Tony Blair?

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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12 Responses to Knowing your age….

  1. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,

    It is hard to believe what that feels like until on has lived it. Of course it is all relative, in this post Einstein era. The other day I attended a writers group made up of people who began with the youthful newcomers in their seventies and proceeded on to a well dressed, articulate gentleman of clear eye and steady voice who read aloud a chapter of the memoir he was writing. I am not attempting humour when I say that it was my impression that everyone who could remember the things he related was on one of the short lists of people kept in line of succession for oldest living human. While I am younger than your Lordship I had done a whole lot of living by 1990 and seldom feel very young — but for an hour or so I believe I may have felt that way.

  2. Jonathan says:

    At least you were born towards the start of your decade! I was born in the 70s, which makes me sound much older than I am (and I only left university 5 years ago!) It’s going to seem worse still when the new entrants were born in the 21st century!

  3. Edward Brunsdon says:

    ** how long before we have a generation that has no recollection of Tony Blair? **

    I’m not sure that would be such a bad thing

  4. macarthursmutterings says:

    Tony who?

  5. Chris K says:

    Not sure this will help you, Lord Norton!

    I remember accompanying my parents to the polling station in 1997. I was encouraging them to vote for him (obviously not quite understanding the subtleties of Parliamentary democracy) because he had a nice smile.

    I have very few memories from before 1997. But then I was a bit slow off the mark: in addition to my admiration of Blair I was also one of the last in my class to be able to spell my own name.

    I remember my parents going on holiday to Hong Kong just before they stopped automatically giving out 1 year work stamps to British passport-holders, and my dad coming back saying he would have stayed there if he’d known.

    Other vague memories include Diana dying, the Royal Yacht Britannia being scrapped, and hearing the words “Euro” and “Europe” on the news a lot.

    I also remember being in the car with my dad and listening to the wireless about ‘peers’ and ‘abolition’ and my dad explaining to me, gloomily, that eventually there would be no more ‘barons’ left.

    Not a particularly cheery decade. Those born after 2000 haven’t missed a thing.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Chris K: ‘I was encouraging them to vote for him’ – clearly the equivalent of Chris Mullin’s ‘The Man’.

      Even if the House of Lords were to be abolished, and much of civilisation as we know it brought to an end, titles would not be affected, so barons would still exist.

      Oh dear, I think I should avoid mentioning the first general election I can remember…

      • Frank W. Summers III says:

        Lord Norton,
        I first became interested in long discussions of politics not involving my family because my great-grandmother and I had a deal where she watched her soap operas while I did my homework at her house before I watched television as she worked and then my parents picked me up before or after the news after I got off the school bus at her house. I already new lots about politics from birth compared to many but I watched old b&w westerns on television between her soaps and the news on most days. However, this was usurped by coverage of the Watergate hearings. After disappointment subsided, I began to watch the Congressional hearings at least part of each day. My father and paternal grandfather were then both public officials and there were other poltical association in the family, but I remember thinking that this was a whole new world.

      • Chris K says:

        Lord Norton: I think he meant that the titles would all die out eventually (with no new being created), or possibly he meant that they wouldn’t be part of our legislature. Again, I wasn’t really sure at the time!

        If it makes you feel better, according to wikipedia my dad is older than you. He never even achieved his majority because the age was lowered while he was between 18 and 21.

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