Editor’s comment: June 2018

“Hello, Millennials. You’re a bunch of humourless Roundheads.”

“Hello, Millennials. You’re a bunch of humourless Roundheads.” - Credit: Archant

“They are the Roundheaded turnip-eaters of our times...bringing much of this generational teasing upon themselves,” This month, Cotswold Life editor Mike Lowe turns his attention to Millennials

We Baby Boomers are being admonished for being beastly to those poor Millennials. Apparently it’s our fault that they can’t afford to buy a house, are going to be shackled by the appalling constraints of Brexit and are saddled with massive student debts (which very, very few of them will ever have to pay off anyway).

It’s true that my generation enjoyed what many would regard as the Best of Times. Free education, free healthcare from a well-funded NHS, the freedom to travel wherever we wanted, before returning home to a well-paid career and an affordable semi-detached which then doubled in value every year. We also had Raleigh Choppers, David Bowie, Concorde, Saturday Night Fever, The Clangers, Tupperware, Tiswas, Wagon Wheels, The Magic Roundabout and George Best.

But you have to say that Millennials bring much of this generational teasing upon themselves. They are, without doubt, the most humourless, boring, bland, unexciting mob since Cromwell’s regime. They are the Roundheaded turnip-eaters of our times. They try to shut down debate in universities, the very places where differing opinions should be heard. They try to dictate what we read and what we watch. They find Shakespearean tragedies and strong drink a bit scary. They moan constantly about house prices, commuting, cycle lanes, Katie Hopkins and the cost of a Costa coffee. And they take offence at anything, all the time, running crying to their Safe Spaces if someone dares to venture a slightly challenging opinion.

Now these fragile snowflakes have decided that interacting with raw food is also a challenge too far, resulting in Sainsbury’s introducing something called ‘no-touch chicken’ – pouches of poultry that the squeamish can squeeze directly into the pan. A supermarket suit claims that “Younger customers are quite scared of touching raw meat. These bags allow people, especially those who are time-poor, to just ‘rip and tip’ the meat straight into the frying pan without touching it.” Reference was also made to one woman who was that frightened of bacteria that she “sprayed her chicken with Dettol first before cooking it”. Hmm, tasty.

Part of the problem seems to be that Millennials eat out so often that they’re not used to preparing food in their own homes. (That’s the Millennials who have no money, remember.) There is a simple answer to this – make sure that every child is taught to cook at school. Home Economics, I think they used to call it. (I’ve no idea what the curriculum consisted of because we male pupils were whisked away to do metalwork or something a bit more manly instead.)

We already know that we’re going to face difficulties in the food supply chain in the not-so-distant future. If our farmers are going to continue to struggle to produce the basics we need, the very least the younger generation can do is learn how to cook them.

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It is only fair that if I am going to pillory the younger generations, I also should admit to our own past failings. Which brings us back to the problem of plastic, as covered in this magazine last month. At some point during the late Seventies, it suddenly became fashionable for young women to carry a bottle of mineral around with them wherever they went. It is a fad that continues to this day.

(Personally, I blame Olivia Newton-John in her headband and leg warmers for churning out those fitness videos.)

Now it’s no secret that the British climate is less than tropical. A typical summer’s day is likely to be wet and a bit chilly, so you are unlikely to drop dead from dehydration on the walk from the car park to the office. So why the need to cart water bottles around as if you were on a mission with the Desert Rats?

It never happened in my day. We’d play football in the street for hours without needing a liquid top-up. And if we did get thirsty, we’d just drink from a puddle.

For more of Mike’s musings, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor