In the week when a 15-year-old boy, Munish Chopra, brought back memories of the teenage William Hague with his entreaty to the Tory conference to rejuvenate itself and sweep back to power, a missive from the Tunbridge Wells Equitable landed on my desk. A survey of 16 to 19-year-olds had revealed, apparently, that 26 per cent would use a hypothetical windfall of pounds 4,500 to boost their savings accounts, while 11 per cent would put the money towards their further education.
"I am sure if we compared this with youngsters 20 years ago the results would have been very different," enthused David White, head of sales and marketing at the friendly society. Well that goes without saying - 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years ago - otherwise we'd have had such classic tales of youthful angst as Cause Without a Rebel, The Mild One and I Was a Teenage Tessa Holder. There'd have been no demand for protest music, Cliff Richard would have been viewed as a dangerous subversive and Jack Kerouac would have stayed indoors and written On the Sofa.
Now I'm not criticising the Tunbridge Wells Equitable, which has its with-profit Baby Bonds to promote, and I have to say that Bob Dylan's The Windfall is Blowin' in the Wind is a great song - as is Inflation Fighting Man by the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols' P.A.Y.E in the UK. But surely the permissive society has gone too far when our young generation is a Conservative party conference waiting to happen.