Everything bad in the world today is the fault of the 1960s

The root of all evil can be traced back to that degenerate generation


In a closing-time interview, the departing Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has joined the ranks of a mighty throng of politicians and commentators, past and present. Like Tony Blair, Mary Whitehouse, Margaret Thatcher and virtually every Daily Mail columnist from Lynda Lee-Potter to Melanie Phillips, he has identified a contemporary problem and has placed the blame squarely where it belongs – on the 1960s.

It was in those years, says Lord Sacks, that the institution of marriage went into decline. “We were there in that revolution and at the time it seemed to be ‘all you need is love’ and nothing else.” The result 50 years later is “an entirely new kind of child poverty that has a lot to do with single-parent families.”

The charge list against the Sixties is getting longer. It was then, we have been told, that Britain became sexually incontinent, too  relaxed about drugs, undisciplined, lazy and shiftless, over-dependant on welfare, disrespectful of authority, politically alienated, hopeless at bringing up children, and so on.

For any major thinker in need of an easy, Sixties-related answer to questions about today’s social ills, here are a few more 21st-century disasters which can be safely blamed on the forever-young generation.

The obesity time bomb

It all seemed so innocent at the time. The decade opened with a popular TV series about the self-confessed “fat owl of the Remove”, Billy Bunter. Soon it became “groovy” to be overweight. The novelist Kingsley Amis wrote One Fat Englishman. Records by Chubby Checker and Fats Domino were all the rage. A man-mountain called Demis Roussos appeared on Top of the Pops. By the close of the decade, the time bomb was ticking.


“All we need is a great big melting pot,” sang the group Blue Mink, offering what they called “a recipe for a get-along scene”. It was a typically thoughtless message from the I-can’t-get-no-satisfaction generation. Dog owners across the country decided to create their own melting pot, mindlessly experimenting with the interbreeding of exotic generations and setting up problems of canine welfare for the early 21st century.

Loss of national identity Apologists for the twist-and-shout generation like to blame Edward Heath for the adulteration of our culture caused by our joining the Common Market in 1973. In fact, the process started six years earlier with the victory of bare-footed chanteuse Sandie Shaw with “Puppet on a String” in the Eurovision Song Contest, and the obsession with all things continental was accelerated by another triumph by the deceptively innocent “Boom Bang-a-Bang” two years later. After that, the rush towards Europe was irreversible.

The booze culture.

When Sean Connery asked for a Martini in the first James Bond film, Dr No, he unleashed a national weakness for liquor which over the years has deepened into a crisis. For a while, drinking was just another way in which the hippy-hippy-shake generation could “do its thing” but, as was often the often with the Sixties, what first appeared to be harmless fun soon developed into a dangerous addiction.

Fifty Shades of Grey

When did sex become complicated, an activity which involves equipment, unpleasant language and “safe words”? You hardly need to ask. As soon as Diana Rigg appeared as the beautiful, leather-clad enforcer of The Avengers, millions of vulnerable young people developed an interest in sado-masochistic practices which had previously only been enjoyed by a small number of public schoolboys.

All you need is love?

In 2013, we recognise the dangerous naivety of that ridiculous claim but, tragically for their children and grandchildren, those hippy idiots 50 years ago were too busy letting it all hang out to pay attention to the consequences. What a tragedy it was that laudable values of the Fifties were swept aside by the hedonism  of the I-feel-fine generation.

Funny, yes, but scarcely daring, surely?

It is the time of the year when great claims are being made for daring and subversive comedy acts on radio, TV and on the stand-up circuit. Zany new satirical quiz shows are being promoted. The Edinburgh Fringe has announced its award winners.

More often than not, though, the comedy on offer is playing to its audiences’ comfortably liberal views. On Rory Bremner’s latest show The One Question Quiz, there was a running joke about the awfulness of bankers, and how they deserved to die. In a press interview, Bremner boldly attacked Tony Blair’s role in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, on the Fringe, the big prizes have gone to female comedians who have taken a feminist line – laughing at the everyday misogyny of sports commentators, for example. It is quite a breakthrough in stand-up, apparently.

The mockery is in the right direction, of course, and it makes those laughing along feel good about themselves and their attitudes. But is it really so brave?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Lib Dem MPs have criticised David Cameron's decision to ask the retail tycoon Sir Philip Green (above) to lead a spending review when his Arcadia company is registered in the name of his Monaco-based wife  

So, the people who always support the Tories... are supporting the Tories? Has the world gone mad?

Mark Steel
Crofter's cottages on Lewis. The island's low population density makes it a good candidate for a spaceport (Alamy)  

My Scottish awakening, helped by horizontal sleet

Simon Kelner
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat