Seven years ago, a new set of contour lines emerged in our understanding of inequality in Britain. The publication of The Pinch by David Willetts has shaped the way we map, measure and articulate inequality: not just in terms of the gap between the rich and the poor, but in terms of the divide between the young and the old. Lord Willetts’ arguments have since become well rehearsed. The baby boomer generation have collectively done much better financially than the generations that came before them. They will have drawn more out of the welfare state than they paid in as a generation; have done exceedingly well out of accelerating house-price growth; and can look forward to a comfortable retirement on generous defined-benefit pensions. But this has come at the expense of the younger generation, which finds itself struggling to even get on the housing ladder, and financially propping up both the welfare state and pensions schemes that the older generation are drawing down on. If … [Read more...] about The Guardian view on generational inequality: a country fit for all ages
Baldness at young age
Giorgio da Castelfranco, otherwise known as Giorgione, is by general consent the most shadowy figure in the history of art. More is known about his death in Venice in the autumn of 1510 than his peculiarly elusive life. Nobody knows when he was born, when he left his native Castelfranco for Venice, whether it is true, as claimed, that he was a great musician and lover, only that he died of the plague in his early 30s. There is so little evidence of his brief passage through life, in fact, that some historians have wondered if he even existed. Yet this short-lived and nearly mythical figure had such a colossal influence over Italian art – his name translates as the great George – that the early works of Titian, no less, would not look as they do without him. He is the poet of living minds and palpable thoughts, of inner dramas and outer beauty, of enigmatic figures in landscapes where the sun’s dying rays glimmer gold above distant blue towns, all painted with … [Read more...] about In the Age of Giorgione review: in pursuit of an elusive genius
On a Wednesday night at a student hall of residence in southern Paris, residents were surprised to find a group of people in matching grey T-shirts knocking on bedroom doors to ask them earnestly what was wrong with France. “Can you name something that works in France today?” asked one of the door-knockers. A 19-year-old studying human resources scratched her head and said she couldn’t think of anything. “OK, what doesn’t work in France?” came the next question. That was easier to answer. “Unemployment and having no hope of ever finding job that matches my qualifications,” said the student, who said she came from a poor suburb of Toulouse plagued with discrimination. Her answer was diligently noted down. It was a typical evening’s work for the volunteer members of France’s newest political movement, En Marche! — or Forward! — set up by the iconoclastic young economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, as a launchpad for a … [Read more...] about Will France’s young economy minister – with a volunteer army – launch presidential bid?
My generation’s coming of age has coincided with coalition and Conservative governments. Austerity, which has shaped our formative years (I’m now 22), was framed as a fiscal necessity. But the severe cuts to government spending made an impact on healthcare, youth services, education and many other public services. These aren’t just abstract spending cuts – they are viscerally felt on the ground. In Camden, the London borough where I attended school, the council’s budget has been reduced by £169m since 2010. It was highly noticeable while growing up. But austerity wasn’t a blanket policy that affected everyone equally. Research has shown that the “northern powerhouse”, more a notion than a set of policies, has been severely undermined by austerity. Also, low-income women from black and Asian backgrounds are disproportionately bearing the brunt of austerity. The recent frenzy among friends my age to open help-to-buy ISAs before the … [Read more...] about I grew up with austerity. At least Labour offers change
An unknown British actor beat the likes of Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy to win a Tony Award last night - despite being rejected from UK drama schools. Alex Sharp, 26, took home the Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his role as as a gifted mathematician with Asperger's syndrome, in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. Beating fellow nominees including Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy, he has made a name for himself in Hollywood almost overnight. As in awe of the achievement as the rest of the world, Alex tweeted after: "Holy f*** I just won a Tony." "Oh my God, this is so crazy," he also said in his acceptance speech. "Oh jeez. This time last year I picked up my diploma, graduating from Juilliard, so to be holding this is insane." He later thanked producers for "taking a chance on a blank resumé". The actor added: "This play is about a young person who is different and who is misunderstood and I just want to dedicate this to any young person out there … [Read more...] about ‘Holy f*** I just won a Tony’: Meet unknown Brit who beat Bradley Cooper to top spot