Friday, 20 January 2012

Why I Hate The Sixties

A guest post from Edward Spalton.

I rather share this jaundiced view of the Sixties- a trashy decade. It was a time of full employment yet I can remember Roy Jenkins praising the contribution which the "voluntary unemployed" were making to society!

Editor's contribution: Now that I have the magical talent of hindsight,ably expanded by age, the 60s was a time when the population started consumerism training, ably encouraged by politicians.Those same politicians were responsible for destroying our heritage. Dundee is a good example of zealous 60s town councillors whose poor judgement contributed to the loss of much of the city centre, in which today the 'outstanding' feature is the north egress and access to a road bridge over the Tay

In the next few years the V & A will be built within yards of the roadbridge. At last Dundee will have a positive claim to fame.


Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The 60s was the 'party' after years of restriction.

Nothing more nor less than that, and the establishments problem was they failed to tap into the potentials it offered for real social change.

By real, I mean the change as effected by the mass of society, not the glitz as portrayed by the London circus.

To apply the 60s so called culture as a retrospective cause leading to where we are today is effectively blaming a toy poodle for not being capable of pulling the cart designed for a horse.

Charles Crane said...

Loved it meself! I left school and got my firstjob in 1968 having enjoyed some excellent sixth form years playing electric blues in several bands all called "Blues Merchants" - yeah, so you never heard of them but it was fun.

Difference was in those days that people had responsibilities not just rights and, in general, respected their elders even of they disagreed with them.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll? Not much of the first, very little of the second and lots of the third.

It was the seventies that were really crap in my experience.

RMcGeddon said...

It's strange hearing people like Peter Oborne wax lyrical about the 60's considering he would have been about 8 at the height of the 60's.
And that they use background music from 1975 ( 10cc - Art for Arts sake).
You would think the BBC would have got folk from the 60's and used more 60's music to make it more authentic. Oh hang on....they must stick to their ideological agenda.

JRB said...

Sorry Edward,

Was there – did all that – got the T-shirts

… and as a hedonistic, self centred , self indulgent teenager, believe me, it was – Fab!

Elby the Beserk said...

Fab music, and this teenager (from 1964) LOVED the Sixties!

Joe Public said...

If you hated the sixties, what's your opinion of the past decade then?

OK standards of living have improved, but it sure as heck wasn't as much fun.

subrosa said...

The hype about the 60s is over-rated, or was for a Scottish teenager living in the borders. As Charles says the music was superb though and I doubt it will ever be beaten. 70s music was dreadful and so was the 80s.

Mind you, I bought my first car in 1964 at 18, after saving like mad. That's my lasting memory my jalopy and the music.

Gedguy said...

I still remember the old Arch and walking under it to pass the docks to get to the swimming baths. It wasn't the 60s which caused the destruction of Dundee but the Labour administration under Tam Moore, who, as it just happens had a demolition company. That is the main reason we lost the auld toon; Labour corruption. That is why I will never vote for Labour. Even 'World in action' did a programme about him and the utter corruption in Dundee.

Demetrius said...

In the 1960's we had BBC, ITV and main media all solidly London based. Their vision of the 1960's applied to a minority lot in that area with some off shoots in urban area. Around the rest of the country where there was work to do, qualifications to get and an increasingly uncertain future it was'nt quite like that. But then I recall London in the 1950's and a lot of the fun then was much the same as for those in the 1960's. Before then I recall that many servicemen etc. had an equivalent fun time in the 1940's. As for the 1930's..........

Brian said...

1968 was the best year: the only year since the end onf WW2 that not a single British serviceman was kiled on active service anywhere in the world. Thank goodness Harold Wilson kept us out of Vietnam.
I started infants school in 1969 but as far as I can recall my sixties years were pretty good - great toy shops!

Nikostratos said...


little point expecting a load of right wing whiners who believe the world went all wrong due to the 1960s.

I mean their favorite era is and always will be the 1930s (and franco in power) where the plebs new there place.

subrosa said...

I only used to go back to see my 'best' pal and was horrified to see the mess Gedguy, Never knew about Tam Moore, but I do now.

subrosa said...

That's right Demetrius. Everything seemed to be about London and if you didn't live there you were 'square'. When I did work there late in the 60s the place didn't come up to my expectations.

subrosa said...

Jings Brian, you're but a youth still!!

subrosa said...

I can't see a load of right wingers Niko and I've just bought new specs. They cost me a fortune too.

RMcGeddon said...

Ged . I remember all the stories about Labour corruption in Dundee. I think Tom Moore got his conviction quashed in 1980 so didn't do his 5 year sentence. I seem to remember he died of a heart attack about 10 years ago.

Gedguy said...


"Thank goodness Harold Wilson kept us out of Vietnam"

Wilson and his corrupt government kept the UK out of Vietnam because it was riddled with KGB informants which led to the coup d'tat in the UK in 1973. When KGB papers were released by the Russians, I suspect that there are more waiting patiently in the background for when the Russians get pissed off with the UK again, it named the leader of the TUC, Jack Jones, as a paid KGB informant. Wilson and his cronies ran this country (UK) into the ground. The mass strikes, ending in the 3-day week, TV cut off at 10pm, dead bodies unburied etc.. I have no love for that man nor for the Labour administration of that period. Every time Labour left office they have left this country in an absolute mess. Say what you like about the Tories, and there is a lot to say about them, but, at the very least, they have tried to sort out every Labour legacy that has/is ruining this country.


I'm sure that the decent people in the Labour party will not miss him.

Brian said...

@Gedguy, Agreed that the KGB had many fellow travellers and useful idiots throughout British society. I'm glad you don't dispute the essential wisdom of not getting involved in a land war in Asia.
As for who was running the country into the ground, all sides share the blame, the Establishment for its defeatist managed decline - Super Mac's Greeks to America as Rome, managers in industry taking the easy way, eg delegating recruitment to trade unions in the car industry - as happened in Coventry. Read Barnett and Kynaton and see how Britain squandered its chances after WW2.
And here's the uncomfortable truth: the start of the Troubles were assisted by the CIA as a punishment for the UK not going to war in Vietnam. The Yanks feared that their unsinkable aircraft carrier USS Britain might follow France's semi-detachment from NATO and so started a small fire in our back garden to make us realise how alone we could be without them.
I don't blame the Yanks because they were only pursuing their national interests - don't ever believe countries can be friends, only individuals can.

Gedguy said...


I concur with everything that you have said. I will also add that I think the CIA were instrumental in UK's coup d'tat and had the Earl Mountbatten, a cousin of the Queen, get the top military brass to put their tanks on the street in the guise of an anti-terrorist exercise. I believe that the USSR as it was known then bided their time and paid the IRA to blow him up in his boat. I think this is why the establishment in Britain can't stand the Russians; they don't like their members of the Royal family getting blown up. This would back up your assertion that the CIA was lighting these little fires to counter the work that the KGB had done in the UK.
As to the managers being just as useless as the unions I think it delves just a little more deeper than that. After the war, when the rest of Europe was recovering from the devastation and France was withdrawing from its empire [remember that Vietnam was a part of the French empire known as French Indo-China] Britain was still desperately trying to hold on to its empire. So, the money that should have been invested in bringing our industries and cities up to scratch was, instead, used to try and stop the spread of communism in the old empire. As mentioned earlier, it was 1968 that there hadn't been a military death due to action. We were, and still are, fighting all over the world. I believe the managers, well the top ones anyway, knew this to be the case and knew that they were on a hiding to nothing.

Brian said...

@Gedguy, France withdrawing from its Empire? Not if you include Morocco, Tunisia Algeria and the African colonies. And Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were only given up after the French lost tens of thousands killed. Britain got rid of India in 1947 - was Atlee a closet commie and began the process of decolonisation. I agree with your statement on strategic overstretch: wasn't the move back East of Suez a good thing, albeit a Labour idea?

Gedguy said...

Yes France did withdraw from all of those countries. France also lost thousands trying to hold on to north Africa for as long as possible.
Britain has also, withdrawn in a fashion, but kept tiny places, that they can bully/control as strategic bases and formed a pseudo empire called the Commonwealth. The USA didn't mind that as it suited them, that the old colonial empires spent their last on trying to keep their empires, which also had the benefit of keeping the Communists at bay. The USA couldn't, or to be more precise, the American voters wouldn't have their troops defending what they saw as old European empires. France had pulled out of its empire sooner than the UK did and forged ahead with re-industrialising itself. West Germany, which was bombed to pieces by the Americans, with a little help off the British, poured hundreds of Millions into Germany [the equivalent today would be billions] so the Germans, who never had an empire of note, had all brand new machinery and factories.

Brian said...


Thank you very much for a very stimulating and enjoyable debate. We'll have to agree to disagree on many points, eg the German Empire was snaffled after WWI by the Allied powers and the French stayed on meddling in sub-Saharan Africa. And then there's Marshall Aid of which Britain got a third more than West Germany and wasted it on current expenditure instead of investment:

Gedguy said...


If you were equating the German empire Austria-Hungry empire, which was quite large, then I would agree with you. The Germans did have colonies in Africa which they lost after WWI.
The current expenditure, that you speak of, was the expenditure on the armed forces in trying to keep hold of the Empire or, at least, its descendant. I agree with you about the Marshall plan but that money was not used in investment. What the UK should have done was to rebuild the manufacturing base as it was that which allowed the building, and maintaining, of the empire.
Anyway, I am sure that we disagree on the smaller points but, I suspect, we tend to agree on the broader picture. Hopefully.

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