You may have noticed an advert on the BBC for a programme or a series about the influence that the 70s has on things today. It’s a fairly slick advert from a broadcaster who isn’t allowed to advertise but advertises itself with a fervour that makes DFS and the like look like complete amateurs and sloths.
It’s fairly slick because it derides the 70s laying blame for all the things which are happening now and which are just plain wrong. Debt, greed, societal issues, you name it the 70s are to blame. This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this type of derision for the 70’s. The other example I read was one which said that our political and financial problems are due to the men in charge who were products of the 70s. 70s ladies are pretty much all okay I presume?
My teenage years were in the 70s and I’d be the first to agree that there were factors in the 70s which may have indeed impacted negatively on my later years. There were platform shoes, mega wide trousers, long hair, discos, glam rock, cow boy boots and drain pipe jeans, The Sex Pistols, progressive rock, slash movies, single earring wearing, Dark Side of the moon, punk, post punk, strikes, strikes and more strikes and actual improvements in living standards generally.
The programme advert and the article suggested that this was the point that consumerism really took off. It may also have been the time that credit regulations were relaxed; hence people beginning to get stuff because they could pay it up. Things like cars for example and washing machines, gas fires and decent furniture and carpets.
We had electric storage heating installed in the 70s and within a short period of time we couldn’t afford to use it properly because the cost of electricity went through the roof. Double gazing was a few years away. We still had a coal fire though.
Maybe the sudden availability of credit did make us a bit more gungho than our parents had been. They tried to save but never really managed it. They weren’t keen on “tick” but it did help them kick start their lives a bit.
It seems pretty unfair to blame our woes on the 70s. Isn’t it really the case that, as is normal, some people went a bit “men’ul”? Could it be that perhaps politicians and those wonderful behind the scenes civil servants had a plan to increase demand on the back of credit easing? Could it be that politicians and their advisors tried a few wee experiments on how to keep the economy bubbling along very nicely, very nicely indeed.
Could it be that the deregulation of the City might have had an impact on all of this activity? Are the men, because it will only be men, who are now “in charge” driven and shaped by their 70s experiences which led them to take huge financial risks which have resulted in us all having to tighten our belts to the point of our eyes popping out?
I think the BBC may be doing their usual here. Point a finger at a general demographic and blame them for the sins of the times? Surely the lovable and cuddly Beeb wouldn’t do such a thing?
There is of course an echo going on here. It’s the Queens Diamond Jubilee this year and her Silver Jubilee was in the 70s. Maybe the BBC see a couple of nice bookends there and an opportunity to rake over some old gripes? Maybe they have a gap in their programming since climate change is going down the tubes as a nice topic to hit their viewers over the head with?
A further echo would be repeating a particular “Play for Today” which was aired back in good old 1978. “The Spongers”. It’s probably more relevant today than it was back then. It’s probably not politically correct and it may be racist and contain all manner of other stuff like smoking etc., which are unpalatable in current social settings.
The ending might also offend the easily offended and the “righteous” might have to complain although not as loudly as they do about Jeremy Clarkson who almost certainly spent his formative years in the 70s!