My book What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us? seems to have divided commentators strictly along age lines.
People of my age – the baby boomers, the children of the sixties – feel I’ve betrayed my own comrades for a mess of pottage. The Guardian’s Catherine Bennett asks pointedly: "Will his personal contribution be enough to stop a future young carer lashing him to a commode or similar?" Have I given myself an unfair advantage in my old age by crawling in advance to those who will look after me? That wasn’t the intention. And I promise to behave gallantly should I see anyone lashing Ms Bennett to a commode.
Bryn Jones and Mike O’Donnell retort that sixties radicals “joined and energised the radical labour movement campaigns to defend and advance the welfare state during the 70s and 80s.” But they didn’t. They brought their sixties student politics into the unions in those two decades, and it was their intolerance, sectarianism and self-righteousness that brought the unions to their knees by the mid 1980s.
On the other side, the much more youthful Laurie Penny at the New Statesman shook with indignation as she read the book. It "lays out an incisive case for how my parents’ generation squandered the good times and betrayed the courage of the Attlee settlement" she writes. And the Evening Standard's Rosamund Irwun - nearer in age to Ms Penny than to Ms Bennett - says: "Another boomer has belatedly woken up to the problems they have left us — Francis Beckett in his brilliant new book, What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do for Us?"
None of them, however, give me credit for explaining just why the sixties generation failed. It was to do with schools in the late 1950s and early 1960s – a point upon which I shall expand soon in the Times Educational Supplement.
Look out for further comment by Francis on his website.
What did the babyboomers ever do for us? is available from Biteback, priced £12.99.