Today, the Daily Mail has an excellent breakdown of what a young person will see when she receives her first tax breakdown next year. If the young person does as the Daily Mail hopes she will, she’ll sit down and work through what she’s happy to pay for and what she’s not.
But her reaction might surprise the Daily Mail and will have negative consequences for the Daily Mail’s readership.
Young people tend to support many of the benefits the Daily Mail unceasingly attacks, and she may well be happy to cover them herself. But she’s very likely to ask why am I paying for the following benefits: health, old age and sickness?
Between them, they cover £2,139 of her total tax bill of £5,418, and all of them are going to old people, a demographic matching that of Daily Mail readers!
Daily Mail readers will reply, but these are benefits we’ve earned.
“No you haven’t,” replies the young person, adding:
“When you were my age you had state subsidised house ownership with mortgage tax relief for most of your life, you had state subsidised free university education, you had enormous state benefits for paying into your pension over your lifetime, and your savings were protected because you had proper national insurance with unemployment benefit and disability living allowance if you got sick.
“I will have none of these benefits because of your newspaper’s campaigns. I’m afraid it’s too expensive for me to continue to support Daily Mail readers. After I’ve cut their state benefits, I’ll cut my tax bill by 40 percent and that will go a long way to paying off my student loans and buying a house.
“Sorry Grandma, sell your house, spend your pension, and if you then need income support we’ll have a think about it. And stop wasting your money on an expensive paper and go get job experience at Tesco’s.”
This complete collapse in solidarity between generations may seem unlikely but it’s something even David Willets has been warning us about. While in this parliament the biggest winners have been the old, they should not be certain this is permanent.
• Express owner: ‘Mail is Britain’s worst enemy’ 12 Jan 2012
After the coalition’s tearing up of our compact with young people how long will the young tolerate the largest portion of government spending being given to the old? And when young people’s patience disappears, Daily Mail readers won’t escape the logic of their newspaper’s values.