Don’t bash the baby-boomers – they have left us fit to face the future

You know the essentials. The older generation – the post-war baby-boomers – are among the most financially fortunate in our history. They did not fight in the war; they cannot exactly be called the generation of heroes; and yet they have been attended by every comfort of the welfare state. Their state pensions are triple-locked, and rising, and any other pensions they may have are immeasurably more generous than those on offer to the generation below.

Indeed, it is the fate of the current working population to pay for the older generation to have pensions on a scale that they will certainly not receive themselves. Today’s pensioners have been given free TV licences and free bus passes and winter fuel allowances.

Above all they have been able to afford their own homes – in a way that is proving all but impossible for those in their twenties and thirties. And to make it worse, it is at least partly the Nimbyism of the baby-boomers – their very great reluctance to have more homes built in their neighbourhoods, or spoiling their views of green spaces – that is making the housing crisis so much worse.

As David points out, they were perfectly happy to have loads of homes built for themselves – there were about 300,000 homes built every year during the Fifties and Sixties. Now they are pulling up the drawbridge, and organising themselves politically so that it is very difficult to get things moving on the scale required. Now we are building half that number – and at a time when the population is growing faster than ever, and when the demand is volcanic.

How can these oldies be so influential? They are powerful not just because they are so numerous, but because they vote, vote, vote. Woe betide the political party that tries to erode their privileges. The Liberal Democrats used to talk about means-testing the bus pass. Look what happened to them.

That, my friends, is the gist of the Willetts case – and that is the argument that he eloquently makes in his book The Pinch. I hesitate to disagree with him, or to take issue with the conclusions of just one of his brains; but I feel that someone needs to stick up for the baby-boomers, and their legacy.

It is not contemptible, first of all, for a society to treat its older generation well. That is a fine thing. And I am not sure that the legacy of the baby-boomers is really as poisonous as all that. Look at the Britain they have helped to create – a place that has been at peace for generations, and where everyone of every age has achieved a standard of living that was unimaginable 50 years ago.

"Thanks largely to the baby-boomers, we are living in the fastest-growing and most dynamic major economy in Europe"

Every family in the land has access to food of a daintiness and delicacy that the post-war generation could not have imagined. Virtually every child has access to electronic machines whose capacity for entertainment and education and self-affirmation is astonishing, and whose full social benefits we have yet to understand.

We have more young people going to university than ever before, we have more people in employment, we have more years of healthy life ahead of us – on average. And we in the UK – thanks very largely to the labours of the baby-boomers – are living in the fastest-growing and most dynamic major economy in Europe. Yes, we have all kinds of challenges, if we are to serve the younger generation properly. We must build more housing – and the forthcoming Government Housing Bill offers the way ahead, and we must make it work to deliver homes where they are needed most – above all in London, where the crisis is most acute.

We have to put in the transport infrastructure that young people will one day need: and as we grapple with HS2 we should look at what they are doing in Japan, with a Maglev train that is capable of travelling at more than 600 kmh (373 mph); and will link Tokyo and Osaka on a route that is 85 per cent in tunnel. Why aren’t we doing that in the Chilterns, and all the other areas that will be blighted by a 19th-century approach? We invented Maglev, for heaven’s sake. The Japanese plan makes us look antiquated.

All this investment – in housing and transport – will benefit the younger generation; all of it needs to go in the ground if we are to answer the challenge that Willetts has issued, and abate the intergenerational strife.

And there is one little thing we might do at once. Let’s get Back to the Future, and stop this ludicrous and nannying prohibition on the electric scooter-surfboard gizmos. They are the Segway-like things which the authorities have said young people may not use on the pavement.

Well, I have consulted Transport for London (Surface Transport) experts, and they think this hogwash. They are a new and potentially liberating form of personal mobility. We want to legalise them. If the oldsters can charge towards you on their terrifying chariots, the youngsters should be able to waft on their boards. It’s intergenerational fairness.

Boris Johnson knocks over ten year old Japanese schoolboy during game of rugby

With ball in hand Boris Johnson lines up a young opponent Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The young boy hit the ground after coliding with the mayor and was soon up and running again.

He said: "I felt a little bit of pain but it's OK", adding that it had been "enjoyable" meeting the mayor.

After they had picked themselves up, the mayor went over to Toki and asked if he was OK before shaking his hand.

"I'm so sorry," he said.

In a speech to the British and American chambers of commerce in Tokyo, Mr Johnson said: "We have just played a game of street rugby with a bunch of kids and I accidentally flattened a 10-year-old, on TV unfortunately.

"But, he bounced back, he put it behind him, the smile returned rapidly to his face.

"That is my theme tonight - the possibility that confidence can suddenly and unexpectedly return."

Boris Johnson barges into a young rugby player during a game in a Tokyo street Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The game comes as the country's prepares to host the next World Cup in 2019 and marks the end of Boris Johnson's three- day whistlestop trade mission to Japan.

Mr Johnson has been keen to highlight the benefits of staging major sporting events and told the Japanese the 2012 Games left the English capital a "sensational legacy".

He said: "We are both Olympic cities and I have no doubt that Tokyo is ideally placed to take our crown - currently unchallenged - as the city that staged the greatest ever Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Yesterday Mr Johnson said it was "totally unfair" that Japan was knocked out of the Ruby World Cup and the rules should be changed as a result.

Mr Johnson described the team as "heroic" and said it wasn't right that the team had won three matches in a row, but still failed to make it through to the quarter finals.

The boy crashes to the ground as Boris touches down for a try Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Asked if he backed a rule change in the game, Mr Johnson told the BBC: "I'd support that. It seems totally unfair that they should win three times in their pool group and not go through.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson shakes hands with 10-year-old Toki Sekiguchi after the mayor knocked him over during a Street Rugby tournament in Tokyo Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

"They are plainly heroes here and they deserve to be. They are fantastically - a fantastic, heroic performance."

He said the Japanese team had "won the hearts" of the British public with their "flair and sportsmanship".

Perhaps Mr Johnson could learn a little from the Japanese when it comes to improving his sportsmanship.

The London mayor has a bit of a track record when it comes to sporting fouls involving small children.

Exactly a year ago, Mr Johnson was forced to apologise after tripping up a small boy during a football match outside City Hall.

Boris Johnson knocks over ten year old Japanese schoolboy during game of rugby

With ball in hand Boris Johnson lines up a young opponent Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The young boy hit the ground after coliding with the mayor and was soon up and running again.

He said: "I felt a little bit of pain but it's OK", adding that it had been "enjoyable" meeting the mayor.

After they had picked themselves up, the mayor went over to Toki and asked if he was OK before shaking his hand.

"I'm so sorry," he said.

In a speech to the British and American chambers of commerce in Tokyo, Mr Johnson said: "We have just played a game of street rugby with a bunch of kids and I accidentally flattened a 10-year-old, on TV unfortunately.

"But, he bounced back, he put it behind him, the smile returned rapidly to his face.

"That is my theme tonight - the possibility that confidence can suddenly and unexpectedly return."

Boris Johnson barges into a young rugby player during a game in a Tokyo street Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The game comes as the country's prepares to host the next World Cup in 2019 and marks the end of Boris Johnson's three- day whistlestop trade mission to Japan.

Mr Johnson has been keen to highlight the benefits of staging major sporting events and told the Japanese the 2012 Games left the English capital a "sensational legacy".

He said: "We are both Olympic cities and I have no doubt that Tokyo is ideally placed to take our crown - currently unchallenged - as the city that staged the greatest ever Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Yesterday Mr Johnson said it was "totally unfair" that Japan was knocked out of the Ruby World Cup and the rules should be changed as a result.

Mr Johnson described the team as "heroic" and said it wasn't right that the team had won three matches in a row, but still failed to make it through to the quarter finals.

The boy crashes to the ground as Boris touches down for a try Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Asked if he backed a rule change in the game, Mr Johnson told the BBC: "I'd support that. It seems totally unfair that they should win three times in their pool group and not go through.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson shakes hands with 10-year-old Toki Sekiguchi after the mayor knocked him over during a Street Rugby tournament in Tokyo Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

"They are plainly heroes here and they deserve to be. They are fantastically - a fantastic, heroic performance."

He said the Japanese team had "won the hearts" of the British public with their "flair and sportsmanship".

Perhaps Mr Johnson could learn a little from the Japanese when it comes to improving his sportsmanship.

The London mayor has a bit of a track record when it comes to sporting fouls involving small children.

Exactly a year ago, Mr Johnson was forced to apologise after tripping up a small boy during a football match outside City Hall.

EU referendum: People backing Brexit are ‘quitters’ says ‘patriotic’ In campaign chief Stuart Rose

David Cameron's small business ambassador also bemoaned the lack of accountability in Brussels, claiming: "Things may or may not get done but we never know by whom", adding that the power rests instead with "the upper ranks of its bureaucrats", not Britain.

Mr Rose, who has also made critical remarks about the European Union, will tackle accusations that he was once a member of anti-EU group Business for Britain in his speech.

Should Britain stay in or get out of the EU? Polling since 1977
Polling Stay In Get Out
October 1977 53 47
May 1978 47 53
March 1979 35 65
March 1980 29 71
March 1981 36 64
March 1983 40 60
June 1984 51 49
September 1987 55 45
1989 67 33
November 1990 68 32
June 1991 70 30
December 1991 67 33
5-6 June 1992 60 40
10-13 June 1992 62 38
21-25 October 1993 54 46
11-30 April 1994 59 41
23-26 May 1996 53 47
27-29 November 1996 52 48
15 April 1997 50 50
25-28 April 1997 52 48
2-3 October 1997 54 46
13-14 November 1997 58 42
25-30 June 1998 54 46
21-24 May 1999 53 47
10-11 June 1999 53 47
13-14 October 1999 55 45
27-29 October 1999 48 52
22-27 June 2000 62 38
29-30 September 2000 48 52
24-25 November 2000 53 47
15-21 March 2001 48 52
30 April -1 May 2001 53 47
22-May-01 51 49
20-22 June 2003 54 46
20-22 September 2007 56 44
22-24 October 2011 46  54 
10-13 November 2012  48 52
10-12 May 2014 59 41
 11-14 October 2014 61 39
June 2015 61 27
Ipsos MORI

He will say: "Those of you who know me will know that I am not an uncritical fan of the European Union. Far from it. That’s why I signed a letter arranged by Business for Britain calling for reform of the EU.

Wanting reform, however, is not the same as wanting to leave."

Fellow In campaigner John Major has also been critical of the union in the past. He has said: "It will not be acceptable for the Eurozone to integrate further, and then use its bloc vote to impose its voluntary integration on unwilling non-Eurozone members.

"We are not prepared to accept “ever-closer” union: that has only one destination – and for us there is a limit."

Sir John Major

Mr Rose will claim it is "utter nonsense" that voters must choose between Britain and Europe and make a passionate patriotic case to remain in, adding that Europe brings £450 worth of benefits to UK households every year.

Mr Rose will say: "To claim that the patriotic course for Britain is to retreat, withdraw and become inward looking is to misunderstand who we are as a nation.

"In this ever changing and very uncertain world we need to engage with strength.

EU exit: what would it mean for my holiday home and trips abroad?
Prime Minister 'squandered' chance to tackle Brexit

“I will not allow anyone to tell me I’m any less British because I believe in the strongest possible Britain for business, for our security and our society.

“Those who want us to leave Europe would risk our prosperity, threaten our safety and diminish our influence in the world. We know our economy would take a hit, we just don’t know how bad it would be.

“The Quitters cannot say how our diminished status would impact on our relationship with the US or China or the Commonwealth countries. Leaving Europe is taking leap into the dark. It’s just not worth the risk.”

The speech comes as Nigel Farage, Ukip's leader and backer of the Leave.EU campaign, claimed his group "might just get" Boris Johnson on board.

The London Mayor has previously claimed he could "of course" envisage a circumstance in which he would vote to leave the EU, though he has yet to formally join either side.

The In campaign, backed by Tony Blair, will also announce a group of cross-party political champions including Chuka Umunna, Labour's former shadow business secretary, new Conservative MPs Flick Drummond and Ben Howlett and Liberal Democrat peer Jim Wallace.

They join Caroline Lucas of the Green party and Damien Green, a Conservative MP - who are both on the board of Britain Stronger in Europe.

The In campaign has won over a number of big names, including Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury, Peter Mandleson, Tony Blair's spin doctor, businessman Roland Rudd, June Sarpong a former TV presenter and Brendan Barber an ex-union boss.

June Sarpong: Women struggle balancing home and work life

Ms Brady, who is on the board of the pro-EU group, last night confirmed she has joined the In campaign but declined to comment on a column she wrote in 2009 for the Birmingham Mail in which she is highly critical of the EU.

At the time she wrote: "I would be lying if I said I am inspired by the thought of sending a fresh batch of MEPs to fatten themselves up on the fare offered in Brussels.

"Except when they surface at election time, they are about as answerable to us as a convocation of cardinals, distant, self-important, and all but ignored.

"We all know where the power of Europe resides - in the upper ranks of its bureaucrats."

Adding that Brits aren't interested in European elections, Ms Brady wrote: "It's true that Europe only features on the Brit radar when we go on holiday or the Germans beat us at football.

"This is a failure in communication and ought to be corrected if the pro-Europeans ever hope to convince us that we should be good members of their community.

"Of course, we never could be."

Yesterday Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former General Secretary of Nato, called on the UK to stay in the EU.

He said: "It would significantly weaken the European Union on the world stage if the UK were to leave the European Union so I really do hope that negotiations will lead to an outcome that can be accepted by the British people as well as the European Union."

EU referendum: People backing Brexit are ‘quitters’ says ‘patriotic’ In campaign chief Stuart Rose

David Cameron's small business ambassador also bemoaned the lack of accountability in Brussels, claiming: "Things may or may not get done but we never know by whom", adding that the power rests instead with "the upper ranks of its bureaucrats", not Britain.

Mr Rose, who has also made critical remarks about the European Union, will tackle accusations that he was once a member of anti-EU group Business for Britain in his speech.

Should Britain stay in or get out of the EU? Polling since 1977
Polling Stay In Get Out
October 1977 53 47
May 1978 47 53
March 1979 35 65
March 1980 29 71
March 1981 36 64
March 1983 40 60
June 1984 51 49
September 1987 55 45
1989 67 33
November 1990 68 32
June 1991 70 30
December 1991 67 33
5-6 June 1992 60 40
10-13 June 1992 62 38
21-25 October 1993 54 46
11-30 April 1994 59 41
23-26 May 1996 53 47
27-29 November 1996 52 48
15 April 1997 50 50
25-28 April 1997 52 48
2-3 October 1997 54 46
13-14 November 1997 58 42
25-30 June 1998 54 46
21-24 May 1999 53 47
10-11 June 1999 53 47
13-14 October 1999 55 45
27-29 October 1999 48 52
22-27 June 2000 62 38
29-30 September 2000 48 52
24-25 November 2000 53 47
15-21 March 2001 48 52
30 April -1 May 2001 53 47
22-May-01 51 49
20-22 June 2003 54 46
20-22 September 2007 56 44
22-24 October 2011 46  54 
10-13 November 2012  48 52
10-12 May 2014 59 41
 11-14 October 2014 61 39
June 2015 61 27
Ipsos MORI

He will say: "Those of you who know me will know that I am not an uncritical fan of the European Union. Far from it. That’s why I signed a letter arranged by Business for Britain calling for reform of the EU.

Wanting reform, however, is not the same as wanting to leave."

Fellow In campaigner John Major has also been critical of the union in the past. He has said: "It will not be acceptable for the Eurozone to integrate further, and then use its bloc vote to impose its voluntary integration on unwilling non-Eurozone members.

"We are not prepared to accept “ever-closer” union: that has only one destination – and for us there is a limit."

Sir John Major

Mr Rose will claim it is "utter nonsense" that voters must choose between Britain and Europe and make a passionate patriotic case to remain in, adding that Europe brings £450 worth of benefits to UK households every year.

Mr Rose will say: "To claim that the patriotic course for Britain is to retreat, withdraw and become inward looking is to misunderstand who we are as a nation.

"In this ever changing and very uncertain world we need to engage with strength.

EU exit: what would it mean for my holiday home and trips abroad?
Prime Minister 'squandered' chance to tackle Brexit

“I will not allow anyone to tell me I’m any less British because I believe in the strongest possible Britain for business, for our security and our society.

“Those who want us to leave Europe would risk our prosperity, threaten our safety and diminish our influence in the world. We know our economy would take a hit, we just don’t know how bad it would be.

“The Quitters cannot say how our diminished status would impact on our relationship with the US or China or the Commonwealth countries. Leaving Europe is taking leap into the dark. It’s just not worth the risk.”

The speech comes as Nigel Farage, Ukip's leader and backer of the Leave.EU campaign, claimed his group "might just get" Boris Johnson on board.

The London Mayor has previously claimed he could "of course" envisage a circumstance in which he would vote to leave the EU, though he has yet to formally join either side.

The In campaign, backed by Tony Blair, will also announce a group of cross-party political champions including Chuka Umunna, Labour's former shadow business secretary, new Conservative MPs Flick Drummond and Ben Howlett and Liberal Democrat peer Jim Wallace.

They join Caroline Lucas of the Green party and Damien Green, a Conservative MP - who are both on the board of Britain Stronger in Europe.

The In campaign has won over a number of big names, including Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury, Peter Mandleson, Tony Blair's spin doctor, businessman Roland Rudd, June Sarpong a former TV presenter and Brendan Barber an ex-union boss.

June Sarpong: Women struggle balancing home and work life

Ms Brady, who is on the board of the pro-EU group, last night confirmed she has joined the In campaign but declined to comment on a column she wrote in 2009 for the Birmingham Mail in which she is highly critical of the EU.

At the time she wrote: "I would be lying if I said I am inspired by the thought of sending a fresh batch of MEPs to fatten themselves up on the fare offered in Brussels.

"Except when they surface at election time, they are about as answerable to us as a convocation of cardinals, distant, self-important, and all but ignored.

"We all know where the power of Europe resides - in the upper ranks of its bureaucrats."

Adding that Brits aren't interested in European elections, Ms Brady wrote: "It's true that Europe only features on the Brit radar when we go on holiday or the Germans beat us at football.

"This is a failure in communication and ought to be corrected if the pro-Europeans ever hope to convince us that we should be good members of their community.

"Of course, we never could be."

Yesterday Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former General Secretary of Nato, called on the UK to stay in the EU.

He said: "It would significantly weaken the European Union on the world stage if the UK were to leave the European Union so I really do hope that negotiations will lead to an outcome that can be accepted by the British people as well as the European Union."

Labour directs its impotent fury at all but those responsible – itself

It is an odd thing to feel hated, especially if you are not quite sure why. I expect there are many readers who know the feeling – someone who inexplicably spreads awful rumours about you; someone who looks at you with unconcealed malevolence.

I once got a letter through my door saying, “I just want you to know how sickened I am to live in the same neighbourhood as you”, and I thought, “Duh: what have I done?” So I offer this article by way of reassurance to all you who have ever had the nasty feeling that someone somewhere has got it in for you. If you think someone hates you (and you genuinely think it’s unfair), then remember the golden rule of hatred. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Let me explain. One of the most extraordinary features of human psychology is our use of transference, or projection – in other words, managing our emotions with the help of symbols or fetishes or proxies.

Most MPs will be familiar with constituents who come to see them with some problem that seems to have become an obsession: a tree that was unfairly chopped down, a neighbour’s fence that takes too much land, or some other injustice. Often they will have folders or plastic bags stuffed full of letters. You, of course, try your best to help them, but as things drag on, you notice that they are really more interested in the process, the campaign, than the solution.

"When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst"

In fact, you soon realise that the issue that they have placed before you is really of much less importance than some other big problem in their lives – a bereavement, a divorce, or some other deep disappointment – and that feeling of anger and injustice is channelled and focused on this tree, or stretch of pavement, or whatever. Sometimes, in fact, you find that they don’t really want the problem to be “solved”. The hate-object has become a necessary psychological crutch, a part of their lives – the thing that helps divert them from the real and insoluble problem. And what is true of individuals is true of societies, too.

When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst. Anxiety is transferred to some readily identifiable group: Jews, foreigners, homosexuals, gypsies – the victims of this kind of prejudice have in some cases been suffering for centuries. Sometimes, barely credible powers are attributed to these groups, and they become a catch-all explanation for everything that has gone wrong in a society. Your kids can’t get a house? It’s the immigrants. Can’t get a job? It’s the immigrants. Can’t see a doctor in A&E? It’s the immigrants. Traffic on the M4? It’s the immigrants.

A Conservative conference attendee is egged by protesters

Of course, these problems have multiple causes – but people are only too willing to project their anger on to a particular group, and some politicians, alas, are only too willing to assist. Take Leon Brittan, a fine public servant whose memory has been disgracefully smeared by Tom Watson. How did the Labour MP get away with it? Because he knew paedophiles are the lowest in the hierarchy of contempt.

The paedophile’s great gift to the human race is to confer a sense of moral superiority on absolutely everyone else – including the murderers and rapists who beat up the “nonces” in prison. That’s how hatred works. The murderers and rapists don’t really hate the paedophiles, or care for their victims; they just want to feel better about themselves. It’s all about projection.

Who are those crusty demonstrators really cross with? Well, look at the real cause of their woes and their impotence. They are partly furious with the British public for returning a majority Conservative government – but they can’t possibly say that. And they are partly furious with the Labour Party, first under Ed Miliband and now under Jeremy Corbyn, for being so spectacularly useless in helping to advance their cause – and they can’t possibly admit that, either. Their real anger and grief is internal, about the collapse of Labour as a coherent opposition. But that is too big and too difficult an issue to address honestly. So they throw eggs and shout about scum.

Well, my fellow scumsters, just remember, in the unlikely event that you mind these insults: it’s not about you, it’s about them.

abour directs its impotent fury at all but those responsible – itself

It is an odd thing to feel hated, especially if you are not quite sure why. I expect there are many readers who know the feeling – someone who inexplicably spreads awful rumours about you; someone who looks at you with unconcealed malevolence.

I once got a letter through my door saying, “I just want you to know how sickened I am to live in the same neighbourhood as you”, and I thought, “Duh: what have I done?” So I offer this article by way of reassurance to all you who have ever had the nasty feeling that someone somewhere has got it in for you. If you think someone hates you (and you genuinely think it’s unfair), then remember the golden rule of hatred. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Let me explain. One of the most extraordinary features of human psychology is our use of transference, or projection – in other words, managing our emotions with the help of symbols or fetishes or proxies.

Most MPs will be familiar with constituents who come to see them with some problem that seems to have become an obsession: a tree that was unfairly chopped down, a neighbour’s fence that takes too much land, or some other injustice. Often they will have folders or plastic bags stuffed full of letters. You, of course, try your best to help them, but as things drag on, you notice that they are really more interested in the process, the campaign, than the solution.

"When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst"

In fact, you soon realise that the issue that they have placed before you is really of much less importance than some other big problem in their lives – a bereavement, a divorce, or some other deep disappointment – and that feeling of anger and injustice is channelled and focused on this tree, or stretch of pavement, or whatever. Sometimes, in fact, you find that they don’t really want the problem to be “solved”. The hate-object has become a necessary psychological crutch, a part of their lives – the thing that helps divert them from the real and insoluble problem. And what is true of individuals is true of societies, too.

When a community is going through some period of stress – a war, or economic hardship – they are historically far more likely to identify and turn on scapegoats in their midst. Anxiety is transferred to some readily identifiable group: Jews, foreigners, homosexuals, gypsies – the victims of this kind of prejudice have in some cases been suffering for centuries. Sometimes, barely credible powers are attributed to these groups, and they become a catch-all explanation for everything that has gone wrong in a society. Your kids can’t get a house? It’s the immigrants. Can’t get a job? It’s the immigrants. Can’t see a doctor in A&E? It’s the immigrants. Traffic on the M4? It’s the immigrants.

A Conservative conference attendee is egged by protesters

Of course, these problems have multiple causes – but people are only too willing to project their anger on to a particular group, and some politicians, alas, are only too willing to assist. Take Leon Brittan, a fine public servant whose memory has been disgracefully smeared by Tom Watson. How did the Labour MP get away with it? Because he knew paedophiles are the lowest in the hierarchy of contempt.

The paedophile’s great gift to the human race is to confer a sense of moral superiority on absolutely everyone else – including the murderers and rapists who beat up the “nonces” in prison. That’s how hatred works. The murderers and rapists don’t really hate the paedophiles, or care for their victims; they just want to feel better about themselves. It’s all about projection.

Who are those crusty demonstrators really cross with? Well, look at the real cause of their woes and their impotence. They are partly furious with the British public for returning a majority Conservative government – but they can’t possibly say that. And they are partly furious with the Labour Party, first under Ed Miliband and now under Jeremy Corbyn, for being so spectacularly useless in helping to advance their cause – and they can’t possibly admit that, either. Their real anger and grief is internal, about the collapse of Labour as a coherent opposition. But that is too big and too difficult an issue to address honestly. So they throw eggs and shout about scum.

Well, my fellow scumsters, just remember, in the unlikely event that you mind these insults: it’s not about you, it’s about them.