Planning for posterity

By Jonathan Werran | 17 August 2021
  • Jonathan Werran

Anxiety about being left behind, abandonment in all senses, is quite a pervasive condition. The autumn/winter parliamentary calendar remains chock-a-block with legislative agenda to tackle the ‘left behind’. The Archbishop of York has dusted down his copy of David Goodhart’s The Road to Somewhere and begun the August silly season sermonizing on behalf of the unfashionable and non-metropolitan. As above, so below. And all the time our nation’s youth, whose lives, educations and prospects have been most blighted by the coronavirus pandemic, naturally seek to frantically catch up for Fear of Missing Out – or FOMO.

Fear of missing out and being left behind is and has been natural to all ages. At the height of the Cold War, possible gaps of all kinds, real and imagined, nuclear and space race, stoked alarm. During the Eisenhower years, the upper echelons of the Hungarian Communist party, on the eve of the Kremlin’s tanks rushing into Budapest, lamented the country’s inability to bridge the hula hoop gap with the USA. As a policy priority, there were perhaps graver security and economic threats closer to home than the ability of Eastern European youth to rhythmically rotate a plastic circle off their hips as well as their counterparts in the free world. But it proves a point.

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