Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 3 July 2014


"We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self-control." Not my words; they come from an inscription found in a 6000 year-old Egyptian tomb.

Maybe you agree with the following: "Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers." It was uttered by Socrates in ancient Greece.

How about this: "I think morals are getting much worse... There were no such girls in my time as there are now.
When I was four or five and twenty my mother would have knocked me down if I had spoken improperly to her". These words were spoken by 60 year-old Charlotte Kirkman in 1843, as part of an investigation into the bad behaviour of contemporary youth. Lord Ashley, speaking in the House of Commons in the same year, argued that "the morals of the children are tenfold worse than formerly".

Past generations, then, have been consistently convinced that the "youth of today" were guilty of moral decline. 

I had a look around the art exhibition at Plymstock School last week and spoke to the pupils whose spectacular art was on display. They have just the same kinds of hopes and dreams as I had when I was 17. They were also polite and respectful, like most youngsters in our schools. I am optimistic about the next generation.

The ancients moaned about the youth of their day who in turn when they reached maturity complained of their progeny. We should learn from this and encourage the next generation to reach their full potential.

posted by Gary @ 09:19