The generation gap is an open wound which weeps periodically, dependent on the latest national woe. Today, TV reports echo with young voices claiming the oldies have stolen their future. The young are accused of complacency, of lack of interest and low turnout.
Numbers and statistics can be used to produce interesting maps and charts but, much more importantly, they can help us understand current and future policy problems. That's the real message here.
In the working population, the word retirement generally conjures up wistful thoughts of long lie-ins, lazy days, unlimited opportunities to pursue hobbies and the chance to finally get around to doing all of the things that you've never quite had time for. Is that really the reality of retirement though, and what can my 30-something generation expect in later life?
A couple of months ago, a University assignment brought a long-disputed issue to my attention - the so-called 'generation gap'.
My nine-year-old daughter has started taking me to task for using "wicked" as a form of praise. At 47, she explains, I'm too old to use words and phrases which are the preserve of the young. She also says the punk music I've finally worked out how to load onto the iPod is too loud. For a moment I think she's going to complain you can't hear the words.
In a lot of ways I think the Baby Boomers grumbling about "how easy you all have it" stems from a deep rooted guilt about their role in the demise of their own children's economy.
It is perhaps no wonder that I often read comments from younger people vehemently arguing against getting older. They don't want to lose their money, independence, purpose or standard of living, nor do they want to need care or be the recipient of poor care. For all of us who possess youth rather than experience the time to change this culture is now.
The way these generational warmongers write, it is as though older people are somehow morally implicated in this collective theft their children's birth rights - a risible notion to say the least.
In my own youth; we called everyone in our street, 'aunty or uncle' and could nip into any number of houses in close proximity when we were locked out. It was all about human interaction. And it was lovely. Only last week, when grocery shopping, I found a potato that looked like a womble, I turned to the lady next to me and said, 'look! Madame Cholet!' she ran away.
Last autumn at TEDxBrighton I gave a talk (including songs) about my A.A. Milne Edinburgh Fringe show and the effect it had on my understanding of audiences - especially thinking about the generation gap.