Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The French challenge our cosy generational stereotypes

Compared to their children and grandchildren the old are poorly educated, fixed in their ways, illiberal, likely to be racist, less attached to the EU and dare I say (in a whisper) more likely to vote for Mr Trump. Phew, what a bunch. Then there are the French.

The 18-24 age group are more likely to vote for Le Pen in the forthcoming French elections than their grandparents. Come to that, so are all age groups up until the 64+. So the young in France favour leaving the EU and all the draconian policies of the National Front.

So much for stereotypes.  Maybe the explanation is that the rate of youth unemployment in France is near to 25%, compared to the 11% in the UK. That might have something to do with? This data is reported in today’s FT. (It is behind a paywall)

The point of this tale is illustrate that we love our simplistic storylines and stereotypes, that turn out to be invariably wrong, when they collide with reality. Beware thought leaders, politicians, gurus and pundits peddling stereotypes. Dick Stroud

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