Maggie, you said:
But I had hope and the expectation that things would become better. This is missing today. The poor today can watch TV and see how the other half lives. We were spared that. We didn't have to walk past cafés and car parks filled with big cars and supermarket trolleys piled high.
You are absolutely right, especially about hope that things can become better. The thing is, they did get better back then if, as you say, you were willing to work.
Here in Australia we worked hard and got our own home etc, but lost it all when my husband lost his job, was blacked (unknown to us), and couldn't get another one. There is no unemployment benefit here when the spouse works, and a clerk's wage is not enough to pay a mortgage, put two teenagers through high school, and feed four people. So we had to sell the house.
The excuse to make him redundant was 'necessary cost cutting' where he worked, though everyone wondered why it was him, the hardest working and most capable. The reason was that management knew he was a Labour supporter, and in 1993 Labour unexpectedly won the election. The boss was a top Tory, and Terry had openly talked politics.
The reason the firm was short of money was that most of the directors were directors of another firm going broke. They bought it out to save their investments, and let redundancies pay for it. Sheer badness made the boss have him blacked. We thought it was just ageism that he couldn't get another job, but later the boss sacked his personnel manager and she rang my husband and told him. She had no proof - they blocked her access to the records when they sacked her. It was too late by then anyway; he had given up and gone to university. (In the end he got a BA degree in Political Science from the University of Queensland, and worked for a State Government Minister for a while)
I've told this story to illustrate how business dishonesty, right wing politics, and their politicians hurt people nowadays far more than in the past.
We are quite happy in our council house in a quiet friendly area; our sons never suffered when we were having the bad times, and now both have degrees and good jobs. In a way, that Tory boss did us a favour because my husband had always regretted not having a good education, and he got into a good university after doing well in a few units of Open University. But I will never forgive that Tory for the hell that my husband went through during that time, and I honestly can't see that sort of thing happening like that in the 60s and 70s.
The Tory is dead now, and my youngest son swears he's going to find his grave and p*ss on it.