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Was life in the past preferable to today?

According to a new study half of adults over the age of 50 agree that life in the past was preferable to today, compared to just 19 per cent who think the present day is best.

Seven in 10 people think that the past was better as there was not so much traffic on the roads, while 68 per cent say things used to be built to last.

Having the freedom to go out to play at an early age and the fact people had more respect for each other also feature highly on the list of things that were better years ago.

Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of SPANA who carried out the research, said: ‘It’s clear that many people in the UK are nostalgic about the past – and, whether it’s for proper music stars like Bowie or a lost sense of community spirit, some people wish they could turn back the clock.

The study shows many over-50s consider the old days to be better because people were more patient and there was a slower pace of life.

People also fondly remember the time when the whole family ate around the dinner table and everyone enjoyed face-to-face conversations.

But one in five people over the age of 50 believe that modern day living should be celebrated.

What are your views? Is it easy to recall the past with rose tinted glasses, or was life in the past preferable than today?

Was life in the past preferable to today?

152 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Life in the past was preferable Present day is best

What are your views?

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mercury
1 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
It's so easy to look back with nostalgia isn't it? Every generation has probably said exactly the same - that life in their youth was better. The fact is, many things were far worse than today. Men slaving in mines and filthy factories and going home to just a tin bath by the fire, women with no rights who were used as skivvies, overcrowded slums, poor hygiene etc. The cosy footage of smart parents and upright neatly dressed children sitting round a fire listening to the wireless may have been the norm for some middle class families but certainly not for many others. We tend to cherry pick the pleasant memories, long hot summers (was that ever so?) and cheery bobbies, no "evil" predators preying on children, contented adults happy with their modest "lot". I can almost hear the Hovis music .......
billy no
2 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
Simple time's, freedom for children, time playing all kind of game's we were all in the same boat, lot's of respect for people.
granny 24
2 days ago
1
Thanks for voting!
Many things are better now like medicine, health & safety houses, etc but we have, in many cases, become a society who are not prepared to take responsibility for their own actions, safety, health, finances, manners. There is also a great lack of respect both for others and oneself.
The media have become bullying and insensitive and seem to think that everyone has a right to know everything about the"private" lives of anyone in the public eye.
Sports stars are revered more than members of the emergency services and certainly paid far too much. Care for the environment is sadly lacking and community spirit doesn't exist in many areas until a tragedy happens. Finally we have become a materialistic society where some families can't seem to exist without mobile phones attached to their hands even when eating out, at the theatre & cinema and most rudely at the checkout in the supermarket. Come on Britain get your respect back.
Lionel
2 days ago
1
Thanks for voting!
So very well said. I couldn't agree more.
Barton babe
2 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
I think life it's self was better then than now in a lot of respects, one thing being, you could keep your doors open and no one would walk in and steel from you, that's one thing you can't do today. There are a lot of good things today also.
I agree with comments below.
Pam1960
5 days ago
2
Thanks for voting!
Respect, discipline, decency and a moral code is in short supply on today's society. Possibly it is that we always see the negative side of things. There are many parents who bring their children up to show respect, are considerate to others, do not use vulgar and crude language in front of others, dress appropriately and attend learning establishments to gain qualifications rather than abuse teachers. We view the good things from the past but the horrors of war, child deaths, unsafe and unsanitary housing, lack of education for the majority surely means living in the present is better
bea747
6 days ago
3
Thanks for voting!
I love most of the modern things we have now but what I regret the most is the loss of respect for everything and everybody and I guess that is taught by parents in the first instance and supported by the media and teachers. No-one seems ashamed to swear in public. The breakdown of marriage is seen as nothing to worry about. Many people (and I am including older people as they are fast catching up with younger people) seem to have the view that they are entitled to have everything - now! The current crises in politics has brought out the worst in people who do not seem to have any kind of filter on how nasty they can be about people who they do not know. Trolls are despised on the internet but they are fast appearing in normal society too. I despair when I hear my friends getting heated about University fees, NHS, social care etc, why does everyone think everything must be free - where is the money coming from? when we all have so much more money to spend. This have it all society is really making me very annoyed.
scandiman
19th Jun 2017
4
Thanks for voting!
I'd like to live in a time when there was no fear of another terrorist incident. A time when society was less angry and violent. A time when so many people didn't look as though they'd got out of bed, and stood while someone threw clothes at them. A time when we weren't a scruffy lot, and that includes the police. A time when I didn't hear the neighbours children screaming uncontrollably (Tarquin must express himself!). A time when children started infant school properly fed and toilet trained. A time when we didn't have government via sound-bite and catch-phrase.
bea747
5 days ago
1
Thanks for voting!
Well said, although I think things have gone so far downwards I can't see how we can ever be uplifted to something resembling a 'decent society' again. It's sad.
Lionel
6 days ago
4
Thanks for voting!
... a time when we have a fully funded and equipped police force with Coppers on the beat. A time when we have a fully funded and well equipped military. A time when there is national service of some kind, apprenticeships which lead to jobs and a career. A time when youngsters knew their place and their 'self' hadn't yet gained ascendency. A time when our youngsters had hope and our elders were well provided for. A time when the institutions of State could be respected, our churches leading the nation rather than following every Godless trend. A time when we have news programmes and not twenty four hour rolling news; when the BBC could be relied upon to deliver a rounded, wholesome truth. A time when we trusted one another and didn't need the barrier of the internet to make 'friends.' A time when we don't live under threat, in turmoil and in constant fear. A time when we could grow old in peace, having done our duty and hand the reins to a competent and equipped younger generation.
Pam1960
16th Jun 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
I am surprised that 72% think life was preferable in the past. I'm not sure I would want to live without electricity. I wouldn't want outside toilets, tin baths in front of the fire, no modern kitchen appliances, tb, polio, diptheria, measles, whooping cough, no NHS, leaving school at 14 to go to work.if we could have a bit more respect for others and more discipline for children then I would say I am pretty happy with my lot at present
bea747
5 days ago
3
Thanks for voting!
I think the point is not that we want to go back to the things you mention, but in fact that people were in the main a good deal happier as they were not letting the nastiness of modern life prevail. We cannot move without tripping over left wing views, the BBC cannot be trusted any more as they are in hopeless thrall to 'youth culture' etc etc. Life has no balance any more.
granny 24
2 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
I think you have hit th nail on the head
ThePrimate
16th Jun 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Would I want to live back in the 60's? No, because even tho' I can use my selective memory to pretend that life was better then, I have to be honest and admit that many aspects of modern life are better. eg Medical advances, Womens' rights, Equal ops, Trading standards and consumer protection, Technology and Transport to name but a few. There are aspects of modern life that need addressing too but while modern life is not perfect we can embrace the parts of it that we like and actively try and make a difference to those parts that we dislike.
ecarg
16th Jun 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
We all go though changes in our lives each generation looks back on the past with mixed memories .Progress must be made whether we embrace it or not ,just think today's generation will look back in another 50 yrs time and so life goes on .Except for us silversurfers.
bea747
5 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
Absolutely true and I wouldn't want to go back in time and lose them all. I very much regret that we can't advance and be moral and humane about things without leaving sense, good judgement, honesty and friendliness behind. I am afraid I blame silversurfers mostly for not instilling 'good practice' in their children for them to pass on.
Munsterlander
16th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Much better today-we tend to look at life through rose tinted glasses and 50 years ago there where strikes all the time, trains did not run on times, cars were terrible, TV was lousy, clothes were terrible...apart from that life was fine. It was probably safer with less crime and people may have been friendlier. At least they were not all looking at their phones as the only phone I used was in a dreadfully smelling Red telephone box. ,
JaneS
16th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Over all i think we are better off today. It is in our nature to be nostalgic and we are very good at blocking out bad memories !
CarolH96
16th Jun 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
I think it's 50/50. A lot of things in the past were much better but equally a lot of things today are much better.
In the past we had very little and we appreciated everything we had. Nowadays there is that feeling of "entitlement" and things come too easy to too many and aren't appreciated. Debt in particular is a huge problem which didn't exist back in the 50's. You had no choice but to live according to your means and that was definitely a much better way then incurring huge debts which can't be paid back. Debt alone has led to very many people committing suicide.

We didn't have the massive amount of single parent families of which many are supported by the state. I'm not pointing fingers here.....just stating a fact.

Life was a much slower pace and cars were far and few between so the atmosphere was much cleaner apart from the very smoky chimneys. Of course the cities had more cars as well so the atmosphere was terrible. The smog in London during those days was horrendous. I was born and bred in Devon though so I never experienced this.

We didn't have foreign holidays ........ in fact we didn't have holidays apart from day trips out. Good or bad? I remember very clearly our family day trips and I loved them. I'd never been "on holiday" so I didn't miss it.
To this day we rarely go abroad but we do try and take our grandchildren out on family days complete with a picnic and they love it. Maybe the foreign holidays are aimed more at the parents then the children? I know our grandchildren are just as happy splashing about in an English stream then sitting by a pool in heat which is far too much for them.

Medicine and technology has to make our current day take first place in the poll though.
I wouldn't be here now had it not been for the wonderful NHS and all the medical advances that have happened since the 50's. It's incredible just how far medical science has advanced. You only need to look at the fantastic scanners that we have and also the wonderful cancer treatments which have reduced death from cancer drastically.

Also the wonderful prem baby facilities and medical advances which mean that more and more babies born very premature are surviving. It's nothing short of a miracle...... so modern day medicine definitely wins 100% over 50's medicine.
We must never forget those that have donated their bodies to medical science and those brave people who trialled drugs as a last resort to saving their lives. Without those generous and brave people I doubt we'd be where we are today.

As for technology.........one of our greatest advancements of all time, which definitely puts present day way ahead of life in the past, is the internet.
The internet alone has opened up vast opportunities for the majority of the planet. Personally I couldn't live without it now. It's a means of communicating with people all over the world....and our families.

I find digital photography to be the bee's knees. The old way used to cost a fortune in films and developing the films. It took a while to get your photo's back and it cost you even for the duds that you took! lol To be able to take as many pics of the family and my darling grandchildren is huge to me because I know I can cherry pick the best without it costing me a penny.

Medical treatment is so much better these days as well but there is a huge potential problem on the horizon because of the over-use of antibiotics over a period of time. Particularly in more recent years antibiotics were used to cure every complaint made by patients which has resulted in a watering down of their efficiency.

There are modern scourges that make the "past" more desirable and that is the amount of immigration that has happened. Good or bad.......people have their own opinions, but for whatever cause we are finding the country being over crowded with resources being hit badly. That is a fact and a huge problem that wasn't around in the 50's despite huge numbers of people coming into the country for refuge from the war.

So........would I prefer life in the past or in the present day? I would like to take a mix of both but I also have to say that my life in the past was a child born in 1951 who had a secure family background.
BUT.....we all move on as we grow and if I'm totally honest I wouldn't swap what I have now for what I had back in the 50's. I wouldn't swap for a Kings ransom! lol. Just for starters I wouldn't be here right now and neither would any of those that chose life in the past.

Present day is a definite thumbs up for me anyhow but I will always retain the happy memories of my past as well.
Lionel
15th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
I'm not sure such a question may be answered!

Always memory is selective. We remember the good bits and, sometimes choose to, forget the bad bits. Was it better being brought up for a few years in my grand parents home in a Norfolk village with a khazi 50 yards up the back yard? Not nice on a freezing night. Was it better using a Jerry in the pitch black because the electricity lines were down? Or granny cooking on a coal fired range?

Past retiring age now, I think we have lost more than we gained with so called progress. Yes, there has been important medical advances, there has been progress towards egalitarianism, but this latter may not be a great step forward. No, we've lost our sense of place in this society, our security with what is.

Maybe much progress could have been made in freeing up people without the consequent losses of freedoms and the liberation of perverts.

Who knows? Perhaps the one comes hand in hand with the other.
VSOP
17th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
I tend to agree .... this question is surely too broad and open to answer specifically. From the posts here we first think in terms of what hardware and material things we have now as opposed to our youth...... when we were young did we really miss having a washing machine or an indoor toilet or television or the NHS etc...... were we miserable because such things hadn't been invented?
I think the question should be "Where we happier then, or now."
This should be given much thought and not answered off the cuff, because one should think back to specific periods in ones life.....say, later school years, teenage years,
20-30. and so on. And of course it all depends on your age now. I was born in 1934 so WW2 and the subsequent years of austerity is a factor in my life....but not in many others.
Even so, I don't like the world as it is now in fact I hate it, and whilst life was harder I was generally much happier then.
Lionel
18th Jun 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Very Superior Old Pale, I agree with you. My step family have 'needs.' They are not needs at all, they are wants. Apart from clothing and food they have no needs.

I was born in 1951 and raised by my mother and grand parents until aged eight. Father was a merchant seaman during the war and afterwards. My grand parents had few home comforts beyond a 'Westminster,' radio. Water was drawn from a well in the yard, food cooked on a range and in winter we sat around an open fire drinking cocoa before bed.

Yet, we were content, without greed for ever more sophisticated devices and exotic foods. For us they just didn't exist.

I think among the most difficult of changes to assimilate is just that; the sheer volume and scale of change in our lifetime at every level leading to, today, Her Majesty's Opposition inciting insurrection and riots to defeat a lawful ballot result.

There are now no certainties, only empty promises and massive insecurity among Britons. I can see these as changes for the better.
Dotthorpe
15th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
It is much harder for young people today.Although far.fewer people studied in colleges and universities we did not have to pay exorbitant fees.
CarolH96
16th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Education is free up until the age of 18 which is when you are classed as an adult. You can either choose to find a job or fund yourself in university but at least you get the choice. Had you been born 60 years earlier you would have left school at 15 and be expected to get a job to help fund the family's finances.

I was able to stop on at school until I was 16 in order to gain my "CSE's". I got good grades but my parents couldn't afford for me to go onto the private girls school in order to get my "A" levels. Without my "A" levels I had no choice but to go to work and contribute to the family pot.

Further education has always carried a premium and no doubt the cost was just as high back in the 50's as it is today.
Today you can get a student loan which is exactly what my eldest did. She's paid hers off now but had she not been earning what she is earning then it would have been deferred. I actually think that students have a much better chance nowadays then back in the day but it isn't free and they have to accept that. Education is only free up until the age of 18 in the UK.
Treehugger1
15th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
I usually find it easy to vote in these questions but this one has me stumped and I don't think there's one simple answer; there were/are good in both eras Imo

If only we could have the sense of community which was more apparent back then it would make life much better, but how on earth did we manage to live without the internet.

Yes Dads are more involved in childcare now, but back in the day Mums were at home caring for the children not out working to help make ends meet.

The list of comparisons goes on and on and I won't list them all, but it seems to me that different eras have different positives and negatives and it's not easy to make simple choices about which is preferable. Interesting thinking about it though 🙂
Dianelily
15th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
When my children were young they all played out with friends. More socialising. My grandchildren are lost if they haven't got iPad phone or games console. They do go out with friends but nothing like my children did. My kids used to make games up both inside and outside the home. Socialising is how many so called friends they have on Facebook.
Texting and social media is how they keep in touch. But as one of my grandsons said you could just go and knock on a friend's door. Families and friends are scattered now. No community anymore. Everybody too busy rushing around On saying all this I would be lost without my iPhone and iPad these days. Sad I think
scandiman
15th Jun 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Life was slower. People had a lower expectation of life. Personal debt was less, because it was more difficult to obtain. Food was available only when in season, and tasted better. Electrical goods were built to last. People were more self-sufficient and reliant. Life is faster now, everyone rushing but not getting anywhere. There is a high expectation of life, with many wanting it all and wanting it now. Diet can be better, with greater choice. We're less insular, but uncertain of our place in the world. Communication has been revolutionised but always for the better. There are more TV channels, but not necessarily more I want to watch.
The biggest changes I have noticed are- a growth in the number of obese people; an obsession with rights at the expense of responsibility; breakdown of family life; undisciplined children; the staggering increase in foreign-produced goods; the ease of obtaining credit.
Life wasn't necessarily better, but very very different.
scandiman
15th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
I should have said, 'communication has been revolutionised, but not always for the better'.
Pam1960
15th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Nostalgia makes us view the past through rose coloured glasses. There are many things that were better then than now such as freedom for children, being able to play out, disciplining of children, respect for others, families eating and playing games together, conversation, high street shopping, neighbours who support each other. However the downsides were freezing and damp housing from no central heating, lack of choice in food, inequality and discrimination. Overall I would pick life now as I have gotten used to comfort, foreign travel and technology
fandebbydozy
15th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
In the past families were free from state interference and could bring up their children as they saw fit.
Communities were much safer, you knew most people, kids were safe out alone.
Food was fresher and there was far less pre packed manufactured, mucked-about-with food for sale.
Our friends were flesh and blood and we played real games together, not in a virtual world.
We took risks in play, got dirty, and survived
Terrorism was unheard of.
Families on the whole stayed together more than now.
Abortion was illegal.
There was far more respect for those in authority.
Less pollution through less traffic on the roads.

On the other hand....

We now have better insulated homes
The Internet
Highly skilled nhs and emergency services
Showers and indoor loos
Greater knowledge of the world

I dare say some of these will be controversial, but after all, it's just my opinion.
Kobyhodge
15th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Everywhere was much safer for children, I was able to ride my bicycle, even on main roads and always felt safe, which is far from the case today.
Poppyrose
15th Jun 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes, life in the past was better in that it was a more gentle pace and kids could play out etc but just the communications available today is fantastic - at least if the child is out and can't get home they can ring whereas when I was a child if I was out and got into any scrapes I prayed for a phone box nearby and then prayed again I had the right money so better today.
mrskingers
15th Jun 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
Life now is far more materialistic. Everything appears to be rushed, and nobody has time to relax. E mails ,phones and social media have taken over peoples lives.
MrsPat
15th Jun 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
Today is much better-better...food, TV, communications, transport, appliances-life is much easier now. I remember getting the bus everywhere. The food in cafes was terrible. The only good thing was life seemed a lot less hectic
Marley444
15th Jun 2017
5
Thanks for voting!
I think it is a mistake to look back. I prefer to look forward and enjoy the present and plan for an exciting future. Sometimes I think technology is a curse as people spend too much time on their phones or computers and not enough time face to face with people, however on balance, without technology it would be so much harder to keep in touch with my family who are all over the world.

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