At the end of the last war Britain was a leaner, fitter nation and one ready to breed. It is perhaps an ur reaction of human tribes recovering from warfare to restock the population, and perhaps has been so for tens of thousands of years. A great bulge in the population resulted, a bulge that has swept forwards like a Spanish Wave, dragging a concavity behind it. Now that wave is at its zenith in economic terms - having benefited from free tertiary education, high levels of home ownership, occupational pensions and the like.
It is hardly surprising therefore that the gap now between the richest and the poorest in our society is at its widest.
Two publications must be read together. One is the new Hills Report, fat and replete with tractor production stats but thin as gruel on comment and analysis. The other is David Willetts' book The Pinch.
Hills bears the drear hand of government corrective editing which seems to have removed every comment that might have been taken as a criticism of Labour policy; they've learned a lesson, it seems, since Hills' last and outspoken report on social housing. This is a work of reference rather than a work of policy analysis.
And unsurprisingly, the role of demographics in today's inequalities is barely hinted at. For that, you need to read Willetts. And despite Harman's fixation on intragenerational inequality, the evidence suggests that it's intergenerational inequality that's the more significant; the children of those wealthy baby boomers will continue to do substantially better than those dragged along in the concavity of its wake.
The pertinent questions from policy makers must be around whether it's worth trying to do anything about it, or better to allow it to work itself out of the system over time. Anyone with any experience of the sea will know the power in a single wave, and that allowing it to ground itself on the shore is far easier than trying to attenuate it at sea.