Saturday, 11 December 2010

Generation Y

There is nothing particularly novel in the violence shown by the Generation Y protesters (roughly the population cohort aged 10 to 30); even the assault on the robocop-padded plod was far less shocking than the iconic image from the Red Lion Square protest some forty years ago in which a poor plod protected only by a Gabardine tunic and cork helmet had his face kicked whilst pinioned; 

There's another telling photo from that year - the one below. Can you identify them both? Actually, what's lost today is the specs. Back in 1968 there were two types of glasses, National Health and private. The NHS specs were so deliberately ugly and instantly identifiable that only those in desperate need of glasses would wear them - a useful way then of rationing demand. The private specs worn by the two men were at the time were very expensive indeed, and mark them out as privileged scions of the middle class. Later lefties would deliberately acquire NHS specs to show what good Trots they were. And what was it that brought cheap, fashionable specs to the masses? Was it State ownership and control of the Opticians with billions of tax money thrown in, or was it just freeing the market and letting competition bring its benefits? Hmm I wonder. 


Span Ows said...

Now you've got me wound up. When I see pictures like that it makes me want to get those responsible and beat the fuck out of them, one at time, all fair like.

Bill Sticker said...

And these are the drama queens who squeak about 'Police brutality'.......

Don Cox said...


Basic reading glasses might be cheap, but if you need any kind of individual prescription, glasses are shockingly expensive. You can buy a complete digital camera for less than the price of typical frames.

I think the lack of an NHS service for those with poor eyesight is a scandal. You can get luxuries like artificial insemination for free, but those who need glasses to get around and be employable are assumed to be rich.

Anonymous said...

I have just got the first set of specs ever, I am 54 and they cost me £27.50 that was inclu p+p

The name of the company is Glasses2you
John Gibson

Anonymous said...

Anon, I am 48 and I have just bought my first pair of prescription glasses online. £18.50 delivered :)

Blue Eyes said...

Cox by name...

Don Cox said...

People who are buying their first pair of glasses at 48 or 54 do not have serious problems with vision. They will be needing simple reading glasses, with low dioptre lenses.

When you have the kind of sight that makes everything more than a couple of inches from your eyes a complete blur, and you no longer have any focussing adjustment, a set of glasses for various distances, using the necessary high refractive index plastics, costs several hundred pounds.

It is also necessary to find a professional optician who can prescribe correctly, not a chain store staffed by people with short course diplomas.

Paul said...

I dispensed thousands of NHS specs in the late 80's

Left: looks like a high joint gold filled nhs 422 (John Lennon)

Middle: too sturdy to be nhs anything

Right: looks like a cellulose acetate nhs 524 but I don't think they ever did a 'combo' (dark on the top, crystal on the bottom)

So I think, nhs, private and private

The nhs frames were certainly cheap but quite insubstantial so you ended up buying (and the state providing) quite a few of them
Most kids refused to wear them as well

The 722 half eye was a design classic though, comfortable and cheap