Now that I’m almost 30, I’ve become a bit set in my ways. I’m done, for instance, with people who won’t split the bill in restaurants. Is there anything worse than sitting across the table from someone who makes you pay a little more, just because you had an extra Sprite?
Well, it turns out there is actually. And that’s a socialist who won’t split the bill. Being young, relatively speaking, I am surrounded by Corbynistas. At dinner, they sit and spout nonsense about ‘the boy Corbyn’ and his politics – the importance of equality and sharing the wealth. And then the bill arrives…
As soon as that metal dish lands on the table, economic idealism vanishes quicker than you can say, ‘Jez we can’. In fact, restaurant visits have merely confirmed to me what I’ve long suspected about my generation. Namely, that even the noisiest socialists are a little bit capitalist at heart.
A recent YouGov poll suggests my experiences are not isolated examples of hypocrisy. It turns out that 63 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds believe that they should only pay for what they had at a restaurant – and there’s even an app to help them work out the splitting of the bill. Meanwhile, 51 per cent of 65-year-olds are happy to spread the cost of their dinner. It makes me want to move to Eastbourne.
Of course, some might say that young people’s frugal attitude to bills is simply the result of our dire economic situation, but I’ve witnessed this kind of tight-fistedness long before 2008’s recession. At university, for instance, no one ever did rounds, but trotted off to the bar for one Malibu and Coke at a time.
Corbyn’s youthful following have made great play of their beloved leader’s calls to end austerity and his support for free school meals, free universities, free healthcare and the rest. But if the Labour leader ever became our prime minister, how will these people feel about paying for it all when they can’t even handle subsidising a friend’s soft drink?