Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
12 April 2017

Good point, Sky’s Sam Kiley. Perhaps we SHOULD spank millennials so they learn Ovid and colonise Africa

The 13 most WTF moments from the Sky foreign editor's piece about his desire to physically chastise young people. 

By media mole

It is with great regret that we must announce that Someone Has Written A Bad Take On Millennials Again.

Yes, everyone’s favourite punching bag – after all, when we’re not too busy crying in our safe spaces we’re being lazy by not getting non-existent jobs – is getting another battering. (Yes, your correspondent is a mole-nnial.)

This time the Fearless Promoter of Unsayable Truths about how young people today are uniquely bad is Sky’s foreign editor Sam Kiley, who has written a comment piece which is almost impressive in its WTFness.

Here are the 13 most jaw-dropping moments.

1. Millennials are mawkish

After describing how, quite reasonably, a broad cross-section of society honoured the police officer killed defending Parliament, Sam Kiley zeroes in on the Real Menace. (After briefly flirting with blaming it all on the poetry of WH Auden, which would have been fair enough.)

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Has the United Kingdom surrendered to a form of mawkish mass sentimentality? Has everyone become an actor in mass moments of theatrical reverence? That, in the end, signify nothing?

Huh. This might be an interesting question – Britain, after all, has become more demonstrative, and many point to the death of Princess Diana as a watershe— wait, what now?

2. Millennials refuse to die needlessly at the Somme, which was character-building

“Britons are no longer made of the stuff that is written in granite on the memorials to two world wars on every single village in the country”

BREAKING: Millennials not willing to accept 20,000 deaths in a single day like at the Somme. Probably too busy on Tinder. Can we also note that this sentence makes no sense? Good. 

3. Millennials do not know their place in Britain’s class system

Indeed they’re not even made of the stuff of those dead young men before they went to war. The ploughmen and labourers, and miners led by youth from the middle and upper classes tempered and toughened in the forges of public school.

Hi, Sam. Would you like a moment alone with your copy of AE Housman’s poems? Also, is one of the problems of today’s millennials that they are no longer all men? And could anyone be a ploughman now, even if they wanted to? Are there unpaid ploughing internships?

4. Millennials refuse to be buried in shallow graves in the East Anglian countryside 

The British are now too wet to work in agriculture. Those who do turn up, my East Anglian farmer friends tell me, are so lazy and feckless they’re useful only to fill potholes – with their bodies.

Well, if your East Anglian farmer friend told you, who are we to gainsay him or her? Also, is “with their bodies” one of those phrases like “- in bed” you can put on the end of every sentence to make it extra weird? Apparently so. 

5. Millennials are like one of any number of horrible animal hybrids

Public schools are overpriced country clubs for the buttery spawn of oligarchs. Gone are the days when playing for the 3rd XV involved fingers frozen to twigs and doing battle with a homicidal ape from Dulwich College with the IQ of a tadpole.

An uncharacteristically accurate description of Nigel Farage, so points for that. Still, at least he’s not “buttery spawn”, which is the most horrible synonym for ejaculate we’ve heard this week.

6. Millennials are reluctant to be sexually abused

No one wants to see a return to the sexual abuse that Alex Renton has revealed in his masterful expose of private school perversion Stiff Upper Lip,

Thank God that’s finally been cleared up.

7. Millennials are reluctant to be beaten up too. What is wrong with us?

…but the olden day public schoolboy knew, or rather learned, what it was to get bashed then get up and play on.

BUT. BUT. Imagine starting a sentence with “no one wants to see a return to the sexual abuse” and following it with a qualifier…yes, public school sexual abuse was bad, but at least it turned baby boomers into men.

8. Millennials today cannot recite Ovid while colonising Africa

These days, the public schools can no more produce the sort of chap capable of running a large chunk of Africa at 21 with the assistance only of supernatural self-belief, and a passion for Ovid

We don’t even have the energy to be sarcastic about this one. This has to be one of the most painfully white things we have EVER read. Also, once again the problem with today’s millennials does seem to be that they are no longer all men.

9. Millennials cannot use kettles

. . than they can turn out a youngster capable of putting a kettle on without the supervision of a Filipina.

What the what? It’s a switch. Also, what. 

10. Unlike Ye Olden Days 21-year-olds who thought they could “run Africa”, millennials today think too highly of themselves

As for Millennials with their thin skins, wobbly chins, and sense of immediate entitlement to unearned greatness? They just need a good spanking – and not in a fun, kinky way.

This bit is great because Sam Kiley is letting us know that he is a fun, cool guy who is totally chill with BDSM. But not millennials. They would probably ask for a health and safety assessment before climbing into a sex swing. This wouldn’t have happened in the Somme. 

11. British millennials live in Britain and have absorbed its social mores

Britain’s problem is that the outside world is made of sterner stuff. In Mosul, people who survived life under IS thugs and coalition bombs are burying their dead and sweeping the streets one block from the combat zones.

I’m sure the people of Mosul are thrilled for their plight to be deployed as a rebuke to any 18-year-old who buys a soy latte instead of saving up for a deposit. Also: if all these young people are so awful, isn’t it a bit the fault of their parents?

12. British millennials are not willing to risk their lives to get to Britain 

These are resilient people. Tough people. People who don’t curl up and suck their thumbs when the going gets tough. And they want what we have – someday they’ll come and get it too.

BRING BACK CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OR THE REFUGEES WILL TAKE YOUR JOBS!!!

13. Millennials are not highly trained killers

The solution to soggy wet Britain? How will we make more of the brave few whom we now see as almost as characters in fiction? National service.

Wait, that’s the end? Way to chuck out a truth grenade and retire to a safe distance, Sam. We mean, who could see any drawback to trying to recreate a period in which millions died needlessly in territorial disputes in Europe? Also, why the random burn on the concept of fiction? 

Brb, just off to pick some potatoes and then colonise a country or two.