February 2016

Edwin Ashton: The LIFE and TIMES of a BABY BOOMER - How World War Two Gave Rise to a Golden Generation
The Life and Times of a Baby BoomerHearty congratulations to Edwin Ashton, a retired Unite member who has written a lively account of his working life that, following a less than successful time at school, started in the mid 60s in the army and ended with him working in a decently paid I.T. job in a major bank. In between there’s a series of dead end jobs, a desire to avoid working, especially in a factory, unless forced to do so, a return to education, a lengthy spell in the civil service and some right good laughs with his friends.

Although Ashton is never active in a union - “I’ve always just been a member” - that doesn’t mean he is politically unaware. As such his book has a solid working class message that the private sector can only succeed when there is a strong public sector, you can’t have a successful economy without public investment and austerity cannot and won’t ever work.

Ashton recognises that if it had not been for the election of a radical Labour Government after the Second World War then his, and the lives of millions of others, would have been a lot worse. “Winston Churchill would have returned to the pre-war economic system, which was so disastrous for many people but which George Osborne is now going back to.

“After 1945 it was the rapid rise of the public sector that was needed to rebuild Britain’s shattered economy which directly led to the rise in living standards for working people. The Labour government was unique by being the first to put the interests of ordinary people before the interests of the establishment.”

Edwin Ashton with Jim MowattThe author was inspired to write his book for two reasons. He had read Eric Hobsbawm’s books and in particular The Age of Extremes on the period 1914-1991. “The contents just chimed with my life. I think Hobsbawm is a brilliant writer. Karl Marx’s writings also helped.” Secondly, Ashton was left angered at attempts by politicians and the media to cover up the failings of neoliberalism to ensure a rosy future for today’s young people by blaming his generation - the so called baby boomers who were born in the period from 1946 and 1964. “It has been presented like we’ve taken all the money and so I wanted to show how that’s not true whilst showing how austerity is illogical when there are economic alternatives that have worked in the past,” says Edwin.  

It took Edwin around two years to complete his book and get it published.  He is “pleased at the outcome, I had never written anything this length before and I was unaware until recently how few ordinary working people have written their memoirs.”

The author (left) with Jim Mowatt, Unite Director of Education

The book can be obtained from:-

Branch meetings in London and Eastern Region
Edwin would be delighted to speak at Unite branch meetings in the London and Eastern Region about his book. Branches would need to cover his travel expenses from Colchester. Contact him on 07837 680858

Want to comment on this book?  Email Mark Metcalf at
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Want to comment on this book?  Email Mark Metcalf at