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What’s left for the young?

A sobering realization: I have 11 months left of being young. Well, to be more precise, I have 11 months left until my 16-25 Young Person’s Railcard – a little orange voucher that entitles me to a third off ticket prices on Britain’s dysfunctional railways – expires for good. I recently renewed it for the last time with a sense of wistful dread; I’ll soon be cast out into the world of responsible adulthood.

Or will I? Only a few weeks ago, the rightwing Conservative government, desperate to rally young people flocking to the Labour opposition, announced a pilot scheme: the millennial railcard. This would introduce the same fare discount for people up to the age of 30. Just like that, I felt my youth extend by another five years.

The railcard is a telling development: you know the economy is in dire straits when even 30-year-olds can’t be expected to pay adult rates. It relates to an idea that lingered in my mind as I researched this edition’s Big Story: millennials are trapped in permanent adolescence, locked in a straitjacket of youth.

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