I’d seen the odd news clip of Greta but not until watching the Frankie Boyle review of 2019 had I seen her in full flow. Frankie, as usual was taking the mickey out of everything, and then came the Greta clip. No jokes allowed.

But it wasn’t the lack of jokes that shocked me. Greta, after all has become a saintly figure. It was watching a young girl with Asperger's having a meltdown and being applauded by an audience of adults who appeared to think that this was entirely normal.

Going back to watch a few more clips, Greta’s smallness and childlike appearance clearly adds to the strangeness of these events. Influential, powerful adults sit or stand aside her on stage, towering above Greta and seemingly appreciating the 16 year old who is screaming at them for not saving the planet.

For all the talk of science, these occasions feel more religious than rational, more emotional than thought through. But it is not only with Greta that we have begun to see the elevation of children and young people as sage-like figures. British, indeed Western culture appears to be in the throws of a cult of youth.

Enlightened politicians call for 16 year olds to be given the vote. This at a time when 16 year olds are less independent, less likely to be in full time employment, for example, than they have ever been. There is political opportunism in this demand to enfranchise children of course but there is also something else going on.

We see this something else in commentaries about the Brexit vote, a vote that apparently “stole the future of young people”. Here, old people, or what are at times called “boomers” are separated out from the rest of the electorate, and denounced for voting for Brexit.

Novelist Ian McEwan went so far as to celebrate the future deaths of over a million “oldsters” by the end of 2019, a group of “mostly Brexiters, freshly in their graves”. Unable to win the arguments, Remoaners bordered upon a eugenics mindset, waiting impatiently for the elderly to die out so that their own enlightened views could flourish.

The cult of youth is seen most powerfully in environmentalism where we see not only the saint like elevation of a teenager but virtual state sponsoring of children going out on “strike”. Here the wisdom of youth is played out against a backdrop of adult greed and destruction, ironically, egged on by teachers and politicians ie older adults.

The cult of youth appears to be less enlightened than we may think, based less upon a celebration of the young than on a hatred of the old, indeed an abandonment of adulthood.