Rulers are often conjurers; they distract the eye, while performing sleight of hand. For example, the Games of ancient Rome; it has been said that Bush’s precipitate launch into Iraq was to distract from a parlous financial situation – yet how much more it has cost in lives and cash. Some gave the same reason for Maggie Thatcher’s war in the Falklands.
The current Government is focussing, at considerable advertising outlay on Obesity as being a life-shortening evil, which it is. However, at the same time it is altering its approach to pensions on the basis of the population in 20 years being predominantly in its eighties. A dichotomy! Rubbish??
I, in my mid eighties, have outlived most of my friends and expect to snuff it at any time. Thinking about why I am still alive, I have come up with a theory I later found had been promulgated in the Lancet. Born post WW1, a time of austerity, when personal transport was for the wealthy, I ate home cooked meals, nourishing and of fresh produce. We mostly walked everywhere. Exercise was therefore inevitable in work and play and we played on open Commons or in clubs. In about 1936 we were turning the corner, there were luxuries, but we exercised as much, or even more, because there were now more facilities, swimming baths, schools had pitches and courts. There was little stress by today’s standards, but at that point WW2 set us right back to basics and we didn’t recover until the ’50s. Excess was not embraced until the ‘Free ’60s’.
Hence the post WW2 baby boom, now in their 50’s and 60s could well live nearly as long as their parents, but I firmly believe, with holidays in the sun, greater alcohol consumption, fast food and much, much more stress, lack of job security, lack of exercise, one man one car, pollution, the longevity trend will abate rapidly. The people in the Government are clevee than I, so is all this concern really about longevity and obesity, or a ploy to justify the pension proposals?
I have previously written about watching a clever, hardworking, strict boss, at sixty, steadily degenerate physically between sixty and sixty five, retire and die at sixty eight. It determined me to retire at sixty. In my view, there is a point where doing the same or similar things repeatedly can become so boring it affects the psyche and the health. I have also written that lack of stimulation is the greatest reason for the mental deterioration of the elderly. Take these two propositions together, and my own case, where after a year’s retirement I obtained another job, and the solution is to retire early on a reasonable pension, and get another, different, job for a few years.
Be in no doubt, being retired on a basic pension is not fun, stress-less, nor something to look forward to. Generally a worker looks forward to the weekend, to relax, do something different. On an extended scale, retirement is the same and should be looked forward to. The whole pension problem, as we all know, is the theft of pension funds by unscrupulous companies and Government overspend. To make the Public responsible for managing their individual pension plans is pie in the sky, a lot can’t manage their day to day expenditure. By the same token, they would be open to the greatest shark infested financial waters in all time, Watchdog on TV tells us that every week. The Stock exchange can’t be relied upon, some pension providers likewise. What is needed is a government backed, compulsory, saving scheme with profits, from day one to retirement, subsidised by the national purse, I lost 8 pension years through working in non contributory government jobs, this included my war service. Movement between jobs increases experience and interest, so is to be welcomed, it also keeps the employers on their toes. Hence a pension system must be for life and independent of the employer. What do you think?