I commented briefly and negatively on Lord Wei’s idea for a national service for new retirees yesterday over at mine. I didn’t get time to go into the thing in any depth, so I thought I’d expand here.
Firstly, we get again this myth that the baby boomer generation are somehow privileged. I can assure you that we are no more or less privileged than any other generation – there is a mix of the well off and the not so well off. Like most of my peers, I have had to work hard for what I have. Unlike those who went before me, I have not enjoyed the luxury of a job for life and so my pension pot is a mishmash of savings that frankly, don’t amount to much. Those pension plans we were sold a few decades back turned out to be pretty worthless. So, as I grow closer to retirement age, that retirement age creeps inexorably away from me. This, combined with the inconvenient fact that the state pension is built upon a Ponzi scheme that is currently on the brink of collapse means that I am far from well off and unable to consider retiring at 65. The idea, therefore, that Wei has; that we are going to be kicking our heels for the next three decades, so need the state to keep us occupied, is based upon a falsehood, irrespective of the patronising arrogance that underlies it. I most certainly neither need nor want the state to keep me occupied – I’ll be doing that for myself, by working.
Lord Wei said working part-time, volunteering for charities, or sharing their business experience with young entrepreneurs would help older people avoid boredom in retirement.
I have to say, I’m becoming increasingly irritated with this obsession from various politicians with volunteering. When I retire, should I be fortunate enough to do so, there are places to see, roads to ride, plenty to keep me from boredom. I do not need the state to help me remain occupied as I can do it for myself – y’know, being all grown up an’ all. Of course, I might consider volunteering. Well, I might if it wasn’t for the politicians who keep banging on about it. So, as it is, I won’t, as this will be enabling them and I refuse, absolutely, to do anything that a politician wants me to do.
They would then be encouraged to make contact with others in the same age group living nearby to discuss what to do with the years ahead.
If I haven’t made contact with them by now, I fail to see what use it is going to be in fifteen years or so. Beside, apart from being old fogeys, what do we have in common? I’d much rather join a local bike club with a mixed age group and a common interest – that, surely, makes more sense? Well, it might to you and I. To the politicians and their hard-of-thinking hangers on, we are a homogenous group defined by age – just as if you are homosexual, by sexuality, for example (they will be talking about us being a community next, just you wait and see). They do like their “groups” don’t they? never mind that we are individuals – lord forfend.
Lord Wei’s plan could win support in government as ministers are sympathetic to moves to encourage older people to volunteer in retirement.
You encourage away. Bearing in mind two things; firstly, it is not the place of government to be involved in this and secondly, every time you go on about it, the more hostile I become, so your goal will remain unachieved – at least in this neck of the woods.
The Tory peer said ensuring 55-65 year-olds continue to be engaged in the lives of younger people was essential to avoid “war” between generations.
And who, precisely, is stoking this mythical war? Not me, and not anyone else I know out here in the real world. As it is, I’ve just finished a day’s motorcycle training. My trainee was a sixteen year-old learning to ride for the first time. So, I am already engaged with helping the younger generation by passing on skills and knowledge. Butt, therefore, out. And stay out. You are not welcome here.
“Politicians do not focus enough on helping people cope with the big changes in their lives,” he said.
And nor should they. It is not their job to do so. Their job is to focus on the core activities of government. We can be sure that government has become bloated when they think that they are supposed to be poking about in matters that are personal and private.
Wei brings to mind that most chilling of lines; “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
No. Go away. Far away. Please.
Unfortunately, if you think you might escape this absurd idea, it gets worse:
The report, supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, suggests similar “national service” programmes could help those who are just beginning working life, as well as couples who are becoming parents for the first time.