Is there any need to actually answer Clegg? This comment put it well:
The Lib Dems just don’t get it! Pensions, including those extra ‘add ons’ are NOT “benefits” but entitlements to repay retired people for the 40 odd years of working lives during which they paid their taxes in full and national insurance contributions. And pensions in the UK are some of the lowest in the developed world. The winter fuel allowance, Xmas bonus (£10!) and bus passes are just sticking plasters to cover up the embarrassment, guilt and shame our rulers feel about the appalling level of our pensions compared to our neighbours’.
And further to that, it was, in the main, fulltime work too so maximum contributions. When I hear some younger people moan about seniors hogging the buses, they forget that these seniors are entitled, they’ve earned that.
Every age group and every nationality has its proportion of good people, nasty, wise and idiots and pensioners are no different – they just begin to cope less and become more vulnerable. Too often they themselves don’t realize they should put a sock in it and that gets people’s backs up but the bottom line is that they are entitled to be looked after.
The primary care giver should be the family too. One spinoff of Russian families retaining their old people with them was the elevated status of the babushka and that had a direct effect on the children who were in contact with them more than even the parents – the result was that those values were imparted and the world pop culture wasn’t the main values imparter. That also took care of the babysitting issue, of the cooking in the morning and evening, of children being walked to school and collected later, of the skills being handed down.
And those babushki ruled whole houses too, sometimes with twenty flats in that section. I’ve seen thuggish types given a tongue lashing by grandmothers en masse and what’s more, they took it too. In mid-winter once, an old lady stopped me in the street and ordered me inside because she saw hypothermia starting on my cheek. The very idea that she had any right to order me was something the Russians take as read. Can you imagine that here?
And they could cook too!
Russian friend of mine went to the U.S. and was appalled how the grandparents were put out to pasture in a home, out of sight and mind except by the telephone and [usually] daily visits by mother. What would we save here if every family in the nation ran along similar lines, what cohesion would there be?