Sunday, December 22, 2013

Soylent Green

Out with the old, in with the new.

Chris Huhne has written an unpleasant article about the allocation of resources vis-a-vis the young and the old. What upsets me, and being over sixty I have a stake in this fight, is not so much the debate as the attitude that defines one group of people as being of less worth than others. And, as expected, the wrinkled cliché about the old is rolled out - "They are the past, not the future."

The statement is nonsense. Both young and old are the present. The difference between them is that the young may, if they are lucky, have a longer future ahead of them, but they have little in the way of a past. History and experience lies with the old. Are they really of so little value? Should Churchill not have become Prime Minister in 1940 at the age of sixty-eight, giving way to some neophyte instead? Well, yes according to Huhne, because us oldies are selfish and shortsighted, we do not care about the future because we have none.

I can see it all now. Children, grandchildren? Nah, don't give a toss. The environment? Who cares? And even worse, we vote. Shocking behaviour. It makes our interests too politically sensitive to touch. And my, with all the infirmities of old age, aren't we expensive. There is the small matter of the fact that older people have worked and paid taxes for forty or fifty years. They have paid for their benefits. But that doesn't matter, does it?

It is the prejudiced nastiness of the article that depresses me the most. Macho grandstanding and stupid, unsubstantiated generalisations pile one on top of the other. The assumption that money is wasted on the old is the attitude that led to the destruction of adult education for older adults. And yes, the old were once young, just as the young will be old. We are not fixed in time. Our assets will become theirs and they will, in turn, want the services that we have now. People are on the same journey, their needs change. That is all. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Iam 61. I do not think this article would be so nasty if Huhne had done the obvious conclusion; VOTE! if you're under 40.