Sunday, March 16, 2014

So am I one of your "Hardworking people" then Dave?

So how's the "Big Society" going for you then? Remember that idea - we all work together for the benefit of society at large and volunteer in droves to do so? Well I haven't heard much of it recently have you? No the new slogan is about "Hardworking people" who are lauded - as compared with? Well what? Slackers I suppose. Well I worked, quite hard at times, for 37 years. Certainly over those years I worked the hours I was paid for, and some that I wasn't paid for as well. If you're an Ex-Pat, which I was a lot in the latter half of my Shell career, you don't clock in and out. It's, as we didn't say at the time, a 24/7 job! 

When I retired I did so to do other things. That's how it was ten or so years ago. The Pension gave you the chance to choose. So I chose. Some of it was voluntary - doing things that seemed worthwhile and not seeking to be paid for them. Some of it was vocational - writing a book and enjoying the thrill of having it published. Some of it was quite well rewarded - the odd bit of consultancy and specialised journalism. That's how I balance my time today. I'm busy doing, mostly, things that I enjoy. Lucky me. Am I "hardworking" ? Not really. If I need a day, or a week or even a month when I do very little I take it. I'm quite energetic when I do do things. But pretty laid back when I don't.

So David Cameron am I one of your "hardworking people" ? You call my State Pension "Welfare" - that's not how I see it. I worked hard for 37 years, paid my taxes and the State Pension, to which I contributed with National Insurance, is my right. Deferred benefits if you like. My Shell Pension is the same. Deferred remuneration. So where do I fit in your "hardworking" model? A burden on the State, the Health Service and the rest? Or someone who deserves your respect. Someone who deserves more than to be marginalised or even vilified as your colleague David Willetts has done with his cheap shots at the Baby Boomer generation. Do let me know, Dave. There's an election around the corner. 


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