One of the greatest pleasures in life used to be for someone to read a great work of fiction to you out loud. You would sink back, close your eyes and let it wash over you ……and all that you had to do is to compose the pictures! Unfortunately, reading out-loud is a dying art and now a pleasure only enjoyed by young children and the infirm.
So imagine the frisson of anticipation ahead of listening to Chancellor Gideon reading The Autumn Statement – (I have always been a great fan of realistic fiction!) I closed my eyes, kicked back…but…the pictures just wouldn’t come. All I could visualise was a smug fat boy with a Caligula haircut and eyes with all the charm of two bullet holes, reading with all the conviction of a posh grocer reading a Fortnum’s shopping list.
GDP..blah blah….Growth…blah blah….Deficit…blah….and so on.
Then, after the “de rigeur” and customary: “Hard-working people” , “Mess they left behind” and “Tough decisions” plus the recently conceived “It will be less that it WOULD have been”….all from the Coalition Book of Platitudes, came something about the Normal Retirement Age (NRA) moving ever closer to life expectancy!
I felt myself slowly emerging from the Treasury-induced coma.
Whether the NRA is 69, 70 or 102, it will never affect those on a private pension or those with enough money to be able to make choices.
The ability to make choices is what individual freedom is all about. One of the overriding features of this government is that too many people perceive that their choices have been compromised. Control has been wrested away from those who are relying on the State to feed and provide their shelter in old age.
Meanwhile, the “well-off” will continue to be able to stop working whenever they want to.
It is only those clapped out individuals who see retirement age as The Finishing Line who will be affected. They are the ones who used to retire at 65 and die at 67.
Soon, they will retire at 70… not quite dead but maybe wishing they were, knowing that some of their better-off acquaintances will have already been retired for 20 years.
(BTW, unemployment at the time of the 2010 General Election was 2.47 million. It is STILL 2.47 million. ……NO statistical sleight-of-hand will ever change that fact!)