"..a bardy view!"

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free-bies….

Pensions – where's the Beef?

Back in the good old days, pre-welfare state, no money, no jobs, no future.

Children in bare feet, ten to a room, Mums ageing before their time, dads despondent, no decent working conditions, smog, poor housing, disease, illiteracy, low life expectancy, and early child mortality, the General Strike, the Jarrow March, etc etc…

Then lo and behold things changed. The NHS, free healthcare, unemployment benefits and a state retirement pension.

The retirement age was set at 65 for a man because he would be lucky to last that long after a lifetime of manual labour. It was an economically sound and safe age, and not likely to impact much on the treasury. It was a nice carrot for the working classes who were required to keep the wheels of industry in motion. Add to that social housing, free education, and improved working conditions.

And thats when things went pear-shaped. The working man paid for all this out of his wages through the clever instigation of National Insurance contributions. But what about those who weren't working, those not contributing but still benefited. Slowly but surely the legacy and culture of welfare dependency was born.

The commendable dream to provide for the poorest and less able proved to be a magnet for the lazy and opportunist.

It's interesting that in the boom years of USA immigration the sound bite engraved on the Statue of Liberty is:

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

What it didn't say was "By the way, you'll have to bloody work for it!"

But back to Britain. What those well meaning reformers failed to understand, and ever since, is that if you provide better conditions and with the advancement of medical science people will live longer.

Consequently many who retire at 65 can expect to live another 20 years at least, and in theory they can spend a third of their lives in retirement.

The figures will never add up, and every penny deducted from a wage to provide for the welfare state is spent immediately.

So yes, its time for new reform and it will be painful for many. But if this new austerity will change the mindset of an underclass, then surely it will be the restoration of pride, dignity and responsibility.

For example don't have children unless they can be afforded. This is a message to everyone. The Land of Hope and Glory is the Mother of the Free, not the mother of freebies. Too late to change many, but perhaps there's a chance for the next generation.

If it took fat-cat bankers to be the catalyst, it took fat Brits and others to borrow their money. I don't blame the bankers. Why should I? They are necessary for purpose so long as they are fit for it.

We know they use their customers money to invest and lend to others. If everyone just kept enough money in their accounts to pay their bills, then it may seem sensible, but where will the mortgages come from? The sensible approach is to use your bank to work for you, not the reverse.

And that's the issue isn't it? Use the bank to buy a home, but to borrow rampantly to furnish it and to live beyond your means? The luxuries, the holidays, the fancy cars, the exhibitionism and excess must wait until affordable. The birds have come home to roost, and a good investment might be a chicken coop. Cluck Cluck!!

Cheers to Great Uncle George – sixth row back, third from left in the pic. Rest in Peace.


June 25, 2010 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, General, History, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Excellent stuff, I’m speechless.


    Comment by Spook | June 26, 2010 | Reply

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