The last week in June was marked by..

..another semi final for Britain’s best tennis player Andy Murray, although as I write he is now a beaten semi finalist, unable to match either the consistency or mental strength of Rafa Nadal. Still he played to his rating and deserves a great deal of credit.

….a day of strike action by public sector workers, especially teachers, who took industrial action to protest about changes to their pension arrangements. No one likes to pay more and receive less but sooner or later some government had to bite the bullet with this. Under successive governments the public sector has grown in size, the average pay has now overtaken that of the private sector and the one of original reasons for opting to work in the public sector, the very good pension plan, has now become an albatross round our collective necks. The total cost of pensions accrued so far in the public sector is £650 billion. The annual cost to the tax payer after public sector employee contributions is £16 billion. ( figures from here ) Despite the frenzied screams of “Its the bankers fault”, the problem has been acknowledged for years and it is only fair that people in relatively well paid and secure employment should begin to contribute more to their own pensions. The accrued entitlement remains unaffected, the contribution increase is still considerably short of one what would be required to pay  in a private sector scheme to achieve a similar pension entitlement. Wake up and smell the coffee – we can’t afford it otherwise.

…..a salutary lesson in etiquette in the digital age. A modern day Hyacinth Bucket, Carolyn Bourne (amusingly a flower breeder) apparently sent an email to her prospective daughter-in-law complaining about a number of serious shortfalls in her manners. The young lady in question sent a copy of  the email to a number of her friends and the whole thing went viral. So the brash celebrity culture, Mrs Bourne disparagingly referred to in her email , came-a-calling as the story hit all the papers.

…a report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists suggested that the old drink too much and should look to cut their consumption. My own views on this are best summarised by an extract from the Carol Midgely column in The Times:

I’ve always thought one of the main consolations of getting old is that you can slip into a daily alcoholic haze, mixing your medication with gin, safe in the knowledge that you won’t need your liver for much longer. How else do you anaesthetise the pain of being skint, sitting in a wipe-down chair and banging a tambourine? That was always my “pension plan”, anyway.

But, oh no. Even that has been snatched away by killjoys who say too many pensioners are using drink as a “coping mechanism”. Well, of COURSE they bloody are. This is why alcohol exists. Are we saying that after a lifetime of work, people can’t sink a few glasses of red in front of Emmerdale?

Experts mean well when they issue advice to help the elderly to prolong their lives into advanced old age. But for what? If the picture painted this week is anything to go by, your reward for waving away the wine bottle is several more years of sitting braised in your own wee.

Thanks for the tip, psychiatrists, but if I live that long mine will be very much a treble. Followed by a fag.


About Moorendman

A traveller through life who reads a great many of peoples works whilst self teaching himself.
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One Response to The last week in June was marked by..

  1. Dave says:

    The key point about pensions is that they have nothing at all to do with the UK’s current financial position. The government is committed to restoring the public finances to surplus by 2015, and let’s hope they succeed. On the other hand, the planning horizon for pensions is a matter of decades. That nest of rabid left-wingers the Institute of FIscal Studies said of public sector pensions, ‘if we want to afford them, we can’. Meanwhile, the government-commissioned Hutton report says they are not ‘gold-plated’, and the National Audit Office says they are ‘affordable’. Don’t know where the Telegraph got its £16 billion from – the generally accepted figure is £4 billion, and that is set to fall as the impact of the switch from RPI-linking to CPI-linking kicks in, plus the effect of making all new entrants to public sector schemes wait until they are 65 before drawing a full pension – both changes which are already in the system.

    For some good sense on this issue, see

    The problem is not with public-sector pensions, it’s with the basic state pension – shamefully we have one of the lowest state pensions in Europe – and with private sector schemes. The last thing we should be doing is making any part of our rickety pensions provision any worse!

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