Thursday, 27 December 2012

Clearing the air (2) - they shoot horses don't they?

Another of the issues that has caused me great problems this year is the fact that those who now form part of the 'older' generation of our land appear to be regarded as merely spent and expendable. After all, they have little to offer in terms of revenue generation and are another burden that demands time, money and attention from both the state and their own families.

But of course this isn't true and if you start to think about it logically, many of those who are the older generation have many years of work (and paying of taxes and National Insurance) behind them. Not only that but there are many who have paid out for the nation in another way, that of having served it in some form of military (or other) service!

So let's look at what the older people have on their CVs and consider how we should be regarding it:

Eighty (and over) - b. 1933 - 1900
There's the second world war - growing up in a time of depression and many other hardships that were faced by this group. They know the value of family (and are often the glue of their families) and generally worked hard to pay their way. These are the people who paid financially and with their own lives and the lives of those they loved to make the sixties the libertarian and relaxed age that it was. They paid in and now it is surely their turn to reap the respect and care of the nation.

The Seventies - b. 1943 - 1934
Still wars, but not to the same scale as those before them. Still knew the value of stuff and still exist as the focus of the families and communities in which they live. Paid more in many ways as the NHS and other social care and concern provisions became available for everyone in a real and established manner. Accepted that paying NI and taxes meant a lifetime of care both medically, in social housing and in old age.

The Sixties - b. 1953 - 1944
'Sixty is the new forty' (or so I'm told) and this group are now looking at paying, and working, for longer before they get their go onto the provision roundabout, that is if we still have a social health service and anything that looks like 'old age care' by the time the youngest of this group actuallty reaches seventy. Many of these will have paid and worked all their lives (but not all as Thatcher's job cuts and the various trough, trough and recovery have played their part) for something others wish to deprive them of. Trendy and living on credit is a greater reality for this bunch but they've still (in the main) played their part.

What do they have in common?

Unlike horses and other beasts of burden (which used to be shot but now find themselves in 'sanctuaries') these people have worked and contributed to the well-being of our society. they have produced children, been in gainful employment and paid their taxes and National Insurance to provide for those before them.

The State told them that they were entitled to 'cradle to grave' care and support, but no one told them that the grave might just be enticed that little nearer to reduce costs; neither did they realise that services and places of care would mean that we would end up with a 'can't pay - can't live' society (such as that I saw many years ago in a certain Western nation where there was wealth and health and poverty and early demise on the menu).

The Bible tells us that 'we don't muzzle the ox that treads the grain' (Deuteronomy 25) - meaning that when you do the work you should also benefit from it. Well those in the three groups above have done (and in many cases are still doing) that and they have a right to expect the best in care, provision and support. In fact, I would argue that legally, having paid in to the system, if services are withdrawn there must be a case for reimbursement of the financial components for them as they have paid money for something that isn't on offer (it's called 'fraud' when it doesn't relate to the government!).

One of the things that defines a nation is the way that it cares for the poor and needy; well if some of my visits to places around the country are anything to go by, we are to be judged as wanting. If some of the stories I hear (and have seen for myself) are anything other than isolated exceptions then there is a cynical streak that seeks to save money on the lives that actions designate as 'worthless' because of the age of the person.

Be warned - 2013 is the year when I will shout loud and make a stand for the older folk around me and where services are not forthcoming then I will be making this known; where charities fail to uphold their end of the bargain (a bargain which the giving of others has made possible) I will waste no time in pointing to it.

1 Timothy (chapter five) talks about providing for our relatives (and members of our households too) and it says that those who fail to do this  have denied their faith and are 'worse than unbelievers' - sadly in a land where unbelief is applauded and financial probity is championed as a reason for poorer standards in old-age care, these words are appearing truer every day - another reason that we need to make this land a place where faith is applauded and reason, truth, love, justice and mercy are valued.

I close with the words of the apostle Paul as found in Galatians (six) - my words:

"Brothers and sisters, if you find someone acting wrongly, those of you with faith in God (and living by His Holy Spirit) should correct them gently. But take care  that you are not tempted to do that wrongly yourselves.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

We need to care for the older people of our nation - it is their right and our duty!

If it isn't being done then we need to start doing some 'correcting' (the right way) - don't we?

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