A few days ago I was disappointed to learn that, yet again, England’s elderly are being nudged to give up their houses to live in flats. What’s worse, they are expected to work in their dotage.
The excuse offered is that their houses are ‘prisons’ and that work can provide outlets for companionship. Give over!
My three posts on the topic explain more about this appalling idea:
I’ve said ‘Britain’, although I have since read that this programme may be intended only for England. It beggars belief that the Tories have hired an adviser to Tony Blair — David Halpern — to put forward this plan, which Housing Minister Grant Shapps endorses. Redbridge Council are currently trialling it.
After all the loyalty England’s elderly have shown the Conservative Party, this is what they get in return?
I’ve highlighted articles from the Telegraph in my posts and read the approximately 4,000 comments following them. Most readers agree that this is a parlous notion, yet, those supporting it say that it pertains only to certain situations involving the elderly.
Surely, taking the decision to sell or rent one’s house is something which our elders have been doing for generations, so why not leave it to them and their families? ‘Oh, but you see, we need that housing stock now.’ Too bad. The elderly did not create a situation of unlimited immigration, so why should they be expected to pay the consequences for it? Instead, why not make it less attractive for so many newcomers to arrive on our shores? The UK would not be the first nation in history to disregard treaties made over the years. Yet, our politicians don’t seem to care. They appear to care more for strangers than they do for people whose families have lived here for generations, if not centuries.
The localism aspect is also important. Should Redbridge Council find this pilot programme a success, it could spread to other councils around the country. Localism gives councils the freedom to tweak programmes as necessary. Consider how our rubbish collections differ; we have no uniform method there, not even in terms of bin colour. So, how does a council define the relationship between the elderly homeowner and their house? For those who find this alarmist, think of what this scheme could look like in 10, 20, 30 years’ time. Who would have thought 20 years ago that in the 21st century our rubbish would be picked up only fortnightly and that every house would have an assortment of bins in order to notionally save the planet?
This is where the kulaks enter the discussion. I’ve explained their story in my second post. At first, these enterprising yet middling farmers were viewed suspiciously by the Soviet authorities. Later, the authorities forced them off their land and, in some instances, they were executed by the State or killed by baying mobs. No one was even clear on what constituted a kulak, and the criteria differed from place to place. Generally, it was an independent farmer who had more property than was considered ‘normal’. Well, who defines ‘normal’ and what is ‘normal’? Does — and would — the definition change over time?
Therefore, the ethics involving English elderly, property ownership and control over one’s personal life are up for consideration. As other bloggers have pointed out, people living alone are not necessarily lonely. Their houses are not ‘prisons’, as Grant Shapps has said, but homes — castles — full of memories, security and comfort. Furthermore, why would the State expect a lifelong taxpayer to begin working again — especially under the guise of finding companionship? Another peculiar idea. Also, we have so few jobs available today that work is an absurd suggestion, even for those pensioners who would like to re-enter the job market.
And what of personal property? It seems as if Dr Halpern and his think tank mates would like to disabuse us of the notion that our property is ours. Last autumn, I had read that there is a new trend in the West supported by the elites which is designed to make people feel guilty about their property and possessions so that the end result would be that no one would ever think that what they had worked for was really their own. Ideally, we would share everything communally. And now it seems that, even in retirement, our time cannot truly be our own. The Government wants a piece of that, too. What a chilling thought.
Of course, the elites — including Dr Halpern — will never have to worry about that eventuality. ‘For thee, but not for me’. Do you think Mr Cameron will be asking his widowed mother to give up her property for ‘families in need’? I doubt it very much.
It would also be interesting to know if any special interests are involved in this ‘nudge’. A Telegraph reader randomly posted two links possibly referring to Dr Halpern, who looks to be a thirty-something: here and here. Let us hope that there is no connection between them.
Our think tanks, not just in Britain, but elsewhere in the West seem to have increasing influence in driving policy. Our politicians don’t seem to mind it much, either. France’s Terra Nova is another case in point.
The parallels between Terra Nova and the two British think tanks with which Halpern is affiliated, NESTA and the Institute of Government, appear to be turning our society on its head. In France, Terra Nova wants the Socialist Party to drop its support of the working man in favour of immigrants and women, which François Hollande as this year’s PS presidential candidate is eager to do, despite distancing himself from the organisation, originally intended to help Dominique Strauss-Kahn in transitioning from the IMF to PS candidacy. In Britain, the likes of Dr Halpern push their ‘nudges’ with a threat of legislation should we not comply. They are guiding the Conservatives away from their most loyal supporters and backbone of the party, the ‘blue rinse brigade’.
France’s working class and England’s elderly are so last century, don’t you know. It looks as if the elites would like for these two demographic groups to be out of their way.
With all the anti-English sentiment from English politicians, it would appear that this latest scheme for the elderly — who will probably end up living together in colonies with a shuttle bus provided to take them to work every day — is designed to start the process of erasing England from our memory banks. For them, pensioners are a great place to start; after all, they can give you social history from 50, 60, 70 years ago. They can tell you about the national loyalty, the manufacturing industries and orderly society which England took great pride in — and rightly so.
It’s a brave new world, and it’s up to us to resist this increasing encroachment on our elderly, our lives and our dreams.
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