The Generation Game

Posted on: 18 July 2010 by George Pamplin

What is 'the over 50s market', retirement and why are the views of older people so polarised?

Ah, the internet, that bastion of feckless youth. I am on work experience at 50connect and have been asked to contribute to this blog. Now, I have a very fresh outlook on the world: I am 16 years old; I have never had a real job; my grandfather, Tony Page, is managing director - and I agree with about 0.1 percent of the things he has written in his column over the six months it has been running.

Call me naive, call me immature, you could even say I am ignorant - and I'll concede that from time to time I have my moments - but one thing I don't do is make black and white judgements.

To kick off, Raoul Moat. Murderer - fact. Unstable - fact. In need of professional counselling - fact. We have a skewed media view of the Raoul Moat incident, but you have to ask was it really necessary for the police to taser a man twice? Given that the electric shock from a taser is designed to incapacitate by making the victims muscles go into involuntary spasm, was it a good idea to do this to someone who had their finger on the trigger of a shotgun pointed at his neck? Raoul Moat was disturbed and in need of professional help, to demonise him is damning of our society and our willingness to help people when they are most in need.

Looking back over the past few month's blogs I saw that quite a few people felt strongly about benefit cheats and the work shy. I don't doubt that there are people in the UK who routinely try and cheat the system to obtain more than they are entitled to, but there are also many honest people who are caught up in the benefits system by necessity. I have friends who belong to single parent families; whose mother's cannot work because they need to care for their children. These are people right at the bottom of the income scale: rented accommodation (maybe even a council house, heaven forfend) and they make easy targets. In the long run what is better for society? To have these people struggling by themselves to work and at the same time raise a family? To me, this is counter productive as it can result in dysfunctional adults, who in turn become a burden on society - you could use Raoul Moat as an example of this. I don't know the answer to this issue but I know penalising the poorest in our society isn't it either.  

BP in the Gulf of Mexico

It seems to me that people are only concerned about what happens to BP because they have pension income tied to it. Forget the fact that this corporate giant has been responsible for pumping out enough fouled crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico to cover the entire UK about five times. BP embodies all that is wrong with corporate greed and profit at all cost. They aren't alone and it is the actions of these global brands that is destroying the natural balance of the planet. Not content with fishing our oceans dry, conglomerates are also trying to poison them as well. Global warming is a real issue for my generation - what it will be for my children's generation, god only knows. We need action now and if that means penalising or boycotting the likes of BP, then I'm prepared to do my bit.


Afghanistan

Is it right to simply abandon the Afghan people? After the deaths of 300 British soldiers can we allow the country to fall back under the control of the Taliban? One of my cousins is due to go to Afghanistan early next year to join the bomb disposal teams, and I would hate to think that he was going to be part of our nation's abandonment of a country that we have lost the political will to support because there is no quick fix. Maybe we would be making more progress if the government would spend more than the 3% of the UK's aid budget on it.


Young people

Claiming young people don't want to work or have the desire to succeed. Well in my case, touche! I can't imagine I'll ever be as driven as Tony but I don't believe you should be. The world has changed, the way we communicate has changed beyond recognition even within my short lifetime, and the way we work and do business has changed. I could as easily work from home for a company in Australia or China as slog to work in an office in the UK.

So if the youth of today are lazy and apathetic then why am I sitting here on a Sunday morning writing this blog? Or as my five year old cousin has just asked, "Why is granddad too lazy to write his blog, today?" Touche!



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