Up Front 02/04

The story of campaigning pensioner Albert Venison has made many headlines recently. His efforts to make the Government understand the plight of pensioners who are asked to absorb council tax increases far in excess of inflation, has resulted in much media attention. Albert’s efforts are an inspiration to the least mobile and yet most at risk group in our society. The over 60s now make up 20 per cent of the national population and that percentage will increase when the ‘baby-boomer’ generation reaches retirement age. Today’s pensioners are the founders of the welfare state, faithfully paying into government tax funds all their lives. Many now feel they have to take action, even threatening to break the law by not paying their council tax. Children are growing up in the knowledge that their grandparents break the law, believing the law doesn’t care for them. If this is the case why should our children have any faith in any law? Is it any wonder the percentage of voters dwindles, when those we vote for can’t help those most in need. Albert Venison highlights the fact that we can afford to spend vast sums of money on war but can’t pay our citizens a decent pension and protect them from tax hikes. The sad fact is that politics is a short term business, and though many good men and women have entered the fray, the battle to survive what is called the ‘game of politics’ takes up so much energy and time, that real work simply gets sidelined.