MESSAGE TO 18-24-YEAR-OLDS

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They say that in a democracy, you get the government you vote for. It’s a debatable point particularly when you use first past the post voting system.

But what is certainly also true is that if you don’t vote you may get the government [or council] you didn’t vote for.

Everyone is entitled to a vote, to a say in how their local or central government is run. Male and female, religious and not religious, straight and gay, rich and poor, black and white and OLD and YOUNG.

In Scottish elections young starts at 16; in English 18… and lasts till you die.

It’s a privilege that many people across the world don’t have, and I’ve always used it.

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This IPSO Mori shows the proportion of people in different age groups (among other classifications) who voted.

So 43% of people 18-24 voted in the 2015 election. That means that 57% didn’t.

At the other end of the age spectrum, 78% of the 65+ group voted and only 22% didn’t.

So maybe you got the government your parents or grandparents wanted.

Nothing wrong with that if you agree with their politics.

But if you prefer your own politics to theirs, maybe you should make the effort to get out there on election day…local or UK… and vote for YOUR choice.

Otherwise, don’t complain when the government enacts policies best suited to older people. And yes, VAT going up will affect you, as will whether or not we can continue to provide free university education, whether we get a decent Brexit that will allow you to study abroad, or even go on holiday, whether there are jobs, what the income tax rate will be, housing and transport… Well, most stuff really.

After all, if you can’t be bothered giving up 5 minutes to vote, you can’t be very interested in your future. So having your grandparents’ choice won’t bother you much.

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But seriously, would you let them pick your car, your clothes, what music you listen to?

SOPPY SUNDAY

 

n big mouth
I’m auditioning for the teeth in  “grandma, what big teeth you have” in panto this year.
n cyprus
Oil Seed in Cyprus.
N badger
And they are culling them in England. Imagine killing off this beauty.
nsahara2
Early morning ride in the Sahara.
n grasshopper warbler
Grasshopper Warbler.
N Ice
Northern Iceland in winter.
N Kisimul Castle Barra
Kisimul Castle, Barra.
n mili
I don’t REALLY have a thousand legs. More like 60.
N stonehenge
Stonehenge, England.
N Strokkur Geyser
Strokkur Geyser, Iceland.
n puppy1
Leaves are good toys for little dogs.
n moonrise
Moonrise.
n sealife
We never seem to do underwater wildlife on SS.
npiglet
Piglet.
n philippines
Waterfall in Philippines.
nbaby_orangutan
Here I am.
The Wider Image: Best foot forward
Lampang Elephant Hospital in Thailand is running out of funds. Link below.
ncalf
Moooooooooooooooo!
nor0
This is my human.
nor
Hmmmm… Sometimes I sits and thinks… and sometimes I just sits.

 

IT’S ALMOST LIKE SHE WAS McTESSY MacMAY, HOOTS!

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The UK prime minister is visiting Scotland today, and apparently, Ruth Davidson has announced that she is more in touch with Scots than Nicola is.

“My message to the people of Scotland today is clear: if you vote for me it will strengthen my hand in the Brexit negotiations. It will strengthen the Union, strengthen the economy and together the UK and Scotland will ­flourish. Because when Scotland is 
flourishing, the rest of the United Kingdom is flourishing too.”

According to The Scotsman, this is what Mrs May is expected to say.

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So I assume, as she is so in touch and at one with ordinary Scots, she will be addressing mass rallies of us Jocks in shopping malls and factories and taking questions from ordinary, non-selected members of the public, unlike in England where she has been speaking in factories, after 6 o’clock when everyone but a select few has gone home. Right?

Well, maybe she will, and maybe she won’t

We just don’t know.

ATARTON

I’ve tried to find out where she will be campaigning so that I could go along and ask her a few questions about things that concern me… you know, food banks, rape clauses, retirement pensions, the fearsome amount of money that is being wasted on one of the royal families’ five London palaces, the eye-watering amount we can afford to spend on Westminster renovations, the scandal of the NHS underfunding, how she explains the £350 million a week figure, why she did a reverse ferret on how dangerous Brexit would be, why she invited the orange faced moron on a state visit in his first year, why she got positively incandescent when she thought that the word Easter had been left out of an Egg challenge designed to make money for Cadbury in the same week that she played nice with a barbaric regime that executes people for being Christians, but buys a lot of British weapons with which they can kill children….etc, etc.

Just little points that I’m sure she has answers to. Becasue, you see, if she understands us Scots so well, she will understand that we need answers to these questions.

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Incidentally, looking at the Tory faces in our parliament as member after member across the political divide pointed out how utterly inhuman the Tory Rape Clause is, how people shaking with emotion castigated the heartless unfeeling lying Tory benches, I wonder if the polls may have got it wrong again.

PROMISE ON PENSIONS?

Margaret Thatcher began her pension reforms with the Social Security Act of 1980. This saw the correlation between average earnings and state pension increases severed, with the aim to reduce public spending. Pensions were treated like unemployment and sickness benefits (generally accepted as being short-term in nature) and increased in line with inflation.

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Inevitably this meant that the value of state pensions, like other “benefits” reduced over time and the UK system is now one of the least generous, when compared with average earnings, in the developed world. Despite great pressure from people like Barbara Castle, the Labour governments from 1997 – 2010 did nothing to reverse this. The “triple lock” (meaning that pensions should rise by, inflation, average earnings or 2%, whichever was the greatest) was introduced by the Cameron-Clegg government in 2011 as a way to try to redress this and, unless I’m misreading her, Theresa has not ruled out, indeed has hinted at, its abolition.

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It is said that Britain cannot afford even this niggardly pension due to the rise in the number of people annually reaching retirement age, and their propensity, having reached it, to live much longer than they used to. It is true that pensions cost over £100 billion a year, and that due to mismanagement of finances over the years, not a single penny of this is “funded”. In short, it has to come out of current taxation. Apparently, no one had the foresight to account for the inevitable ageing of the baby boomers or, despite it being a gradual process, the lengthening of life expectancy.

Of course, the pension age is rising to 66 by 2020, and then to 68 by 2028… and presumably on an ever upward trajectory as life expectation rises. But this will make little difference to the overall cost, as vast numbers of 60+ people are unemployed and although life expectancy has increased, people are not necessarily proportionally healthier as they grow older.

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I was somewhat surprised to see the Express’s front page story about Mrs May being more popular than any other prime minister since Churchill on the basis of her pensions pledge. I thought what she said was pretty ambiguous.

Of course pensions will rise. Even under Mrs Thatcher they rose. But Hammond has hinted that they may be subject to the same sort of restraints as other benefits…ie a reduction in real value.

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All is not lost though. If you wish to do well as an OAP you could do worse than become an MP. They seem to have received generous pay increases in the recent past, and of course, at £300 a day, a peer of the realm is well rewarded for snoozing his life away.

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