So I get in the car in the morning yesterday and find that our great-leader-to-be, Mr. Cameron (and surely they are cloud-cuckoos in sky-blue-pink fantasies if there are people who think otherwise), is due to postpone my pension by a year, and that my struggle to reach my sixty-fifth birthday will now need to be followed by a titanic new effort to reach my sixty-sixth birthday instead (which means outliving my father). Worse than that, I think it is probably a wise decision. It does stick in my craw to agree with Tory policy, and it won’t bring me any nearer to voting for them, but if we are all growing older, then I guess our extra years have to be paid for somehow. To be perfectly honest, I am, like most people, ignorant of what is promised me as an OAP (perhaps nothing, not even a bus-pass, which I think I read was also under threat), and also largely ignorant of how I will have come to get what I get. I know there are hotlines you can ring, and that they will tell you what you can expect, but – ah, what the blazes, I will just go on.
I am glad, however, that the Irish have scuppered the anti-European plot. It is true that the EU is a gigantic bureaucracy, and that it has pretensions (else why would Tony Blair be interested?), but I have been in favour of a federal Europe since I was fourteen and read a book called The Devolution Of Power, and I am not about to change now. It was written by a Labour MP called John Mackintosh in the late 1960s, and it all made perfect sense. If we are obliged to cooperate with our neighbours, then we will never be quite as rude as if we are not. It won’t cure all racial and ethnic hatred, but it will help. Quite why we need a separate currency eludes me.
Perhaps, if I hang on, my pension will be in euros.