21 April 2015

State pension: still below the poverty line

I am re-posting this piece from 2011 as, despite any changes in the system since it was first published, the comments are as relevant as before.

From time to time someone complains that the state pension, together with the means-tested part, is becoming less and less adequate to cover the most obvious, basic costs of keeping physically alive.
A pension of £10,000 a year will barely cover the basics such as food, fuel and utility bills. It is below the minimum income standard set by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which estimates somebody needs at least £14,400 a year to escape poverty ... The full basic state pension is £97.65 a week [i.e. £5,078 per annum].
(Daily Mail, 30 March 2011.)
The fact that a means-tested supplement to the pension is available will never be any good to me, or to anyone who is here now, because we would not apply for a means-tested benefit even if we became eligible for it. One simply would never have anything to do with what could only be got by exposing oneself to scrutiny and ‘assessment’.

Throughout the four decades when I paid in voluntary contributions for myself, and encouraged everyone here to do the same, I did so because the eventual pension would be ‘as of right’ and not to any extent means-tested, even if what was paid out ‘as of right’ was at the whim of the government.

I see also from today's Mail that pensioners with savings who go into ‘care homes’ will find themselves paying more, to subsidise those who do not have to pay fees because they do not have savings. That is better, at any rate, than making all pensioners, whether they are in ‘care homes’ or not, pay a tax to the government to subsidise those who go into these ‘homes’, as was at one time suggested.

Making people pay for living in these prison-homes is all right if that is really what they choose for themselves, i.e. provided they cannot be forced to go into a state (or private) death camp against their will, but can be left alone to starve to death at home if they prefer. Unfortunately, I believe this is not the case, and pensioners can easily be ‘sectioned’, or the current equivalent thereof, by a couple of authorised medical sadists (doctors). Even if not legally coerced in this way, I doubt whether many in ‘care homes’ could be said to have chosen what they are being forced to undergo.

I appeal for financial and moral support in improving my position. I need people to provide support both for fund-raising, and as temporary or possibly long-term workers. Those interested should read my post on interns.

11 April 2015

Still an ideological closed shop

In 2007, someone commented, on my colleague Dr Fabian Wadel’s blog, about one of my books which they had bought, and its apparent history: being presented to the library at the Institute of Education in London, then being immediately dumped on the used book market. The book (Advice to Clever Children) being to some extent about the real-life educational experiences of a high-IQ person, one might have thought the Institute of Education would consider it at least of empirical interest, but evidently not so.

The person who bought the book wrote that, having read it,
I can tell you that — if what you describe is true — any academic library would rather accept 10 complimentary copies of Mein Kampf than anything by Celia Green — an ideological closed shop after all.
At the time, I wrote on my own blog about the ‘ideological closed shop’ and about the way the commenter seemed to regard it as objectionable but unsurprising. It has always struck me as strange how many people accept radical features of the modern ideology — the restriction of liberties, the obvious bias of the academic establishment, the withdrawal of rights such as paid-for pension entitlements, and so on — as though there was nothing very shocking about them.

There seems to me to be a danger in being too ready to accept, even regretfully, a negative situation simply because it appears to derive legitimacy from being endorsed by those in power.

I was recently reminded of my 2007 post about this (‘Are my books ideological anathema?’) by the fact that it seemed to receive a large number of hits for some reason. My blog seems to attract increasing numbers of visitors these days. However, as I commented to an academic acquaintance this week,
although the number of hits on my blog has more than trebled since the blog piece was posted, the discrimination against us remains as entrenched as ever.