November 2005


So it is decreed (well, ok, ‘leaked’) that we will all have to work until we are 67 years old if we wish to receive the government’s pension. Fair enough, I suppose, the number of elderly people of what was formerly known as Pensionable Age is clearly increasing, and the number of children isn’t keeping pace.

However!

When I was young I was told I would be able to retire at 60. Given that most women receive lower wages and salaries then men do (often for the same job) there seemed to be some sense in that, although historically it was more likely that on average a wife would be five years younger than her husband so the five-year difference in retirement ages meant they would retire together.

Then the government, forced by various complaints that this difference was “unfair to men” announced that the retirement ages for both genders would be equalised and, surprise surprise, everyone’s age would be at the (then) upper figure of 65, rather than some intermediate figure which might balance the savings from women retiring later and men retiring earlier.

As it happens, the schedule for increasing the retirement age for women from 60 to 65 affects me a lot. I am – by just a few months – at the age where my retirement age jumped the full five years.

And now, according to the press, it will jump another two as “[the change] will affect everyone under 50”.

Anyone want to take a guess at what age I will actually reach “retirement age” by the time I get to be that age? So far each time each time I get older it moves further away!

So Jack Straw, our esteemed Foreign Secretary, has attached Sir Christopher Meyer, an ex ambassador, over his memoirs on the grounds that he considers them an “unaccaptable breach of trust”.

So Mr Straw appears to be suggesting that civil servants; people who work for or on behalf of the State, should not get involved in politics or express their opinions.

Is he a member of the same political party that was pressuring senior members of the Police Service – surely one of the most substantial groups of people working on behalf of the state – to support his party’s desire to extend the period someone could be held without charge to three months? The same party that was welcoming such comments from the Police?

Makes one question in whose trust the people should place themselves, and what one can believe when politicians complain, doesn’t it …

I’ve been watching the story unfold over the day about this man who, it was reported, has been “falsely using the name Christopher Edward Buckingham” which he “stole” from a baby, indeed it was suggested that he had stolen the baby’s identity and had done so for the last 23 years.

The present law in this country though permits someone to change their name through deed poll, statutory declaration, or just by common usage so long as it isn’t done for “pecuniary advantage” and despite the man’s ex-wife saying she was “deceived” by him and, like the police, wants to know his “real name” I can’t see what all the fuss is about. If she had known him by a different name wouldn’t he smell as sweet? Would it have made any difference to her life? Of course not; she met someone and if his choice of name was the top item in her decision as to whether to marry him or not then I’d suggest she has far bigger problems!

The police, meanwhile, insist he “must have something to hide” and, again, want to know his “real” name. “For some value of real” would seem to be the issue raised here again, as if someone has been known as Mr. X for 23 years then, even if not born with that name, how is it any less real than the name they started out with? Presumably he paid his taxes, his bank charges, his tv licence and passport fee. All he is guilty of seems to be trying to make the name a little more “official” by makig a false application to get a passport in that name. If he had used either of the methods which give an official record of the name change he could quite happily have got a passport in exactly the same name as he has been using for those 23 years without a problem.

Well I’ve been blogging about my life, my friends, politics and other world events – with a London bias – for some years now, but not under my meat-world name.

So it was about time I changed that, and playing with the Flock Developer Preview provided the impetus to do so. There used to be a “blogger” blog lying around somewhere, but I can’t trace the password (and asking their system to email me a replacement is producing a whole lot of nothing so I guess the mail address I used then isn’t hitting my servers anymore) so here I am, looking out over London from on top of a hill.

Welcome ;-P