Monday, 4 July 2011


The publication of the report by economist Andrew Dilnot on social care which proposes a cap on contributions by older people is very welcome in bringing to the fore a huge issue which is ignored by most of us, quite reasonably because it doesn't affect us but which will be something we will all have to face in the future.

Doubtless Ed Milispoons will say the government is not going far enough and Ed Balls will say that this is what Labour planned all along. Tories will say we can't afford this. Lib Dems will hopefully welcome the report and say its a good starting point for discussions. The hope is that this does not become a political issue.

And I paused there to hoot with laughter and wipe away the tears running down my face...

We're generally getting older, we are mostly healthier for longer and the costs of social care have ballooned in the past two decades. The answer seems obvious to me

The pension age of 65 for men was set at a time when most men died well before this age. The social security system devised by the brilliant William Beveridge was meant to be supported by contributions from all of us. We've all just got to face up to working longer and expect the politicians to devise a system which can support us all in the future - a system which doesn't rely on private equity or offshore banks or PFI deals but a sensible, sustainable system which ignores the chaotic sophistry of private finance and relies on the common sense of, say, mutual principles or building societies, none of which failed during the financial crash.

If those politicians can't or won't, they should perhaps step aside and allow others to do it. And I'm not thinking about the hopeless Milispoons or the failed Balls. I rather like the idea of a committee of experts, perhaps elected for, say, 15 years to what we could call a 'second chamber' where they can set aside political ambition to allow them to do some thinking for a change and hopefully come up with a few answers to huge problems like social care.

I really don't live in the real world, do I?

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