One of the governments arguements for the upcoming pension reforms and their reasoning behind making us work longer, for less is apparently due to us all now living longer.
So at our branch meeting one of our comrades raised the point has anyone actually proved this. It is very subjective as i will outline below and you cant just throw around such a statement.
Whilst it may be true some of us may be living longer, It is hard to prove this.
The three big reasons that people in the UK are living increasingly longer lives are:
1.Food supply and nutrition
These three things have all seen marked improvements in standards since the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, another important factor is our knowledge of their importance to our health and life expectancy, and of the steps we can take to ensure that we lead a healthy lifestyle. Our access to relevant information has also improved dramatically as a result of scientific research and methods of information dissemination (e.g. the Internet).
The packaging of food products at increasing numbers of shops and supermarkets displays the nutritional content of food and uses colour coding so that we know whether it is good for us. The importance of eating a balanced diet is widely known.
Government and charity websites provide information about the lifestyle choices we can make in order to reduce our risk of developing diseases. The effect that smoking cigarettes can have on our health is widely advertised, and warnings included on packaging. In the UK, a smoking ban in public places has been introduced and the age at which young people can buy cigarettes has been raised to 18 years.
Adverts on buses and tubes inform us of the importance of washing our hands and covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze in order to reduce the spread of illnesses and diseases. Health and safety legislation provides strict regulations for hygiene in restaurants, hospitals and factories.
But following a healthy lifestyle is still a choice that we make, and not everyone chooses or is able to do so.
Cultural Understanding and Diversity
This is key to my point really that as we live in a class based system under capitalism not everyone has the luxury of eating the healthy food all the time or can afford the best in housing and living conditions.
As i previously blogged about before about the documentary poor kids on the BBC a few weeks ago it can dramatically affect how long you are likely to live depending on where you live in the country and the make up of the area you live in.
So for example there will be a stark contrast between someone living in Knightsbridge in London from someone living in Glasgow in a working class area.
It is important to stress these points when the government is trying hard to push through these pension reforms which will leave many working longer, getting less and a worse off pension as a result.
So i'm opening this up now can the government or anyone else find quantitive evidence that proves we are all living longer than ever before so we need to work longer.
Another point is if we are having to work longer to claim our pension it is our pension they are not wanting us to have because realistically although there may be exceptions like the 73 year old man who still works as a builder or the old example of someone who smokes 30 fags a day and drinks lots and lives till they are 99. You will always find exceptions to any rule but generalising and saying we all live longer now where some do not and some families never live that old due to various reasons is it not safe to say this arguement the government are trotting out is a bit misleading.
So therefore i will be supporting thursdays June 30th strikes as i believe a public sector workers pension is just as important to us and the long term future of this country. It has been proven these pensions are very affordable and backed up by the daily telegraph not known for lending support to the public sector.
But if we can afford more money to be spent on illegal wars and occupations and new nuclear deterents we can surely afford for our hard working public sector workers including teachers and civil servents who keep this country going in many ways.