Thursday, 28 August 2008


....Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Population Time Bomb

Good old fashioned panic. That’s how almost all the press greeted the latest report from the Office for National Statistics about “greying Britain.”

We’re all doomed! Prepare for a Britain in which pedal-powered ambulances roam the streets with “bring out your old!” sung through a megaphone to the tune of “bring out your dead” by latter-day Baldrick types. Not only will we have run out of oil. We’ll have run out of youth. The number of pensioners already exceeds those under 16. Prepare for the fall out from the explosion of the “population time bomb”.

The Age Concern boss demanded immediate improvement from the NHS in “mental health and foot care.” Imagine hoards of ancient, bewildered bunion-sufferers milling aimlessly in our city centres. Meanwhile young chiropodists – their youth and foot-care expertise prized for their rarity - grow rich on the laws of supply and demand. Elite squads of Para-psycho-feetcarers will be needed, licensed to trim hard-to-reach toenails and offer counselling, but without the credentials to tackle a full on verruca or prescribe valium.

The threat is something we need to deal with now. Old people. These limping crazed crones could destroy life as we know it. According to all the papers they will be forced to work on until their seventies, which means they will take our jobs and…Wait a minute. It’s not them. It’s us. And we’re modern, aren’t we? We grew up with youth culture. Better health care. So why all the fuss? The new old – or a lot of them - will know what they want and won’t be scared to ask for it. A lot will have jobs and a bit of money. And they - sorry we will be in the majority! So lets prepare for a new kind of old age. Ours. (Especially the men, who tended to die before they get old. See book.)

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