Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Help the Aged? Yeees, Sort Of

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Help the Aged? Yeees, Sort Of

Article excerpt

In the golden age of British politics, it was considered the height of vulgarity to discuss affairs of state from the beginning of June to the end of November.

Summer meant "the season" -Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon and Glyndebourne, plus a delightful round of stately-home house parties, with all the muff-diving one's heart could desire.

Therefore, when on 4 July Andrew Dilnot announced the findings of his Commission on the Care of the Extremely Decrepit, my first reaction was one of disgust, for it is clear that, once again, lefties like Dildo were trying to undermine one of our nation's fundamental principles - family is sacred and we take care of our own.

I understand that George Osborne is wary of agreeing to Doughnut's proposals and he is right to be so. Readers of this rag may avow that [pounds sterling]35,000 is a small price to pay to avoid funding one's parents' long-term needs, but how many of you junior polytechnic lecturers have any idea what [pounds sterling]35,000 even smells like?

Let me tell you, I do not intend to waste the price of a first-class, round-the-world air ticket on my mother's selfish needs.

When the time comes, as soon it must, when she loses the will to live - perhaps when her car fails its MOT or that damp patch in her wine cellar resists treatment - then I'll help her to face the end of days serenely in Switzerland, where I have a financial interest in a chain of "drive in, get carried out" centres. …

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