I’m 71. I used to be younger. I have been younger for longer than I have been 71 so it is no wonder that when I look in the mirror of a morning and see an old, lined face, it comes as something of a surprise.
That would be bad enough but it seems that all of a sudden I’ve become a person of no account, solely because of my age. I am being blamed for the current recession because of the time in which I was born. I am, you see, a baby-
I was born into rationing. For the first years of my life bread and potatoes were rationed. I was nine when sweet rationing ended and a year later, meat came off ration, but that didn’t mean we could afford any more of course. I got engaged and for two years my wife’s wages went into savings. We ended up with enough for the deposit on a little bungalow.
For five years we struggled along, with a little in savings. I then joined the police, which meant a cut in income of about a third, and we got into a bit of debt, which meant getting rid of the car, the TV, holidays, evenings out (that freed up one a month) and my parents giving us food parcels.
Moving county meant that we took out a larger mortgage, which we paid off in 2005.
Yet, it would appear, I am the cause of all the economic ills of this country. It is, somehow, my fault bankers could not master the basics of their role. It is my fault that house-building did not keep pace with demand, it is my fault that kids today refuse to wait the two years I did before moving in with one another, having mobile phones – we did without a land line for two years –
I have a credit card. I use it so infrequently that I struggle to remember the pin. When I used it to pay the deposit on a second-
HM’s uncontactable and, in more ways than one, taxing service decided to fine me many thousands of pounds due to me not complying with an unpublished deadline. They said I didn’t owe it, but if I didn’t pay it within a few days I would be fined £100 a day.
Rather than lose interest on invested savings, I went to my bank and applied for a short term loan. The published interest rate was not available due, I was told, to my lowish credit rating. When I challenged this, saying I was completely out of debt and paid off my credit card on the infrequent occasions when I used it before the end of the month, the loans woman told me, with a rather amused tone, that that was why I had a low credit rating.
So I’m the idiot. I’m the untrustworthy one, because I manage my finances tightly. I fail to see how the present financial crisis is all down to me just because I do not waste money.
What happened to the world when I was busy providing support for my family? It would appear the idiots moved in.