Sunday, 10 April 2011
Britain, a country with an old journalist called Hunter Davies, an idea called 'The Big Society' and many 'Banks of Mum and Dad'
I said "Happy Birthday" to the he 75 year old journalist, Hunter Davies, in January :
Hunter is an old man after my own heart. This is how he describes his writing room :
'Photos lie, for this makes my room look neater, more organised. I always feel I live in chaos, with all my collections, too many projects on the go at the same time, a book a year for 40 years, plus columns, no gaps, no time to breathe or clear up in between. Yet it looks sort of civilised.'
* to the right, unseen, on another desk, he has a real computer, dust covered, unused
and once a year, his children show him how to use it, then he forgets.
* he loves his ancient 'Amstrad PCW 9512', which 'does for him' and when it packs up, it's going to the 'Victoria and Albert Museum', probably with him as well.
* the fire is real and he lights it in the Christmas Holidays and toasts marshmallows and chestnuts with his grandchildren.
* his telly is hidden behind the desk and all he watches is football.
* the crumpled rug hides little red stains and he watches the football drinking Beaujolais and denies there's any connection.
* the shelves to the right are all football books, the boots are Alex James's - not his actual ones, but a genuine 1930s pair - stamped with his name, proving that star players lending their name did not begin with Becks; the modern football is signed by Gazza; the left shelves are all Beatles books.
All this brings me to Hunter's article in his 'Mean With Money' column in 'The Sunday Times Newspaper' today, entitled :
The Big Society? Look no further
As usual, his points which made a lot of sense, when he said that :
* he had helped his children and grandchildren financially and that 'it had been a pleasure to help. In fact, I see it as a duty, when you get old, to spread it around if you can.'
* 'if I look round at most of my contemporaries, or read the papers, most of my generation is doing much the same, to a lesser or greater extent.'
* 'The Bank of Mum and Dad is the country's most solid, most active, most generous lender. As a provider of beds, we make the Hilton Chain look titchy. The Sally Army has nowhere near as many free food kitchens.'
* 'politicians are always going on that oldies are going to be a burden, living ten years longer than before, how selfish can you get, cluttering up the hospitals - but this is not quite the case'.
* 'we are older but also fitter, healthier and happier, if you believe all the surveys. And also many of us, better off. And of course, terribly kind and generous.'
* 'The country needs us, not just our grandchildren. The state is not going to help the next generation. We are the Big Society. Thank you.'
P.S. David Cameron, floating his idea of 'The Big Society' before the last election :