Sunday, June 29, 2008

Equality my arse

Why does no one say it? I was listening to Radio 4's moneybox programme yesterday; which is an admission I didn't want to make but in my defence I was having a bath at the time and I couldn't be bothered to switch to 'trendy FM' or whatever it is people my age are supposed to listen to.

One of the issues addressed was that of the new racist and sexist government proposals, laughably called 'equality legislation' but which, and I say this as a young women who is supposed to need protecting by Harperson and her ilk, is nothing less than offensive and worse, is damaging for businesses and our business mentality.

Timmy has written an excellent piece on the issue of women and pay here, which hits the nail on the head.

But in particular what was being discussed on the radio was that of older people. They were talking about the problems with health insurance, car insurance and holiday insurance and why someone who was 87 wasn't allowed first time holiday insurance to go on his 'trip of a lifetime'. There were Public Affairs chiefs from Help the Aged, people from business, public sector broadcast presenters trying to be unbiased and yet no one would bloody say it.

Look, the reason that old people are undesirable for an insurer to take on is because there's a very great chance of them dying or breaking something. Like a hip.

Take motor insurance. That little guy in the pork pie hat who keeps his indicator on for 26 miles and then who suddenly stops by a grass verge to have a picnic without indicating isn't the safest driver in the world. The fact that he doesn't realise his glasses are still on his bedside table and that isn't really a nice little bunny by the side of the road but a three year old on a tricycle just adds to the fact that an insurance company will find themselves regularly paying out. In much the same way, the 17 year old with a baseball cap and a Nova who hasn't quite worked out that roundabouts may require stopping at and the purpose of driving is to get from A to B not to inform local residents what music you prefer to listen to is not going to be the most profitable for an insurance company and so they charge them more. But you're allowed to charge young people more, because they get away with talking about their 'youthful exuberance'. But no one has the guts to say that many people, past a certain age are to good, aware and sensible driving what the mangle is to the washing machine.

And why should you not charge huge amounts, or refuse insurance to the 112 year old who wants to go to the other side of the world? Chances are something exciting will happen and pop! Ambulances, drips and then funeral costs. It's as sensible as giving anyone on a piste near Dizzy insurance.

I even have bothered to collect data from the ONS, although in true Zanu-Labour style the first thing I could find was 'alcohol related deaths'.

(yes, the tail off at the end is because there are fewer over 85 year olds because most of them have died so that's not a reason for cheaper insurance.)

It's quite clear, and since insurance is provided by private companies they should be able to use data like this and go, 'no thanks' to anyone they don't wish to insure. Or employ, actually.

I can't help but think this legislation was drafted by 'No Win, No Fee' lawyers who advertise in the breaks between Jeremy Kyle and Countdown. It's a wonderful opportunity for people to blame their lack of success on something other than their own incompetence. As I have written before, I find this legislation offensive because what politicians and think tanks and lobbyists appear to be telling me is that because both my chromosomes are the correct length I am in some way dumb and need help to get on in life. A nice job in PR before some city banker makes me an honourable woman (good luck to 'em) as obviously I won't want to work forever. No! Far to taxing for little me.

But all it will do is increase the burden on small businesses already struggling under the weight of legislative incontinence from Westminster and Brussels and provide legal cases for people who think can argue that they need large sums of money not to work because someone sent them a card saying 'over the hill' as a joke on their birthday or someone who still doesn't know how to do all the requirements on their job spec why they didn't get the promotion.

It should be up to businesses who they employ, how much they pay their staff and who they take on as clients just as people should be able to say that old people are a greater risk of dying because they are old. Or is that ageist of me?

1 comment:

Prodicus said...

It'll be a cold day in Hell when insurers fire their actuaries for blocking their social engineering programmes and as a subscriber to the Old Fart Tendency I see no reason why they should do business with me except on their own terms. And I have always resented being made to hire whiskery old farts like myself because, despite Mrs P's determined but wholly unsuccessful efforts to improve my behaviour, I prefer to employ attractive young ladies like your sweet self.