This government is fond of telling us that “we are all living longer”. It’s a handy justification for the raising of the retirement age. Even people who ought to know better will accept this statement without criticism and will repeat it as though it was holy writ. But it’s a lie.
The truth is that “we” are not living longer and people die at all ages. Tell the parents of a child who has just died of leukemia or the family who has just lost their 25-year-old son in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan that “we are all living longer” and see how far you get. The newspapers are full of stories of people who have died well before the state retirement age. None of this has registered with the Social Darwinists in government, who all continue to repeat the same lie.
I lost my mother to multiple myeloma in 1994. She was only 62 years old. That’s hardly a ripe old age. So, no, “we” are not living longer. It’s only government ministers who make this claim. What they should say is “life expectancy has increased because of medical science” but it is by no means a universal that everyone is living longer, nor is it a justification to force people to continue working in physically demanding jobs till they drop. I mean, can you see Andrew Lansley or Jacob Rees-Mogg carrying bricks around a building site till they’re 90? No? Neither can I.