It’s my Opinion

THERE has been at lot of chat about how badly pensioners were treated last month’s budget.

Some seem to think George Osborne has singled the older generation out for special attention, leading to them describing it as a ’granny tax.’

And yet, the same senior citizens are actually in receipt of a rise, not similarly awarded to those still in employment.

Interestingly, much of the chat I hear comes from older people in local pubs, where they loudly proclaim their unhappiness about the treatment accorded them by the chancellor.

The same pubs pretty well charge what they like, yet are still frequented by the pensioners I associate with.

The price of booze, or the poor way they have been treated certainly did not seem to affect the four retired ladies I met on a recent journey to Dundee who, bound for Glasgow, were displaying a remarkable disregard for saving money. Between Aberdeen and Stonehaven they demolished two bottles of wine, freeing up their tongues for the rest of the journey.

Having to get off at Dundee spoiled my day, given the interest I had ear-wigging the group’s fascinating dialogue.

For starters this well heeled quartet seemed to have holidayed in every European country and stayed in the best hotels in the UK since retiring.

So for all of you who believe pensioners are up against it, have a second think, given the ‘loads of lolly’ discussion that floated in the hour long trip.

As I left my seat I inadvertantly banged my table when folding it up, causing one of the ladies to jump in surprise, and before I could help myself said: “I hope that’s not the biggest thrill you are going to get this weekend?”

She looked me square in the eye as only a flirtatious 65 year old lady can and replied: “There’s nae chance of that.”

I fled for my life - it seemed the most sensible thing to do.

Once safely on the platform I got to thinking on just how privileged some of my age group are. Being able to do as we please is well and fine, but then we must have the money to meet our aspirations.

It seems though that most of the retired people I know are reasonably well off, able to jet off almost at will anywhere on the globe, though I will concede there are those facing dire times with no works pension, and a small old age pension.

I am therefore sorry if my ramblings about the more fortunate cause offence. It was never my intention, particularly as I have the greatest sympathy for anyone living below the bread line in an area where there is considerable wealth.

Perhaps Mr Osborne did get it wrong, but then the Tory party never did give the poor a fair deal - especially this desperately out of touch one we are lumbered with just now.

On a more personal level I can’t really complain. How else could I afford to have a night cap in an Inverness hotel bar when in the fastest growing city in the UK for a funeral? I ordered a double malt of my choice - not a top of the range one - only to be told that would be 12.60.

If semi-retired pensioners can spend this kind of cash, surely we don’t have a problem.