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A safe form of upper middle class ‘radicalism’? October 11, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Reading about Peter Sissons, the former newscaster who died this last week I was struck by the following:

After leaving the [BBC] in 2009, he became one of a number of former prominent newsreaders who took the opportunity to repeatedly criticise his former employer, accusing of it of leftwing bias and excessive political correctness while expressing his exasperation with its bureaucracy.
He became a prominent external critic of the BBC’s decision to accept the growing scientific consensus on the severity of the climate crisis, writing that the “BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus”. Sissons suggested that producers spent too long reading the Guardian’s science coverage rather than seeking alternative views.

What is it about some men of a certain age, an age I’m moving towards by the by, turning 54 this very month, who seem to gravitate towards climate denial? Part of me wonders is it a sort of faux-radicalism? Something that demands literally nothing of them whatsoever but about which they can, as it were, ‘virtue signal’ (let’s take that phrase back for ourselves) to their peers?


1. alanmyler - October 11, 2019


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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2019

+1. You and me both!

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2. Saints and Scholars - October 11, 2019

Nor even some of us who have slipped past 60. Same phenomenon applies to Brexit. A lot of grumpy old men floating around. Retirement, not being integral to the flow, hurts some people more than they anticipate. Being curmudgeonly is a product of the world happening elsewhere and bypassing them – and a response to that. Women seem to achieve a more serene glidepath to that landing zone (there I’ve succumbed to the cliché) of old age. Men seem to prefer to enter tunnels. (Aaagh, done it again!)

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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2019

yeah that makes a lot of sense to me. Retirement is a tricky. I’m not going to be doing that til 65/66/67 but I’ve already started thinking about it and what – if I make it that far (fingers crossed) – I’ll do with it. So I can understand how some people do get hurt by it.


alanmyler - October 11, 2019

It’s a mad one isn’t it. Sort of sneaks up on you and suddenly wham, there it is on the horizon, just a decade and a bit away. I have to say it was herself going to a TUI talk about pensions that put it into our radar last year, up until then I’d given it very little thought. I’ve no grand plans myself mind you, other than catching up on lots of reading, and doing a bit of cycling. I had this vague notion of retiring to Italy and joining the local PCI branch but I’m not sure how practical than is as a plan tbh.

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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2019

Actually that sounds like a good plan, albeit one that would have worked better thirty odd years ago (at least politically!). I know exactly what you mean, it really does sneak up. Twenty years is one thing. Fifteen or less completely different.

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Alibaba - October 11, 2019

I asked a friend recently what’s she doing on retirement and I got this response: “I’m swanning around” meaning doing whatever takes her fancy. The same question to another friend led to his reply: “I did f**k all for the first six months and now I’m taking my leisure considering what to do next”. That makes sense to me, as does getting financial advice beforehand on how to pull down a good pension. One thing all retirees I know do share in common, they go travelling. It could be walking the dog in local parks, taking a train to Galway for lunch with a relative or short trips to Europe on cultural or walking holidays. I suppose chillin out matters more than I thought.

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3. An Sionnach Fionn - October 11, 2019

I find myself growing more radical with age as I have become more financially secure and less worried about the potential effects of having strong opinions. Which is the opposite of how it’s supposed to work!

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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2019

That can happen too. Though I think in truth the political area we’d be in also has an impact. It’s difficult to be a republican and not have a social angle to that.

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4. Saints and Scholars - October 11, 2019

Well I have been lucky enough to have had either a retirement or semi-retirement since age 49 and 3/4 in 2006, with 90% retirement applying since 2015 and finance not an issue.

A lot of good thoughts here.

The issue I have had to come to terms with most (despite 13 years of practice) is feeling as fulfilled in the use of time as when working full time. I would encourage all to look really hard into your own psyches in your planning and what drives you, excites and fulfills and interrogate that again and again.

It is great to have control over time and a lot of time that is genuinely free time. But, work isn’t just a chore. As well as providing money, it keeps us occupied five days a week, gives identity, legitimacy and purpose and that is hard to replicate. I suppose also its important that work is an anteroom only to retirement whereas retirement is an anteroom to something more bleak and preceded by various ailments and infirmities that portend the end product!

I would counsel exercise strongly as keeping age and ailment at bay, volunteering (there are so many opportunities and I have found every one developmental to some degree) but also preserve some straightforward “dossing” or “me” time (I include reading this blog in that category, sorry, but it is well worthwhile!) which is supposed to be the core of what retirement is about and mind your families and friends. Nurture, don’t just presume the continuity and substance of relationships.

But, in summary think hard and, yes, do plan the money end in granular not impressionistic terms. Know how much you spend and need now in specific terms as a foundation.

All of this is kind of obvious but, with a head start, it is genuine disinterested counsel. Good news though, on balance and its not 51/49 by any means, its a positive experience.

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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2019

Many thanks for that. A lot to think about there. Genuinely very useful.


5. Saints and Scholars - October 12, 2019

Couple of final “supplementaries” and then I will shut up.

First, often spoken of in this blog is the garden. One is nearer God’s heart in a garden and all the other laudatory clichés apply. We are lucky enough to have space for outdoor patch and a decent tunnel and enjoy the fruits from May (asparagus) right through October. Only thing to watch is that it should be a servant rather than a master. I have spent much unnecessary time and thought agonising about when and whether to be away during the summer to minimise waste and disruption in the garden.

Second, again kind of obvious, but building in regular routines and rituals whether daily, weekly or more seasonal that replicate to some degree the predictability and structure of working life without amounting to the same implied “captivity”.

And finally, there is so much wonderful stuff that is free. Clare has a wonderful library service. The parkrun on Saturday (mushrooming across the nation but still undersold and undersung) and (repeating) volunteering where, in most cases most of the time, the gold of giving far exceeds the effort and commitment, aside from the value of social contact. With the free time we have it is only opportunity, not chore.

Now I will shut up.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - October 12, 2019

You don’t have to shut up! This is interesting. But just a quick point before I head out, that point about gardens not being the master rings very true to me.


alanmyler - October 12, 2019

Comrades, we should stop the retirement discussion, it’s bad enough that the CLR is sometimes slagged off as bring a Haven for middle aged men, but if anyone catches on they we’re discussing retirement now… 😀


Jim Monaghan - October 12, 2019

Don’t worry, Alan. The next bout of pension reform, will redefine us all as young, too young to retire.

Liked by 1 person

alanmyler - October 12, 2019

Thrresya cheery thought Jim 😭


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