There was a classic example of how attitudes towards older people are slowly and surreptitiously changing in two articles in The Times on 18th September. Two small articles on separate pages which will have gone unnoticed by most people.
Sub-editors are the Twitterati of newspapers. They attempt to capture the eye of the reader but sometimes lose the essence of the article.
The first of these was:-
“Hawking in favour of assisted suicide”
This is another step toward the edge, in a well orchestrated campaign by Lord Faulkner in promoting and seeking public acceptance of his aim to change the law on assisted dying. Yet another celebrity endorsement!
Stephen Hawking is a brilliant example of someone who survived being on a life support machine to go on to write “A Brief History of Time” which sold over 10 million copies. Now at 71 he is persuaded to change his view but as a scientist he is precise with his words, he is talking about the terminally ill and their right to choose.
The second article is about elderly workers. It is a positive report about encouragement being given to employers by Pensions Minister Steve Webb to continue to employ older people. Even so, the debate which took place at the Liberal Democrat Annual Conference is full of reference to the elderly:-
- “Retire and die the next day”
- “Feeling excluded and worthless”
- “demonized as the graph of doom”
Talk about talking yourself into an early grave – the article was written by the Chief Political correspondent, Michael Savage (my emphasis).
Then along come another sub-editor who, in an unfortunately inappropriate headline, maybe captures a portent of the future:-
“Don’t push older workers off the cliff”