The Old Un admired the chutzpah of Emile Ratelband, the Dutchman who’s just failed in his legal bid to change his age from 69 to 49. There’s clearly still plenty of snap in Emile’s celery: he is expecting an eighth child in 2019.
Holland has become the natural home of oldie activism. There’s even a Dutch political party, called 50PLUS, that fights for oldies.
Worried that retirees are being treated as ‘second-class citizens’, 50PLUS has been busily campaigning for pensioners’ rights.
50PLUS has been battling to lower the retirement age to 65, its previous level; it calls the current retirement age of 66 ‘pension robbery’. It wants a fixed number of seats for the elderly on public transport and demands that all trains have lavatories.
The party is also proposing tax incentives to make it more attractive for young people to have their parents live with them. Other policies involve making hiring of older workers easier, and stimulus package to assist and train older workers and increase government hiring of these workers.
50PLUS aren’t keen on Holland’s liberal attitude to drugs, although medicinal cannabis is just fine and should form part of the basic healthcare package.
As demographics change all over Europe and the numbers of pensioners increase, 50PLUS is bound to keep gaining followers who still have a role to play in their country’s future.
‘The 50PLUS party was founded by people who thought the elderly had lost their voice in the lower house of the Dutch parliament,’ says its leader MP Henk Krol, 68. And it is gaining ground: the Dutch oldies have been victorious in all 24 municipal elections they have recently contested.
Surely it’s time for the launch of a British 50PLUS party. It would certainly get the Old Un’s vote.