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Francis Maude: He's very nearly a pensioner himself. Perhaps that's why he doesn't like them.

If spared, when I become a pensioner I will vote in every election I can; as a person who no longer makes any direct contribution to the national economy it will be the only way I can exert any influence.

Of course I won’t be voting for anyone whose policies seek to reduce my influence even further – say, by cutting my state-apportioned income, thereby making it harder for me to pay my bills and buy the things I like to buy (which thereby influences the economy. If relatively poor people like me don’t get to show retailers what we like, they’ll simply look to those who do have money – the ever-increasingly rich – and will tailor the market to suit those people and their price points; I will be priced out of the market).

Francis Maude seems to have forgotten this. He has decided that pensioners need to learn how to use government-run Internet sites in order to gain access to crucial services in the future.

Not for them the simple pleasure of spending their dotage playing the latest iteration of Farmville on Facebook, or Angry Birds, or the current ‘Waste-Your-Time-Saga’ – no!

If they want to make sure the right person gets lasting power of attorney over them, if they become mentally or physically incapacitated, or if they want to claim Carer’s Allowance, or for who-knows-what other service, they’ll have to learn how to log in “because we think that is a better thing for people’s lives,” according to Mr Maude.

Note the lack of any evidence base for this claim. And whose lives will be better as a result? The rich taxpayers who won’t be footing the bill for expensive pensioner services because poor granny or granddad can’t figure out how to claim them anymore? (Note: The experience of Universal Jobmatch shows that government websites are notoriously bad at providing helpful information and good at exploiting their users. Indeed, if Jobmatch is any yardstick, we may have an entire generation of geriatric pole-dancers and prostitutes in our collective future.)

But fear not! Help is at hand. According to the Telegraph: “Mr Maude said that online ‘refuseniks’,” – you see, he already has the derogatory nickname ready – “who did not want to use computers would be able to apply for a one-off lesson … to help them get on to the internet.”

“A one-off lesson”? Doesn’t Mr Maude understand that learning becomes much harder as people become older? The article goes on to say that there are an estimated five million people in their 80s and 90s who have never used the Internet. It’s a little late for them to start now!

Come to think of it, Mr Maude’s a bit long-in-the-fang himself – but these creatures never consider how they might cope with what they’re imposing on others. He won’t have to – he’s rich. He’ll have someone else to do it for him.

Poorer pensioners are unlikely even to be able to afford a computer, let alone learn how to use it. Mr Maude is deliberately setting them up to lose their statutory services.

His excuse will be that the services are there but people aren’t bothering to use them.

What a verminous rat.

It seems a strange way to treat the section of the electorate that has been most useful to Conservatives. Pensioners are the most faithful voters, and many of them have been faithful to the Conservative Party more than others, believing the Tories have treated them well.

Mr Maude has no intention of treating pensioners well.

The Conservative Party now wishes to stab the elderly in the back (metaphorically, if not literally, but the effect will be the same: Poorer pensioners will be sent to an early grave. This will further skew the apportionment of the national pension fund, into which we all pay. Even now, affluent pensioners receive more from the fund because their longer lives give them more opportunity to draw money out; under this scheme, there will be even fewer poor pensioners and they will die sooner).

Returning to the point made at the start of this article: When I am a pensioner I will most assuredly vote in every election I can – and I’ll be voting against the Tories.

Can I rely on every current pensioner to do the same?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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