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  • Jean Rafferty



April 2020

From: Human Resources Department

To: Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

It has come to the attention of this department that the nation’s resources are being squandered on a section of the population which has outlived its usefulness. This is obviously a huge drain on the country’s resources at this time of national crisis and I have a modest proposal which will, I believe, free up finances to help us through the impending recession.

Those who are aged above 70 cost us over £500 a month each in pensions and for those families who are forced to place them in care homes, the cost can be more than four times that, reducing the amount the able bodied will inherit at their death.

I would like to suggest that this draining of individual resources be halted by the simple measure of euthanasing anyone over the age of 70. There will inevitably be protests that this is inhumane but no society can afford to bear the burden of people who do not contribute to our economy. It is a pity that a number of them, around 40 percent of those over 50, participate regularly to the care of their grandchildren, but even a proposal as modest as this inevitably entails some collateral damage. Between the ages of 50 and 70 will in the future be designated as the golden years, when people have a window of opportunity to contribute to the childcare of the upcoming generation.

Critics of my proposal will undoubtedly say that it is not always easy to identify the over 70s. Many of them jog or do yoga. Some even retain intellectual facility and write books and music and so forth. This, however, is not a necessary element in society when there is ample entertainment for people in the sending of text messages and watching cat videos.

Some forward thinking doctors are already putting the principle into practice by asking patients in care homes to sign Do Not Rescuscitate forms. It has to be said that most are compliant. They are, after all, the generation who founded the National Health Service so can see the logic of resources being channelled towards those most in need. Some of them even fought in the Second World War so understand that the needs of the individual must be subservient to the greater good of society.

Although the war was a terrible business, I understand, it does seem to me that there are lessons to be learned from it. But nowadays we don’t need to put yellow stars on people to identify the relevant group – our technological advances in community surveillance and location tracking should be enough to ensure the compliance of this generation.

You may think there is a slight flaw in the logic of expecting the generation who have paid the most into the National Health Service to step aside at the time of their greatest need, but we must condition people to consider it in the same light as those funeral schemes, where you pay in but don’t get the funeral if you happen to die after the end of the policy. If they haven’t taken up the benefits of the NHS by the required age, their contributions simply pass to more economically active cohorts.

It may be difficult to convince younger generations, with their focus on wellbeing and their mental health, to subscribe to the principle of the proposal, but with proper preparation now, we will be able to manage the deployment of human resources better in case of future pandemics.

Management is key in this issue. We do not want to appear inhumane. The last thing we want is the terrible optics of those care homes in Spain, where staff ran out and abandoned the residents. Some people might think that this was a logical thing to do. After all they were in danger of catching the virus themselves if they stayed on and the old people were going to die anyway.

I am not so callous, Prime Minister. My proposal will not only free up financial resources for the most economically active members of society but will also regenerate an industry which is under threat from the events of Covid 19 – the cruise ship business.

Perhaps a word in the ear of Richard Branson would be worthwhile. He had to postpone the launch of his Scarlet Lady cruise ship for adults only because of this damn virus. An entrepreneur like Richard could surely be persuaded to see the commercial opportunities of my proposal? A 70th birthday cruise to somewhere on the lucky person’s bucket list, a few cocktails, only one of them being the final one. Perhaps there could be some tie-up (pardon my little joke, Prime Minister) with the sex toy industry?

Not a bad way to go, I think, certainly preferable to hanging round past your sell by date and then being hit by some poxy virus caused by bat droppings in a Chinese market. I’m sure our friends in Intelligence have methods of convincing the population of the common sense behind my proposal. We’ve done all right so far with We’re all in this together. Let them come up with a nice snappy slogan to kick us off. Your economy needs you perhaps?

By the way, I have no personal investment in this other than the good of the country (though I might toss a few shekels in the direction of good old Virgin if Branson takes this on board.) No, Prime Minister, I have nothing to gain from my modest proposal. My own mater got the virus last week. A swift departure, thank goodness. I wouldn’t have wanted her to linger. Fortunately she was very amenable to signing the DNR - the bloody care home costs were crippling.



With apologies to Joanathan Swift, whose A Modest Proposal was the inspiration for this piece.

Today, 9th April, it has been reported that 15 people died in the Castleroy care home in Luton.

Nine have also died in a home in East Lothian.

Images courtesy of Pixabay, except for image of lady with dumbbells, which is from an international wellness organisation.

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