|The Greasy Pole by Michael Killen|
Older people live in the past in that we have long memories and in many cases our best years are behind us.Yet we have one important social advantage – we know where the bodies are buried.
I mean in a social and political sense of course.
We remember the political blunders of the past, the silly government promises which failed to deliver. The mistakes we are doomed to repeat because those in charge weren’t around to see why their brilliant new wheeze isn’t brilliant or new, is wheezing from the off and didn’t work the last time it was tried.
We know why we are where we are.
I think that’s why many of us look on with contempt at senior politicians in their early forties or younger who haven’t seen enough of life to be moulded by it. So often they haven’t troubled themselves about experience, but took hold of the greasy pole as callow youths and never let go.
Now they have squirmed their way to the top and life is a breeze as long as they don’t look down and always have an answer drawn from the spin-doctor’s doctrines rather than something more durable. Such as personal experience. There isn’t much of that the be had on the pole.
Yet as older people see the cycles and realise that these things must wend their weary way through their inevitable phases, I think we also grow less concerned about the chimera of collective self-determination.
Because in the long run there is no collective self-determination, only self-determination which has to pick up the pieces each time the collective illusions fall apart as we slide down to the inevitable trough, wondering how bad it will be this time around.