• chris walsh

The fight against ageism and common sense seems never ending

This last week I have been working with my great PAIL executive team and my colleagues at Wise Age - all via zoom- to carry on researching, and then developing responses to the ongoing problems with Coronavirus especially as it impacts on older Londoners, Firstly we thought we had won the argument against using age as the basis for isolating people on age - such as 70+ rather than health, but now it has returned. WHO now starts talking about the 60 + needing to isolate - with no stats to back it up, no differentiation between women and men , or between healthy over 60/ 70s . Then the suppression of the BAME recommendations by the govt - with no action to carry out urgent research into the level of risk facing BAME seniors. No official acceptance that racism , poverty and the nature of jobs has created this and no immediate reaction and improvement to NHS and other corporate management putting a high proportion of BAME staff in the covid 19 frontline when they should be getting extra protection.

Yet again we are waiting for a positive response from the GLA around our demands for printed communication directed at all older people from the Mayor, no specific response to finding alternative ways of communicating to the many that have no online access - by radio, phone or letter, despite our regular requests and examples of best practice elsewhere.

TFL and London Councils try to excuse their restriction to after 9 am to use the over 60 and freedom pass on the basis of reducing risk to us. They did not respond to our response explaining that many over 60s are in front line NHS and care jobs, plus some have to get to hospital before 8 am and that our research shows older people do not want to use public transport, particularly during rush hour as they are scared of Covid . Also we came out in siolidarity also with young people whose passes have been stopped all together up to now and yet are being told some should be going to school

Talk later about the govt, who seem to think that instead of governing competently , honestly and openly, they are still running a party political campaign - based on lies, distortions and Stalin- like double speak which everyone must endorse or be excluded - even if you are the chief of Nursing.

Instead I prefer now to foduc on the fact that despite being in lock down our team of age activists has created a new dynamic and modern website, we now have an active twitter and to lesser extent facebook presence engaging in all of our key campaigns. That we have managed to produce a PAIL newsletter more or less every fortnight , more than any other London age organisation - and al on a minute income but great volunteer activists

Also uplifitng to see yet again a great example of black elder men showing their humanity, intelligence and commitment in reducing violence even saving a white racist's life. I am proud that PAIL is a multi racial ethnically diverse organisation just as London is and that if there is enough energy and support this could be the beginning of a radical move towards an age friendly and ethnically friendly London.

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