By Leon A Smith
June 10, 2011
We all known that estate agents have a mantra which is “location, location, location”. The 1997 Labour government had a mantra which was “education, education, education”. But it seems the one stock phrase appears in every facet of society in life. It’s the importance of “communication, communication, communication”. Never in the history of mankind have the communication tools been as sophisticated, advanced and all encompassing as they are at the present time. What better example can there be of some aspects of the Arab Spring in which in many countries thousands of protesters have been mobilised by social networking site. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Bebo ….the list is endless. We live in a society today in which technology is everywhere. Yet it does not encompass or include all of our society. Try parking in Westminster – without a mobile phone it would be a true challenge. Try making a complaint to a large utility company without going online, one would struggle. There are many such examples of this today.
Of course to the younger generation all of this is second nature. Our children and grandchildren are growing up with this technology, having never known anything different. But there are many millions of people in the country who have not grown up with it who are finding life increasingly difficult without the knowledge, expertise, or access to use this technology. Matters will get worse. We are told that within 5 years cheques will be gone. But what is the alternative? Make payments online? How are older people who have no IT knowledge and indeed no access to a computer supposed to handle this? It seems that no provision is made for those who are not part of the mainstream technological onward march.
Older people are not always considered by large companies and/or by local authorities (Westminster Parking!) . When new systems are introduced they are left to try and fight for themselves in an increasingly technological age. Yet why should this be? Old people are not a minority group. They are not a special interest group. There are many of them (us) and there are going to be even more!! Of course we must have change and every advantage must be taken of the fantastic technology available to us today but this should not be at the cost of alienating those in our community, which is those who I have described above.
Technology has its place yet as members of one of the oldest democracies on earth all segments of our society are entitled to choice. Some people will exercise this choice in the direction of a non-technological option and they should continue to have the right to do so.