The train journey to London is always exciting as once past Rugby Railway Station we enter the splendid Kilsby Tunnel. A fine example of engineering dating back to the 1830's. This tunnel, designed by Robert Stephenson, has two main air/ventilation shafts as it was built in the days of steam trains, and without them all the passengers would have been choking. The main air shafts are so large that as the train passes at the bottom you can see a flash of light from each one.
And you can see a statue of the designer outside Euston Station.
If you want to see the top of one of the main chimneys then you can drive down the M45, and on the left, just before joining the M1, you can see one.
We arrived at Euston and on the Underground we travelled to Green Park on the Victoria Line and then changed to the Jubilee Line to get to Westminster.
Leaving the tube station and into the daylight we were greeted by the sight of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. We then walked past Westminster Abbey and took note of all the new Routemaster red London buses with their three exit/entrance doors rather than the usual two. Our destination was the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre at SW1P 3EE.
CAROLINE ABRAHAMS - CHARITY DIRECTOR AGE UK
Caroline opened the meeting and welcomed us all..
The main objectives of Age UK would be for the speakers to talk about later life for older people without money worries and the best possible health. With care and support, when it is needed, and a society that values older people.
And then we waited.
And then we waited.
And we waited some more.
At that time we were waiting for the first speaker, but all that we knew was that it would be someone from the Conservative Party.
THE RT HON DAVID CAMERON - PRIME MINISTER
David Cameron told us of the great success of his last five years and that everything was good and the future would see all and any problems sorted and solved. with more money being spent on everything.
Things were fine until David Cameron took questions and then the shouting and jeering started. The usual comments of "Answer The Question" were thrown at him and a number of "Liar" could be heard, and the usual "Rubbish".
He was humiliated and heckled and the fury of the pensioners could be felt and heard, as he fidgeted on his back foot.
Much shouting and arms waving when he was asked if it was such a shock to him that we had a growing older population and why had he not supported more Nurses ? more Doctors ? more Housing ? more Schools ? at a time when we have seen such an increase in the population?
And he was asked about zero hours work contracts. Great for old people, but not suitable for the young who have regular bills to pay. And how many of the new jobs that he has created are in this category.
I feel that David Cameron expected an easy ride at a rally of pensioners and perhaps he felt that these were his voters and he had these people in his pocket. I wonder if David Cameron would have been late if he was meeting the Queen?
More shouting when David Cameron was asked two questions from a reporter of the Sun newspaper. The first was about David Cameron's third term, and has he learnt the example of Tony Blair and the money that can made? and the second question was about the Russian commitment to supply arms and planes to Argentina.
Treating the audience as fools, well it was a Sun newspaper reporter, we were told that Argentina was close to the Falklands Isles.
David Cameron said that he wil take all necessary action to protect the people of the Falklands Islands. This might start with a new air defence system.
PAUL BURSTOW MP - LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY.
Paul Burstow told us that all the successes of the coalition were due to the involvement of the Liberal Democrat Party. I am not sure that the audience were really listening.
LIZ KENDALL MP - LABOUR PARTY.
Liz tells us that Labour are the party to vote for and all will be okay.
NATALIE BENNETT - THE GREEN PARTY.
When Natalie Bennett spoke there were plenty of claps and cheers and she had to stop now and then as the noise was so loud. She really knew what the audience wanted to hear.
But perhaps things had not seemed to have been thought through.
20mph speed limit is one item that sounds great but if this was implemented too soon the cars and trucks would create even more air problems/pollution, as their torque is not designed for continuous low speeds.
MARK RECKLESS MP - UKIP.
Mark Reckless told us about bringing back democracy/controls to our shores and also quoted the money/value that his party felt was necessary for the NHS etc.
I do not think that any of the invited speakers actually said anything that was not expected by people who listen to the radio, or watch the television, or read newspapers. It is the three main political parties that have brought this country into the present situation and I do not think that anyone should vote for any of them.
I was given the opportunity to speak to Mark Reckless and I asked about the future of UKIP. Despite some problems I think that this party will capture the votes of the young who have suffered from the lack of homes and the immigration pressure to push wages down. But what does this party offer the older people? The silent majority? The pensioners?
If I am right, and UKIP were to have a good voting response, but few MPs, would Mark Reckless's party push for Proportional Representation where every vote would count for something. Marks Reckless thought that they would stick/stay with the first past the post system that we currently have. Shame, as this could be the time for a real change.
Even Russell Brand might vote?
UK asked for my comments on the supply of Electricity and Gas. This is another area where the coalition has allowed big business to confuse the customers. You can go into Tesco and see the price of a product, and if you do not like it you can walk down the road to Asda and check the price there. Why has energy become so complicated. Me ? I have a life to live rather than spend so much time on the telephone with people who want me to change suppliers. And later change back again. And it is so hard to find clear unit costs.
Was I the only one to notice that at an Age UK rally, where one would expect pensioners, you could hear so many peole having to ask what was in the sandwiches at lunch time. There was a sandwich selection menu board but the writing was so small that most people could not read it.
During the whole day there seemed to be little interest in Age Friendly Cities.This could be so useful to the aging Coventry City population and help with the problems of loneliness which can effect health. Coventry Older Voices trys to keep this subject to the fore. However, Age UK and Coventry City Council and Coventry University have worked together on this subject and it seems to be an afterthought that perhaps it would be a good idea to have an older person at their meetings.
There are reports that 44% of older people are not on line and yet Coventry City Council seems to continue down the road of www. only.
There is talk about having a meeting/rally in Coventry, similar to the one in London, and I would suggest that a couple of changes were made/considered. If a speaker is late, then lock the door to keep them out, and we can talk to, and jeer the empty chair, and each speaker is only allowed to talk about their own policy and not talk about what another party would/would not do. Each speaker in London was allowed to talk for 30 minuites, including questions. Except David Cameron who seemed to go on and on repeating what we had already been told. Unfortunately we may be old, but we are not all doolally.
We used to call it the rote system when I was at school.
I think that a 10 minute talk time should be enough as the most important part is the questions from the floor.
Thank you to Age UK for arranging this General Election Rally.