A growing number of British OAPs are now moving away from Britain to pastures new and warm. Italy, is now one of the leading retirement spots for Britons, with Spain and France also being popular. The number of Britons of pensionable age living abroad can now be measured in millions. Therefore we have an army of people, who have all paid their necessary dues, who are not receiving the full benefits of the British social services simply because they live away from Britain. I have made this point before and I even questioned the British minister responsible when he visited Spain. His answer was negative and basically apart from the state pension Britons residing abroad will receive little else but they are still entitled to vote with the argument being that although they reside abroad they are still effected by British government decisions. The Scandinavians have come up with a great idea which involves setting-up state funded OAP homes in different European countries so that their citizens can spend their retirement in the sunshine.

Meanwhile Britain, the fourth richest nation in the world, can only afford to give pensioners an additional £10 at Christmas. What a sorry state of affairs. I have seen for myself on Majorca the sad cases which exist of British OAPs finding it difficult to make ends meet. OK, we are privileged to live on a sunshine island in the Mediterranean and there are probably people back in Britain who are having it much worse. But with so many OAPs now living abroad perhaps it is time that the government reconsidered its policies.

Jason Moore

TV while you drive

It beggars belief that car manufacturers and high street retailers conspire to sell motorists dashboard television screens on which they can watch their favourite TV shows while driving. Yet this appears to be the situation in Britain where the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) has condemned the practice. In theory these TV screens are intended for the reception of information about traffic conditions and as an aid to navigation, and by law they must cut out automatically when the car speed exceeds 5mph. In practice, however, they can be fixed to function at any speed and Rospa has said that in some car showrooms and shops helpful assistants will give advice on how to do this. The Toad Video Traveller (named after the Wind in the Willows character) was among Halford's “top 20 gifts” for Christmas at £400 and a more advanced model costing about £1'000 brings down dozens of satellite TV channels to the small dashboard screen. BMW, Daimler-Chrysler and Fiat are manufacturers whose cars have the facility.

There may be a few people who want this device for its intended purpose. The majority, however, will think of it as a way of reducing the monotony of a long or repititive journey by watching their favourite soap opera or, even worse, football or cricket match. They will, of course, claim that they just steal a glance now and again and rely more on the dialogue or commentary - but even a moment's inattention while driving can have highly dangerous consequences. If given the chance, most people would vote to have these dashboard TVs banned totally.



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