April 23, 2010

UK: Dame Joan Bakewell is damn fine

. LONDON, England / The Daily Mail / News / Columnists / April 23, 2010 By Paul Routledge Dame Joan Bakewell is stepping down from her role as Official Voice of Older People. She's had the part-time job for 18 months and at 77, she's entitled to call it a day. But I shall miss her forthright voice, speaking up for the elderly on issues as diverse as home care, the default retirement age and respect for OAPs. Hers will be a hard act to follow. Followed it must be, and as Dame Joan's suggested, the next government should make this a fulltime job. Labour never had a Cabinet minister to champion old folk, and only appointed Dame Joan as an afterthought. Wales and Northern Ireland have full-time older people's commissioners, so why not England? As long as it isn't Lord Norman Tebbit. I once met Dame Joan in a television studio lounge, and I was unusually tongue-tied. She is quite, quite smashing. It's no wonder Harold Pinter fell for her. British Minister for Women Harriet Harman had announced in November 2008 that Dame Joan Bakewell had agreed to be a ‘Voice of Older People’. [rc] Source: The Daily Mirror