Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I'm All In Favour Of Equality But.....

........today's decision by the European lawmakers flies against statistics and common sense. It seems that insurers are considered to be discriminating against men by making their motor policies cheaper for women. And why have they offered cheaper policies for women? Because, surprise surprise, it's not them you will find doing stunts in the local car parks to impress their mates before heading for the local dual carriageway in a fog of burning rubber and ploughing into a ditch en route. Whenever you see someone doing fifty in a thirty zone or you hear a car approaching long before the laws of physics suggest that you should, you can guarantee that the driver will be male. The insurers' records prove that the chances of being involved in a claim are much higher for young men than for young women so it made perfect sense that companies like Sheilas' Wheels should weight their policy premiums in favour of women and this judgement has made an ass of the law. You can can guarantee that the only outcome to this new law will be that women's costs will rise to match the men and the only benefit to males will be the comfort of knowing that they are paying the same as their female friends.

The same ruling will affect the cost of annuities offered to old men. Once again, it has been proved statistically that, on average, at the moment, women live longer than men. The pension providers take that into account when deciding the cost of an annuity and men have typically paid less due to their shorter life expectancy. Now they will be assumed to have the same life expectancy as their wives and will pay more (or get less pension for the same sum). Will this miraculously result in greater longevity for men? No. The only likely outcome is more profits down the line for the financiers.

While I am having a bit of a Victor Medrew day on the blog I might as well get this off my chest too. I got a bill from BT the other day. I've got an Internet phone here but I don't use it very often. However, some time last month I noticed that it had stopped working so I made a couple of test calls after fiddling about with the handset. The bill was for the princely sum of ......wait for it...... 25p. Now I don't know who is in charge of the accounting at BT but if they are sending out bills for less than the cost of the envelope and the postage I am glad that it is no longer a nationalised business. I reckon that that bill cost them at least 50p to process and ,when my payment arrives in due course, processing the payment will cost another 50p with bank costs. At today's petrol prices it probably cost me a quid or two in driving to the bank to pay the bill as well. So BT have generated a piece of paper that has cost a couple of pounds to receive 25p. I am probably not alone. I seem to remember a computerised BT debt collecting system once threatening bailiffs for an outstanding penny and if they are sending thousands of tiny bills like this out maybe an employee could come up with the simple money saving idea that bills of less than £2 are either waived or rolled forward. It would hardly be rocket science to program it into their system.

We are off down to Elstree tomorrow to watch the filming of an episode of the new series of A League Of Their Own which starts on SKY1 and Sky1HD on Saturday at 9.30pm. All the local hotels are booked so we are staying at the Days Inn at the nearby London Gateway services. We've stayed there many times and are always made to feel extremely welcome by their cosmopolitan staff. The price is reasonable and the rooms are always clean and comfortable and a cut above the average Motorway service motel in our experience.

I'll leave you with an ad that I assume will now be consigned to history.