Old people are very fond of moaning about declining standards, but it's time they took a good look at themselves. In my day, old people wore hats and dressed smartly, even when they were just popping out to post a letter. Take my grandfather, for example. He was a proper Cockney and spent his working life as an unskilled labourer, but he wouldn't have dreamed of going out without a hat and tie:
Compare him to today's old men and it is clear that sartorial standards have declined:
How can the young be expected to behave well when their elders are setting such a bad example? Something has to be done; but what?
I would like to see Britain's old men wearing tweeds, accompanied by appropriate hats and, perhaps, a meerschaum pipe. Obviously it would be wrong to force people to dress in this manner, but perhaps the Government could provide an incentive of some sort, like free Werther's Originals to anyone who conformed to the stipulated code.
I would also encourage facial hair, however it would have to be stressed that an unruly beard full of dried soup would be worse than no beard at all. Ideally, a neat, well-groomed moustache would complement the country casuals perfectly.
As for old ladies, I would like to see a return to sensible, muted tones and hats that looked slightly silly, in an endearing way. The garish coats with clashing colours, bought from mail order adverts in the Radio Times, would have to go. Facial hair, although common, would not be encouraged.
In return for adopting a more dignified countenance, I would ensure that our elders were given the respect that previous generations of retired people enjoyed. It's a win-win situation.
Apart from the death thing, I can't wait to be old. I would love to parade around town in a deerstalker and plus fours, spending my evenings reading by a log fire. 30 years seems an awfully long time to wait. Supposing I'm struck down by cancer before I even get a chance to pop down to the gentlemen's outfitters? I will feel cheated.