I retired at 58, and there was, to my surprise, no provision for me to inform the government of this fact. I could sign on, but I have more pension than will allow me to claim any benefits and they will pressure me to find work. If I wanted to work, I wouldn’t have retired.
— Fat Jacques 🏴☠️ (@Fat_Jacques) January 12, 2023
I like Fat Jacques and I like his comrade on the meta Micbinbag. They are the kind of people that make social media fun and provocative. In responding to Fat Jacques tweet I should point out I know nothing about him or his circumstances and this blog is not meant as criticism or advice (blah..)
You are I expect familiar with cricket, a sport where a player can retire from the field for various reasons.
A batsman can be “out” and must leave the pitch after the umpire has raised his finger – it is not for nothing that the grim reaper presides over the home of cricket
A batsman can be retired hurt. This may be a permanent retirement or he or she may return to the pitch later in the match or series of matches.
And a batsmen can choose to retire him or himself and resign their place at the crease. This is the kind of retirement, I think Fat Jacques has taken.
Now as a cricketer, I have never retired voluntarily. This is because I’ve never stayed at the crease long enough to want to let someone else have another go or because I’ve got bored of clobbering the bowling round the park. But I know star players who do this from time to time. Such I take it – is Fat Jacques who has retired from the crease at the age of 58 , the best part of a decade before the state pension age.
I was always slightly peeved when a star player walked voluntarily back to the pavilion, it reduced the team’s overall chances of success and I knew that I would have to pay for this decision either by my batting or in the field (neither of which I often succeed in doing). I do not want to encourage such behavior. I would not allow Fat Jacques to have an early slice of sponge cake, he would not have a pint of ale on me.
But because I am virtue signalling does not stop the man bringing out his own picnic hamper. Malvolio may be in charge of the public purse but Fat Jacques need not feed at his table.
As in cricket , so in life
Fat Jacques expresses surprise that there is no record of his leaving the field (of work) at 58. This is not surprising, we know that the DWP are mystified as to where nearly a million are. They are not in the scorebook as retired hurt or “out” in a more terminal sense and they are not getting universal credit or attendant benefits.
Fat Jacqeus accepts there are no benefits – because he has a pension. The benefits he might have got would have been means tested and it seems he has the means to have excluded himself from the sponge cake and pint of beer – (though he can have these when he reaches state pension age).
Fat Jacques may be overweight but he is not claiming disability benefits (it seems) , he has not retired hurt, he is free to return to work and if he were to bump into Guy Opperman (GO) on his way, the Minister for Employment he could tell him he had taken voluntary early retirement . GO might chide him that he is letting the side down by his lack of productivity. And Fat Jacques would be free to put two fingers up to Guy Opperman though that would not get him state benefits or GO another productive worker.
Fat Jacques is right, his retirement will not have been recorded by the DWP, he will be one of the lost 800,000 or so fifty and sixty year olds who has disappeared from the workforce and is known only through the payment of income tax on his pension (if the pension is large enough to warrant such payment).
In all other respects, fat Jacques is what the Pensions Regulator calls “self-sufficient”. He has no sponsoring employer, he is in receipt of an income and he is happily advertising the fact on twitter. He is not a burden on the state and the state has no power over him.
Fat Jacques may be Guy Opperman’s problem, but he seems to be comfortable in his new found status and I would say “let Fat Jacques be” – I would say the same to Micbinbag. We choose our own path and are free to follow the working and non-working lives that suit us.