Jayne Dawson: How about a bit of respect instead of all this claptrap?

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I can see the film now - Mr Jordan’s Great Escape. There will be a twinkly old man with a yearning to say a last farewell to his wartime pals, and there will be snooty officials with health and safety guidelines where their hearts should be.

And there will be a kindly care home assistant who sides with the residents someone looked down upon by the suits and only entrusted to bring the tea round.

She will help him make his escape at dawn one early summer’s morning, once the hard-hearted officials have told him the journey to Normandy is far too long and arduous for the likes of a 90-year-old like him.

Then there will be a chase where Mr Jordon outwits the bumbling officials tearing after him.

He will probably throw marbles in their path and then chuckle gleefully as they are left on the quayside doing comedy falls, as he sails away on the ferry to France.

Finally, he will say goodbye, alone and quietly, to his fallen comrades - before turning his face for England and a nice cup of tea. Pass me a pen, I’ll write the blooming thing myself.

The story that has got around about Bernard Jordan, the nursing home resident who made his own way to the D-Day commemorations, would make that kind of a film, wouldn’t it? It would have everything - except dignity and respect.

Because the truth, of course, is different. The truth is that Bernard Jordan is a man with a lifetime of experience and responsibility behind him.

He took part in the landings as a Royal Navy Officer, in command of other men. After the war, he spent much of his time in local politics and was mayor of his home town. Not too long after that term of office, which was in the mid-’90s not completely lost in the mists of time, he caused a stir by switching allegiance from the Tories to the Labour Party.

So Bernard Jordan is actually a leader of men, a political activist and a man of strong opinions and principles.

It’s true that he is almost 90, that he did leave his nursing home and that he did make his own way to France after failing to get a place on a British Legion trip to mark the 70th anniversary of the landings that began the end of the Second World War.

But it is possible to tell the story very differently: with the accrued wisdom of his years and his experience he decided to travel independently to France, after failing to get a place on an organised trip.

And he did it successfully, travelling by train and ferry, and booking into a hotel. His wife knew exactly where he was, and was fine about it.

Moreover, the boss of his care home says that Mr Jordan has “full capacity” which means, basically, that he has all his marbles and is a free agent to come and go as he pleases - which apparently he does almost every day. At no point was he banned from attending the commemorations.

Yet his trip was reported as if a nine year old boy had made it, not a 90 year old man.

People said things like “bless him”, they clapped him, they “took him under their wing”.

The treated him, in other words, exactly like a naughty but clever child for exercising his free will and making the choice to travel to France..

The point is, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t be an ageing society expecting ever more of our older people, asking them to work longer, be more productive for longer, to stay fit and healthier and involved for longer - and then patronise them beyond all reason. It’s time to stop all that.

And if I was Bernard Jordan, former Royal Navy officer, long-time politician and town mayor, I would be spitting with fury at my treatment, behind my media-savvy smile.

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