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Politicians know they need the third age vote. Not only are third agers a growing part of the population, they are also much more likely to vote than other generations.

63% of over 55s say they are certain to vote compared with 21% of those aged 18-24 and 37% of those aged 25-34, according to a recent poll.

The University of the Third Age was first out of the starting blocks, with its questions for political candidates. No one in the U3A would dream of telling members how to vote, but the questions identify some of the things the next government can do for third age learners.

The holiday company Saga has produced a press release claiming to speak for what it rather arrogantly calls “the Saga generation.” It claims a “unique insight into this demographic” and proposes to present “a Saga Generation manifesto” to the leaders of the UK’s main political parties.

There are two key differences between the Saga and U3A interventions.

 The first is legitimacy. The U3A’s leaders are third agers, elected by third agers. In every other organisation you can name, however worthy it is, there is an element of second agers speaking up for third agers.

 The second is scope. The questions U3A chairman Ian Searle has suggested U3As should put to aspirant political candidates are limited strictly to the U3A’s own remit of education, and do not seek to be anything so grandiose as a manifesto.

 Saga has no such qualms. Its wide-ranging manifesto calls for such things as the abolition of basic rate taxation of interest, and a universal state pension of £130 per week at age 70 based on residency “to make savings pay and reduce means tested benefits.”

 These raise some complicated questions – what do you replace basic rate taxation of interest with, for example? Some of us agree with these demands, no doubt, and others don’t.

 It also attacks ageism. We can all sign up to that. In support it quotes Emma Soames, Editor at Large of Saga Magazine, as saying of third agers: “They also rail against ageism they see in the BBC and the health service and they also identify the need for more Parliamentarians to have experience of life - rather than just be fresh-faced ‘professional’ politicians.”

 So the “manifesto” demands more older people with “experience of business and life in general” in parliament and a BBC Charter amendment to ensure a balanced portrayal of older people and presenters, as well as an end to age discrimination in the health service.

 Now, hang on. Do we, as a generation, “rail” against ageism specifically at the BBC? Do we think the BBC is more ageist than, say, the Sun, or Playboy magazine, or anything else? Third agers are diverse, like every other generation, so no doubt some of us do – Ms Soames (aged 60) for one – but all of us? Do we think there ought to be more older people and more former business people in Parliament? Personally, I think there are too many older people in Parliament, and after the mess the banks have made of our economy, I’m not sure I want to see us governed by business people. But that’s just me.

 Where is the evidence that these are the priorities chosen by our generation? The answer, we’re told, is in reader feedback from Saga Magazine, contributions to Saga’s over 50s social networking website, and “extensive research using the Saga Populus Panel.” I did ask for the full report of this piece of opinion research, but it isn’t available to journalists.

These are the authority upon which the organisation seeks to harness our generation behind demands such as an end to the compulsory retirement age, or freeing employers of paying national insurance when they take on older staff, or encouraging employment for the elderly, or a genuine crackdown on binge drinking with staged closing of pubs, clubs and bars. No doubt some older people agree with some, or all, of these demands; but some do not. Grey voters should be on their guard against self-appointed spokesmen for a generation.