The Bee Side - The often brutal realities of life
I read a harrowing tale from America the other day. It was all about a hunter who shot a duck and then put it in his fridge only for his wife to find two days later that the duck was still alive. The duck's name was Perky, by the way, and she's become a bit of a celebrity in the States.
Basically, what happened after the hunter's wife found that Perky was still alive when she opened the fridge, is that she ended up in Goose Creek Animal Sanctuary in Tallahassee on a life support system (Perky, that is, not the hunter's wife).
The duck was in a bad way and had to be resuscitated twice while undergoing major surgery. At one point the vet thought he'd lost her, but managed to shock her back into life using a needle and administering pure oxygen through a face mask.
It was touch and go for days. But now the good news is that Perky pulled through and, with her new found national fame, looks set to live out a hunter-free life in the animal sanctuary.
Susan May, the treasurer of the Goose Creek Sanctuary said that "the duck has taken us on an emotional rollercoaster" when referring to the days that Perky's life had hung in the balance following the days that she'd been hung in the fridge. I would imagine that Perky felt much the same and was probably pretty pleased it was all over too, but on balance I would guess the duck would have preferred not to have been blasted out of the sky in the first place.
From one duck to another
This story got me thinking about another dead duck, the National Pension Savings Scheme, that the government is in the process of pushing through the legislative mill following last year's white paper.
While it was an idea in flight, the whole thing seemed quite attractive to the Pensions Commission, but ever since it was blasted into reality by government marksmen and put into our legislative fridge, the whole idea of a national scheme for 12 million people is looking like it's only hanging onto life by a thread. The long-term prognosis doesn't look good for a scheme based on voluntary compulsion through the dubious method of auto- enrolment. Particularly as our crazy pension system is riddled with means- tested anomalies for millions of people.
Back from the dead
Where we are right now with it is the whole idea has been taken out of the fridge and rushed down to the delivery authority to see if they can breathe any life into it. They've got a tough task I reckon, particularly as the so- called national consensus that was said to be behind the idea appears to be rapidly evaporating. The best outcome, I guess, would be that if they do manage to get it back on its feet it could be quietly led away to live out a protected life in the same financial sanctuary where the stakeholder pension and the Sandler suite of products are whiling away their remaining time on earth. Somewhere nice and quiet and out of the way of the brutal realities of life.
First published in Pensions Management, March 2007