...the voice of pensioners

Go in fighting, or give up; there is an alternative…

09 Nov 2019

Dear LPG readers,


I had a chat with one of my young nephews the other day which got me to thinking about a saying I have heard many times, and which came up in the conversation. 


We were talking about the fact that he had bought one of those flats where the purchaser rents half its value and buys the other half.  His work wanted to send him abroad, but the landlord’s policy does not allow sub-letting for the first three years of the contract and he had a long time before he got there. 


He told me that he had managed to negotiate past that with the landlords who have decided that, although it was generally not allowed, his circumstances were such that they would allow him the leeway to sub-let with the condition that the situation was reviewed after a year.


He finished the conversation by saying, “you see, Rules are made to be broken”. 


What he said stuck in my mind and I googled it only to find that this is only half the original saying.   General Douglas MacArthur made the quote, but the original is ‘Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.’ which conveys a whole different meaning? 


The abridged version is more likely to be adopted by many younger people as an excuse to think that they should just go ahead and break them, while older people though they often disagree with a rule, use the fact that they don’t have the time or energy to fight, to hide behind them and do nothing all too often.  My nephew took the middle ground and took full advantage of his options by using his skill of communication and negotiation to get what he wanted. 


I think that we do miss the point by not adhering to the original inasmuch as, all too often, we hear someone argue about an issue without doing anything about it.  My nephew has spurred me on a little because there are so many issues that need to be improved because the government or other powers that be have not come up against some variable when making the rule in the first place.  But I think it is our duty to question anything we think can be improved before we attack the principle.


I have many questions to ask where I think that the rules could do with an update at least, and as soon as I get some proper answers I will share them.  In the meantime, I appeal to every citizen of our nation to ask questions and, where you think that rules need to be updated, telephone, write letters and send emails which is the way that we will change the laws.

Accepting every rule even if you don’t agree is not the way forward.  So please don’t be one of those people that state the problem and follow it with, “but what can you do?” because anyone who takes that option is another of the ‘lazy’ people that MacArthur was talking about.


CP, Bromley