Lots on the news over the last few days about protests in France, the fiery but mostly peaceful kind, about changes to the age at which citizens can access the old age pension. Currently in France it is 62. It is being raised to 64. In Australia it is 67.

The protests are being framed as complaints about changes to retirement age. They are no such thing. Anyone can retire at any time they like. They just can’t expect someone else to pay for it. That is the objection – that they have to wait two more years before someone else will pay for their retirement.

In a way I understand the frustration. I am 64 now, nearly 65. I have worked and paid taxes all my life. Twenty years ago I could have retired on a pension just a few months from my current age.

But the reality is that the old age pension was never intended to be a 25 year tax payer funded holiday, and it simply cannot be.