The Tories steal a march …

October 6, 2009 by
Filed under: Politics, The RSA 

On my way to Manchester for the RSA event at the Conservative Party Conference.  The Conservatives have made an impressive start to the week; party strategists knew their key vulnerability was the charge of lack of substance to Tory plans.  With their welfare to work plan and pensions reform, they have effectively buried this weakness, whilst also looking more credible than Labour in relation to reining in public spending. 

Meanwhile, Labour’s plans to impose a pay freeze on well paid public servants look more like a political ploy which is, incidentally, highly centralising in its implications.

On pensions, I hope we can persuade the Conservatives to link the raising of the retirement age to the reforms set out in our Tomorrow’s Investor report.  The new Pensions Policy Framework, set to be introduced in 2012, is basically right but without the reforms proposed by the RSA, the package will not work and could even be counter-productive.

PS: One of the blog posts I most enjoyed writing was – strangely enough – when West Brom lost in the play-offs.  Having written yesterday about how I wish we used football to instil good character as well as physical fitness, it was great last night to see another example of football at its best.  When Richard Dunne scored for Aston Villa against his old club, Manchester City, not only did the Villa fans celebrate, but also the City fans cheered the achievements of their former hero.  It was a rare moment of generosity.  We West Brom fans like to think of ourselves as the best in the country, with our capacity for humour and self-deprecation, but as far as I’m concerned, Manchester City take the crown – for the time being at least.



  • Brian Hughes

    The paper you link to repeats the misleading half-truth that the UK has “one of the least generous state pension plans in Europe”. When this is trotted out the other half of the truth – that we have the most highly developed private and occupational pension systems in Europe – is rarely mentioned.

    Thus we get to the nonsense that “the State Pension must rise for everyone”. Yes even for those 2m of us lucky enough to enjoy pension incomes which are higher than the median for wage-earners (and which, in many cases, push pesioners into the high-rate tax band) must get more, more, more to go with our free bus-passes, swimming classes, prescriptions etc etc.

    So money that could make a real difference to the quality of life of those pensioners who really are wholly dependant on the state (about the same number as those over the 25K pa mark) is instead sprinkled more thinly to us all.

    Why is this allowed to happen? Partly because, since it was so harshly applied in the 1920s, means testing has become ingrained in left-wing phyches as a Really Bad Thing (despite any new evidence to the contrary) but mostly because the articulate folk who work in the media or who organise Pensioners’ Forums and suchlike are all in, or expecting to be in, the cheerful top tenth sector and really know little and/or couldn’t give a fig for those in the bottom one….