Saturday, May 13, 2006


Sun in agreeing with Lib Dem policy shocker

Today's "Sun Says" reports on the pensions agreement between Blair and Brown (emphasis mine) : -
"TONY Blair and Gordon Brown are fiddling while Rome burns. Restoring the link between pensions and pay rises is right. But it will make only a minor improvement to a pensioner’s income. And to fund it, we will have to work two or even three years longer before we can retire. That’s seven years after teachers, police and NHS staff retire on their superb public sector pensions.

This is the crux of the problem — but Labour will not tackle it and start a war with the unions.

It’s a battle David Cameron must be ready for if he’s to become PM."
It's an odd feeling to find myself in agreement with the Currant Bun - on the retirement age issue, too - and one that I'm sure will cost me some sleep tonight. Nevertheless, any sound thoughts on policy are welcome, even if they do come between brainstorming sessions to come up with new puns on Wayne Rooney's name.
This is not the first fiscal policy that New Labour have shamelessly cribbed from the Lib Dem policy book - first there was the independence of the Bank of England, and then the 1p tax rise to pay for the health service. Now there appears to be fresh a consensus on a policy that bears an eerie resemlance to our 2005 manifesto commitment: -
"Millions of elderly people are failing to receive the pensions they’ve earned – and deserve and need – because of demeaning and unworkable means tests. Liberal Democrats will simplify the system, immediately guaranteeing a basic pension at 75 of at least £109.45 per week, with future increases linked to earnings. That’s over £100 a month more at 75 for every single pensioner. Every pensioner couple over 75 will receive at least £167.05 per week state pension – over £140 a month more than at present. This will abolish the need for means tests altogether for a million people."

Liberal Democrat 2005 Election Manifesto
- albeit a watered-down version that will not take effect until 2012.

The trick seems to be to get someone to propose it in an independent report and wait for Government ministers to leap onto the bandwagon - now only if you could get someone to propose proportional representation in one of those...

Never let Tony or Gordon sit next to you at an exam, I say.

Acknowledgement due: Guido, without whom I wouldn't know whether the Sun had endorsed Jade Goody for Prime Minister.


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