Stop This Auction on Pensions

New Statesman (1996), October 9, 2000 | Go to article overview

Stop This Auction on Pensions


Many years ago, a pensions company ran an arresting advertisement that featured a man who looked cheerful at 25, but whose brow became more furrowed at ten-yearly intervals. The captions told the story: his insouciant "I can't be bothered to think about pensions" at 25 became a faintly apprehensive "They tell me my job doesn't have a pension" at 35 and a panicky "How will I manage when I retire?" at 55. Our national debate on state pension provision follows a similar trajectory. Two decades ago, Margaret Thatcher abolished the link between state pension rises and average earnings, and instead introduced a link with inflation. This didn't look so bad in inflationary times. It has taken the lowest inflation in a generation to wake the country up to what it really means. Now we all carry the haunted look of the 55-year-old in that advertisement, as we ponder freezing grannies forced to undergo humiliating means tests.

Chancellors do not usually deserve pity, but Gordon Brown does. How was he to know that this issue would explode in his face? Labour promised to restore the earnings link at three successive general elections. The country returned Tory governments. Labour made no such promise in 1997. The country returned a Labour government. Alistair Darling made it clear in a green paper in December 1998 that the basic state pension would wither away; the minimum income guarantee would rise in line with earnings. Barbara Castle was thus spurned, universalism consigned to the dustbin of history. Did blood run in the streets? Did the masses besiege Whitehall? The nation went to sleep for Christmas, stirring itself only to hear that Peter Mandelson had misbehaved.

This year's 75p rise involved no change of policy, no sudden increase in pensioner poverty. Its apparent miserliness was merely the result of Mr Brown's own success in holding down inflation. The whole middle ground of politics was agreed that the basic pension was an anachronism, suitable for an era when old age was virtually synonymous with poverty, when full-time employment to 65 was all but guaranteed and when few people lived long enough to collect more than a decade's worth of pension. Despite the erosion of the state pension, we have had 20 years in which the average pensioner, with an increase in income from all sources of around 60 per cent in real terms, has done better than the general population. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Stop This Auction on Pensions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.