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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2011

Portrait of a pension pilferer

Derek McMillan

Maggie Thatcher was Maggie the Milk Snatcher - a byword for Tory penny-pinching cruelty. Francis Maude will go down in history as Maude the Pension Pilferer - if we let him get away with it.

The government has already reneged on a 'solemn and binding' undertaking (and such things are two a penny with politicians) to link pensions to cost of living increases. By sleight of hand they invented a brand new measure of the cost of living and (surprise!) it comes up with a lower figure than the retail price index. Far from sympathising with the pensioners, the privileged, pampered politicians are pinching their pennies.

The government has refused to negotiate in good faith with the public sector unions. They behave as though attacking the unions is more important than making a grown-up decision over public sector pensions.

All the teacher unions are acting together to lobby parliament on 26 October. This is where Maude's union-bashing has got him. Firstly the ATL, most inoffensive and moderate of unions, has taken strike action for the first time. Now the secondary head's union ASCL is on the march. And if the Tory Party cannot depend on the ASCL they cannot depend on anybody!

Maude should stop pretending to be a reincarnation of the blessed Margaret and remember her ignominious defeat over the poll tax. It is a pity the Labour leaders are so weak and willing because the Con-Dems wouldn't last five minutes against a half-decent opposition.

Instead we have Ed the strike-breaker and a load of Balls about supporting cuts from the shadowy chancellor. Trade unions deserve better representation than Labour can provide - we need a new workers' party.

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In The Socialist 12 October 2011:


Socialist Party youth and students

Interview with a Jarrow marcher

Marching in the footsteps of history

Low pay, no way!

Protest, demonstrate, occupy


International socialist news and analysis

US: Occupy Wall Street - Demanding jobs not cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Strike on 30 November - no secret talks

'We have not gone away' say Southampton council workers

Construction electricians

60 printers sacked as bosses make a million

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party news and analysis

Sovereign debt crisis, recession... No way out under capitalism

Cameron's big 'them and us' society

Fox takes cronyism to new level

Wales Assembly budget: Labour piles on the misery

Kinnock's bigotry

Con-Dems' policies increase poverty

Fast news


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

NHS protesters occupy Westminster Bridge

Health campaigners take Ascot by storm

Coventry by-election helps build socialist alternative to cuts

London elections - more support for TU/anti-cuts stand


Socialist Party fundraising

Socialism 2011 finance appeal


Socialist history

Battle of Cable Street 1936 - When workers stopped the fascists


The Socialist - readers' comments

Portrait of a pension pilferer


 

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