Phew, we're nearly there. The Tories have obligingly refused to 'negotiate' any further so not even Barber has an excuse to cave in now. We're nearly there.
*A scuffling is heard from the back of the crowd. A scruffy urchin forces his way through the press of bodies. Removing his woebegone cap in an automatic gesture of genuflection, the wide-eyed, soot-besmirched imp stares in wonderment.*
"What's that, Tide? You wanted the Tories to break off negotiations? Why you left-wing communist with your infantile disorder!"
"Young fool", saith I, loftily, "that is not so. For you see, there were no negotiations to break off!"
"Why sir, you are a veritable verbal prestidigitator and no mistake! But how so? For surely I heard Mr Cameron this very morn insist that they would make no more concessions. Logically there must have been some in the first place for there to be any more even in potentia?"
Ahem. I'm dropping this frankly ludicrous pseudo-literary device now.
No. There were no negotiations. There was a bit of clumsy divide-and-rule, trying to hive off the very lowest paid and those closest to retirement from the rest, but it was so appallingly done that no one fell for it.*
Even more brilliantly, the government point-blank refused to carry out the triannual review. This is the 3-yearly review to check if the pension fund is OK. The fact that they wouldn't do this review is pretty good evidence that they knew there wasn't a problem. For corroboration you could look at these two interesting facts:
- The teachers' fund has had £46 billion more paid into it since 1923 than has been taken out.
- Teachers' pensions are unfunded. The money just disappears into the Treasury.
I'm not going to be dumb enough to try to predict the future in a situation like this, but I think it's clear that the best chance of breaking this deceitful, manipulative, plutocratic shower of piss that calls itself the coalition has got to be a big day next week. And where possible it has to be whispered: All out and stay out.
Because this isn't about protest. It is about winning.
*Here's how it would work. Those earning under £15k would not face an increase in contributions. Hurrah! You might think. But this would include pro-rata posts. So you could work 2 days a week and still face a doubling of your contributions. And guess what? Lots of low-paid workers are part-time! Clever.
At the other end of the scale, the over-50s were told they wouldn't have to face an increase in retirement age. But they'd still have to double their contributions and they'd still have had the RPI measure switched to CPI. So they'd still lose.
*Attenborough whisper* The mistake I think the ConDems have made is in assuming that we're as stupid as they are.