FIVE WEEKS IN PREPARATION, A WASPI COMMONS DEBATE GETS JUST 5 MINUTES OF TIME
Followers of this story will know pretty well by now my view on the Great Pension Welch: the Government is morally in the wrong on its ‘open government’ protestations, and is refusing to recognise half a century of dishonest actuarial fantasy. It has left at least 350,000 1950s born women in dire straits, and it has done so for one simple reason: it thinks it can bully them. For three months now I have been writing and campaigning not just to raise awareness of this, but also trying and get it into the WASPI leadership’s heads that they’re dealing with very ill sociopaths who don’t GAF about anthems and coffee mornings. I can only pray that today’s disgraceful Parliamentary non-debate will finally persuade them of this. But I’m not holding my breath.
Today in the House of Commons, the WASPI case was swatted effortlessly as if it might have been the irritating insect its name conjures up.
Two SNP MPs Hannah Bardell and Patricia Gibson asked excuse for a Human Being and new DWP Minister Stephen Crabb (via a pre-scheduled written question) ‘What assessment he has made of the effect of state pension reform on gender inequality’. This was Robocrabb’s androidenous answer:
‘Last month, we introduced a new simpler state pension as part of our wider package of pension reform. The combination of the new state pension, automatic enrolment, the triple lock, the protection of benefits and giving people power over their pension pots will ensure that pensioners, male and female, will have greater protection, security and choice in retirement.’
Short and not remotely relevant – rather like Mr Crabb really – the “answer” provoked Bardell into asking if he could do better than 0/10. He couldn’t. This time I’ve captured the relevant Hansard words so there is no debate about the answer:
Two things. One, a billion quid is a leak in the Pacific: it’s actually a waste of money, because it won’t even begin to address the problem. It was gesture politics at the time – and now, we’re much clearer on the Churchillian nature of the gesture. Two, because not a single moronic mainstream politico has any ideas about how to tackle the problem, er, we won’t either.
Gibson repeated the reality of destitution, and was rewarded with this:
This time, Waspi-buster Crabb scored 11/10 for drivel, -56/10 for content. Some beaut Freudian self-incrimination however: it seems that only in ‘the last Parliament’did our expense-diddling legislators finally get clear on the need to do something….despite constantly referring Waspis back to 1995, as if there had been a £40m mass-media campaign at the time proclaiming, “Aged 35-45? Time to panic cos we’re gonna shove your State Pension back by six years”. The hypocrisy is mind-blowing.
But for Crabb to suggest that the only solution is to put a “greater burden on people of working age” should surely qualify as lying to Parliament. I posted some time ago – March 22nd 2016 – using the Government’s own Budget Guide online – to show that there were myriad ways to reimburse these cynically targeted women without in any way harming the the UK fiscal situation. Let’s be clear – as Stephen Crabb might say, because he lacks the imagination to get beyond parroting a Cameronism – in adding 50% to the National Debt in six short years, George Osborne has done more harm than a trillion WASPI pensions could ever do.
Labour MP Angela Rayner then used her gums to savage the Secretary of State by telling him she had held “constructive talks with the co-founders of the Women Against State Pension Inequality, or WASPI, campaign. We will work together to find a fair solution to the injustice that they and hundreds of thousands of women face as a result of the Government’s state pension reforms”.
To which Stephen Crabb replied:
So then: a cheap political point to blur a broken promise so blatant, were the DWP and Treasury operating in the private sector, they’d be in the same hotseat as “Sir” Fillizboots Green formerly of BHS. And a Labour response so pathetic as to make obvious the problem is not one of responsible Opposition, but rather a level of Opposition that is homoaeopathic on it’s way down to sub-atomic.
Before finishing off this piece, let me ask a question of every open-minded Brit with even a scintilla of socio-community awareness:
What do you imagine the reaction would have been if, during the Election campaigns of 1979, 1992, 1997, and 2010, a Minister or Shadow had replied – on the subject of State Pensions – “it is important that every female voter in this country fully grasps that, if returned to power, we are going to keep working towards breaking the National Insurance Act of 1947….and make some 3.2 million innocent women wait an extra six years for their State Pension”?
That simple poser, my friends, is what blows the political Establishment’s cynical ‘1995 Defence’ sky high. The kernel of this issue remains as I expressed it last February: our MPs are asking law-abiding, zero tax evading ordinary citizens to pay – with little or no notice – for a demographic problem they chose to ignore for entirely venal reasons during five decades.
There is no apologiae that can excuse that. None. These are the same corrupt fatties who said and did nothing as 600,000 Whitehall troughers doubled their pension emoluments illegally. The same lowlife taking brown envelope cash-for-questions bungs. The same clowns making the disabled struggle even more while they fiddled their expenses.
Can’t find the money for mothers who nurtured families? Fine: here are some suggestions – levy a 1% tax on the wealth of the 3%, stop all RBS bonuses until they pay us back, and sequester Green’s yacht.
A plea to the WASPI leadership: you’re not the bloody Calendar Girls. Get real or go away
A plea to the Oppositions: reach out, join forces, stop staring up your backsides*
A request for Stephen Crabb: grow a pair
A suggestion for the Electorate: start doing your duty as citizens in a democracy
An observation for Camerlot: you are living on heavily borrowed time.
*There are exceptions to that rule of course, but none are as exempt from the accusation as SNP MP Mhairie Black. She is an example to us all, and lang may her rum leek.
Related at The Slog: Waspi leaders back-pedalling – why?