Way back, it seems ages ago, I joked about 'gold-plated' pensions in the A-Z of messageboard commenting. I'd seen it a couple of times written in the comments in stories by ill-informed pricks who couldn't possibly know any better, grumbling that the public sector bastards (you know, the folk who get less than two per cent pay rises while inflation is five per cent, while the private sector averages nearer four) have 'gold-plated' pensions.
Sigh. Well the Mail appears to have picked up the ball and run with it. Littlecock mentioned 'gold-plated' pensions the other week in the midst of an unintelligible ramble about what bastards people are to work for the state (that's the state in Britain, where he doesn't live, not the state in the States, where he does - in case you're confused). And now there's this:
Pensions 'apartheid' grows: The number of public workers with a gold-plated fund is double that of the private sector
Can I just start by being a bit pernickety, if I may? If something's gold-plated, that actually means it's of inferior quality. Let's compare a gold-plated watch to a gold watch. Which one do you think would be the more valuable? Exactly.
Here's something else you might not know, and which curiously isn't made clear at all in the Mail's article: until a couple of years ago, senior executives at Daily Mail (you know, people earning more than half a million pounds a year) didn't have to contribute to their enormously generous final-salary pension scheme at all - not a penny - whereas ordinary folk working for the Mail group had to pay through the nose. One ring-fenced scheme for the richest, another for the less well off. Even now, the richest Mail employees pay 2.5% in pension contributions to keep their rather better than gold-plated scheme afloat (though it's topped up by profits from newspapers running articles about pension Apartheid), whereas the least able to afford it have to stump up 7.5% of their salaries. Oh but that's not Apartheid, obviously: that's a right and proper way to encourage the wealth-creating entrepreneurs whose strategic roles ensure the success of the business. People like Paul Dacre, you could say, who decides that articles about 'pension Apartheid' are worth putting in his paper.
But forget all that: people in the evil state sector are getting slightly good benefits, whereas people in the private sector (except senior management at the Daily Mail, natch) aren't getting such a good deal. Boo hoo, that's not fair! Instead of pointing out that it might, you know, be the fault of these private sector firms for not giving a shit about their employees, the Mail decides it's totally wrong for the public sector (and guess who's paying?!??!!?!) to be a considerate employer.
No-one ever challenges this idea, though. What's really depressing is that the numpty commenters who come growling onto the article swallow it entirely - if the public sector (pay rise last year - about two per cent, let's not forget, compared to far better pay rises on average in the private sector) are getting something good, then take it away from them! Let them suffer! Make them hurt!
The irony is that it's always the Left who are accused of the 'politics of envy'. Well maybe this isn't envy; just hatred.
*update* and here's Mark Easton, who will sadly be labelled as a BBCCCP Trot troublemaker for quite rightly destroying a Telegraph bullshit whine about 'middle-class' pensions. Whereas in fact he is merely practising journalism.