Politics and demographics…

It is in no way surprising to me that the biggest industrial dispute in many a decade has started over pensions and pension provision. Our ageing demographics make this issue the wages and conditions of our modern age and struggles over this are as important as battles over conditions while we are in-work. This demographic shift also plays its part in other issues – it’s one good reason that Cameron’s NHS reforms are potentially toxic even amoung Conservative supporters to his and the governments standing.

The left, as is often its way, is slow to recognise this – I vividly remember sitting at a meeting of the LRC National Committee – my first one in fact, where comrades were ummming and arrrring about whether pensions was really the right issue to go to war with the government over. It is absolutely the right issue to go to war with the government over because its one that has such purchase in wider society. A victory over pensions could have wider implications and be a springboard for successful action driving up wages and in-work conditions.

Similarly, today’s coverage of the Dilnot Report has focused almost exclusively, wrongly in some regards, on elderly care to the exclusion of other vulnerable groups because its the prime obsession and nagging worry of middle class and working class Britain. Legend has it that this issue is politically potent because the elderly are more likely to vote but that’s only partially true – potency is also derived from the fact that once you hit about 25-30 this issue becomes more and more germane so it doesn’t just concern the generation immediately involved.

Serious demographic and shifts in sociocultural patterns are something that the left rarely takes into account when framing it’s politics. This is undoubtedly something that has to change if it wants to be relevant in the current world because they change politics in a profound way.


Tags: , , ,

About darrellgoodliffe


7 responses to “Politics and demographics…”

  1. gillig says :

    What constitutes a “victory on pensions”?
    Starting with the fact that some public sector pensions are unjustifiable and unaffordable. Others more ordinary are in need of moderation to keep them realistic. What do you propose?


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well I guess as things stand a victory is to maintain the status quo which your totally wrong about on both counts. Even the Daily Telegraph concedes the ‘unaffordable’ line is complete and utter rubbish…


  3. gillig says :

    I have seen the pensions of my local council employees.
    Suddenly clerks are called by fancy names , payed four times what they would earn in the real world, and have a guaranteed fat cat pension. Do you want to live in Animal Farm? I hope they strike permanently.


  4. gillig says :

    “Judy Foster is employed as an administration officer by the fire service. But for the past seven years the Labour councillor has been devoting all her working time to Unison, representing 280 fire workers. The fire service has now insisted that Councillor Foster spends half her working time on fire service duties and half with the union. But Unison has appealed against the offer and says her union work should be full time and funded entirely by the taxpayer.”

    Why? On what grounds?
    “Councillor Foster, who was elected in 1998, already picks up £9,300 in allowances from Dudley Council along with £14,475 as vice chairman of the West Midlands Police Authority. With her £28,000 job, it brings her combined taxpayer-funded salary and allowances to more than £51,000.”


  5. darrellgoodliffe says :


    There are so many myths about the public sector – mainly, that they are fat cats and have gold plated pensions. Unions do perform a vital public service function for their members within an environment such as the fire service especially I would point out.

    I’m sure individual cases of excess do exist but they should be judged in a case-by-case way, not a general way….


  6. gillig says :

    Your “judgement” on Councillor Foster?
    Myth or fact?
    Are you saying this is correct use of public funds?


  7. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Well if its fact she is also doing a absolute tonne of stuff – i’d be surprised if she has time for a life. Hard to say without knowing the full and I mean the full story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: