On Saturday I went on a protest march and rally organised by the National Pensioners Convention. Their aims are much as mine to improve the pay and conditions of our pensioner population. I suppose we had about 300 but it was a miserable afternoon. Local TV news and some of the local papers were present. It will be interesting to see how it is reported. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Act of Parliament that set up the state pension. I couldn’t help but think although we have moved on a long way the same struggle exists with the government to get a living wage for all pensioners and how futile our protest sometimes appear. Nobody is listening. So I came up with a spoof scenario for the prime ministers office on Monday morning.
So here it is folks!
Good Morning Gordon a playlet
Picture the scene 7am Downing St. The PM is sitting at his desk reading the papers and drinking coffee. His political adviser (PA) comes in.
PA, "good morning Gordon"
PA, undaunted, "did you know that there was a pensioner’s protest march in Birmingham at the weekend?"
PM, "what’s that got to do with me?" He starts to scratch his crutch.
PA, "well they are complaining that your policies are seriously affecting the value of their pensions and many pensioners are still living in poverty"
PM, picking his nose, "don’t be daft I introduced that lovely means tested benefit to get them out of it"
PA, scratching his head, "yes but with inflation running at 10% oops sorry 2.5 % the value as been eroded and they all hate it and many thousands haven’t applied because the form is so complicated and they don't trust you since you pinched the 200 quid you gave em at the last election"
PM, "we must be saving millions then, how many were on the march?"
PA, "about 300 I think but it peeded down with rain so I guess that kept the numbers down.
PM, good, that would have kept them quiet"
PA, "it didn’t actually Gordon it was a noisy good natured march followed by a protest meeting"
PM, "honestly I don’t know what these people expect! They’ve all got bus passes that was down to me. I really milked that one. They got a quid a week on fuel bills and a below inflation increase on their pensions. What more do they want? We aren’t made of money. They should have saved for their pensions like what I do" (sorry Ernie)
PA, "thousands of them did but you plundered their funds and caused many of the manufacturing schemes to go under"
PM, biting his nails. "I know but I introduced the PPF and FAS, nobody could have done more"
PA, sensing he might be getting a little nervous. "The PPF only gives cover at a fixed amount no inflation increases and the FAS was only 90% of what was lost"
PM, getting a little irritated. "We can’t afford any more I’ve got two banks to bail out and two lovely wars to support. What do you think this is a socialist bloody government?"
PA, wishing he hadn’t started this conversation but very much on the side of pensioners (this is a saga ) "We could actually afford it Gordon we have a massive surplus on the National Insurance account"
PM expiring loudly, "so what I’m not going to spend that on pensions we might need it for another war and anyway that’s not public knowledge, is it?"
PA, sensing he is loosing makes an excuse to leave, "I better go now I’ve got a deputation from the unions" but reminds the PM that he has an election next year and pretty much all pensioners vote.
PM, "that’s OK we’ll give the 200 quid back next year that’ll do it. On your way out send in my diary secretary and the foreign sec I’d like to meet that lovely Mrs Sarkozy again and send for Tom Watson he’s been trying to claim all the credit for the Bevin Boys Badges in his local paper and he only mentioned me twice. And I’m going to be shouted at again at lunch time by that nasty Cameron bloke"
PA, raising his eyebrows and with a deep sigh, "good morning Gordon"