Yesterday, I went to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel for an appointment with the consultant who is going to re-make my eyeball. He introduced me to another patient of his - a man with a similar eye injury, but who had suffered poor-quality surgery in his native Afghanistan.
After the appointment, my partner and I went to get a newspaper on the way to the bus stop, and I caught sight of the Daily Mail's front-page headline:
PUBLIC PENSION BILL ROCKETS
£30,000 a family: The cost of funding state workers' retirement
Reading said article online later, I found that apparently, yer ordinary tax-paying 'family' (the statistic actually refers to 'households', but 'family' is so much more heart-and-hearth-and-wholesome-goodness, isn't it?) is being fleeced by public-sector workers, because:
- There are too many public employees;
- They enjoy privileged pension provision;
- They are greedy bastards who get inflation-busting pay rises;
- They live too long.
Oi! That's the nurses and doctors who are treating me you are talking about! And the teachers at my kids' school. Oh, and me as well.
The 'business community' (a self-contradictory term that always seems to make my blood boil) is apparently very worried. Not that they will be tightening their belts, of course.
Oddly enough, the Mail does not mention the inconvenient facts that:
- Public sector workers are hard-working, tax-paying families (or individuals) as well;
- An MP's or judge's pension costs 'the taxpayer' a lot more than a postie's, nurse's or teacher's;
- We pay for our own pensions by deferring a portion of our wages and working hard to provide public services.
This rag is trying to divide public and private sector workers against each other: firstly, trying to get private-sector workers to resent their public-sector colleagues for any slight, perceived advantage; and secondly, by portraying public-sector workers as a drain on the system because we produce services rather than profits.
I very much doubt that the editor or owner of the Daily Mail have much to worry about when it comes to financial support in retirement.
Having glanced the Mail's headline, I tutted, bought a Sudoku puzzle book and groped my way to the bus stop.
Then I thought about what the Daily Mail would make of my fellow eye patient. Benefit-scrounging health tourist living the Life of Riley with his wife and baby while the long-suffering, Mail-reading, fine, upstanding, British citizen - I mean family - goes without, probably. They'd probably deport him before he could even see the steps of the plane.
I hate the Daily Mail.
The picture, by the way, is of the Daily Mail's Lord Rothermere meeting a man he admired - Adolf Hitler.
I know exactly how you feel! Seeing the Daily Mail often makes me wish that I was either blind or iliterate, a pretty extreme emotion for someone like me who lives to read.
I think that you should read the Daily Mail with your non-working eye from now on, and give your working eye a treat by watching the new Star Wars DVD!
Get well soon.
My very first blog post, way back in the day before that word was invented (about 5 years ago) was a rant about the Daily Mail. I particularly like to turn to Melanie Phillips (who handily reproduces articles on her website so I dont have to buy it or be seen reading it in the library, the shame) as an example of the right-wing lefty-bashing badly informed drivel they publish.
You are missing the point. People in private pensions schemes are having to work longer and save more because their investments pay their pension. Public sector staff make relatively low contributions to get a good pension funded by the taxpayer when they are 60.
Why should I have to pay more to save for my pension, and then have to pay more tax to pay a pension for people in the public sector?
Doesn't seem fair to me.
Shouldn't you direct your resentment to those fat cats (mostly private sector, but some public) who draw huge salaries while they are "working", then whopping pensions when they retire?!
They fleece workers in both the public and private sectors, and we should unite to reclaim our wealth from them instead of scrapping amongst ourselves.