Physicians, I feel your pain | Victoria Coren | Comment is free | The Observer

The government is not “curbing spending” on doctors’ pensions. That suggests the medical pension scheme was running at a loss; in fact, it was perfectly self-sufficient. This isn’t a cutback, it’s a raid.

Andrew Lansley said: “People know that pension reform is needed because people live longer.”

That’s not why pension reform is needed. We’ve known for years that people are living longer – doctors know that better than anyone – and pension contributions were put in accordingly. Unfortunately, successive governments spent that money on other things. Ignoring statistics for life expectancy, blind to forthcoming trouble, they failed to ring-fence pension funds for their proper purpose. It was a Ponzi scheme.

It was exactly that kind of live-in-the-now, credit-card attitude, from governments everywhere, that triggered the recession. They’d planned to pay back the “borrowed” pensions with new money that slid down the magic beanstalk. Now, staring in bafflement at a handful of dead leaves, they want to cover their arses by going back and nicking some more.

They are busting a gut to persuade us that we’re “all in it together” and that any public sector workers who choke at longer hours or slashed wages are “greedy” and “not team players”.

But they weren’t “greedy” 10 years ago, were they? They worked and they got paid. They only became “greedy” after our masters had sold off the gold reserves, borrowed fantasy amounts with fantasy collateral, allowed the banks to gamble with it, watched them lose and lose until the creditors came calling, bailed them out with more of our money, then sat back as it was paid out in bonuses to people who had too many yachts already.

And somehow, the moral is that doctors and teachers and train drivers are “greedy”, simply for wanting to live as they did before. God knows we were treated like idiots all along – but if we buy this new propaganda, we deserve no better.

Ms Coren gets it.

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